Aug 04

Chap. 19 To Be The Center Of Attention


When he was twenty years old, Noah graduated from the academy as valedictorian specializing in ‘Quantitative Analysis of Production Methods’, which is basically statistics. There were many times when he helped me with my own studies, but he never seemed more alone than the moment he gave his valedictorian speech.

It was an unseasonably warm January day – (andrones graduate at the first of the year. This allowed the corporations to sign us up on day one of the New Year). It also happened to be our birthdays. The academy timed everything to match day one of the New Year. All of our uterine vats opened up on January 1st, thus ensuring our collectivity. In that way, our birthdays were a graduation ceremony of sorts. Each year we would advance to the next grade in a celebrated birthday ceremony. I didn’t much like the strawberry ice cream in January, but I always looked forward to the angel food cake.

As Noah’s roommate, I admired him for the first ten years. He seemed so knowledgeable. He seemed to have answers to every question. He even knew things that we were not required to study and I felt amazed by that.

And then the lectures became intolerable.

He didn’t seem to realize how utterly condescending it was to lecture someone by assuming that they didn’t know. Yet, soon it became obvious that this was his only form of conversation. It was apparent that he was only trying to be helpful – that he was only trying to give others what his mentor didn’t give him, which was the helpful advice that he thought he needed.

The condescension got to the point where he seemed so obsessed with telling others how to do things that he’d seemingly make things up. He did this to the point of banishment. He seemed so desperate to be a know-it-all that he’d treat his speculations as if they were a fact. It got to the point where it seemed as if he were suffering from some pathological affliction.

He seemed so alone – I felt sorry for him. He would pose very convincingly as an expert on any subject, yet he seemed so unaware of how insulting it was to have one up on everyone. For a while, it would work on people that didn’t know him. But eventually he would speak on a subject that was already known and they would realize his failure to separate fact from speculation.

He would laugh so hard before reaching any punch line. His social skills or lack thereof, ostracized him from the other andrones much less the natural born. Yet, his obsessive dedication to the job at hand made him a wanted and successful employee.

On the other side of things, being kicked out of Dunhill’s Academy was a sobering experience for Noah’s mentor, Shay. I’m sure that in time he must’ve realized how childish it was to let his emotions get the best of him like that.

Shay’s expulsion reinforced Noah’s resentment at not getting the tutoring he needed from his mentor. As a result, Noah became obsessed with learning everything that he could about anything as a way of dealing with the neglectfulness of Shay’s mentoring.

The company rewarded Noah for being such a knowledgeable employee and would often assign him as group lead. That acknowledgement reinforced his obsession. His dedication to the job and his obsession with being the know-it-all, kept him from getting close to anyone. [What is a know-it-all – someone who, for some reason, has difficulty picking the brains of others.]

Noah had the patience to study, but was so out of touch with other people that he didn’t have the patience to listen to them. He blamed Shay for not giving him the tutoring he thought he should’ve had, and therefore didn’t care what you thought you knew; because he knew different.

He became so obsessed with knowing everything, that when he didn’t know something, he would speculate on what it was and then tell his theory as if he knew it to be an absolute fact. It wasn’t that he was a pathological liar – he simply failed to clarify whether he was speculating, or actually knew.

Lecturing became his only form of conversation. This made him unable to relate to people as human beings, which was perfectly acceptable for an androne whose chief purpose was to interact with machines. Actually, it made him appear to be more capable at what he was designed to do in the first place, which is serving as a connection to computer systems.

Shay, on the other hand, was absolutely the hardest person to understand that was Noah’s experience to ever learn from, and still not comprehend. Until Shay entered his life, Noah wasn’t accustomed to having trouble understanding his childhood responsibilities. When Shay entered Noah’s life – confusion and self-doubt slowly began to ravage his self-image. Self-loathing and depression were never an issue until Noah began to fail at responsibilities that were normally accomplished with ease. At one time Shay brought him a gag gift, but Noah thought it was a project to actually complete. The other andrones laughed mercilessly when Noah brought to class his repeated measures design, which turned out to be a collection of dildos.

And now that Noah was out of the academy, he conquered his self-doubts by focusing on corporate accomplishments. He saw the collective as something doable and he wanted to be its center. But what he failed to realize, was that the center was already here and it was far greater than any single androne.


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