When I worked at the middle school, a student named Murphy expressed to me that he would like to pursue a robotics career someday, so I helped him along by recommending various universities and programs that he should investigate. We often discussed these things when I was on recess duty.
One such day, another student, Mike, told me in great detail about his brother’s plan to dominate the world (an intricate plot, involving the systematic takeover and subsequent nuking of one country after another).
“That’s stupid,” said Murphy. “It all hinges on his being a UN official in the first place.” (I’ll spare you those details.) “Where would he get that kind of power?”
“From the Canadians,” Mike said.
“See, we’re convinced that they’re hiding some kind of super weapon around Ontario. How else do you explain a country that size with so few foreign disputes?”
“I’ve always suspected the Canadians. You’re right. They’re awfully quiet.”
“So we just have to get in and take it from them.”
There was silence for a minute or two as Murphy seemed to be contemplating the ramifications of disturbing the international super-power that is Canada. “Hmm. It lacks the simplicity and elegance of my plan.”
“We can’t all rely on robotics, Murph,” Mike said.
And they went quiet. I couldn’t let them stop there, so I prodded them along by asking, “How does your world domination plan go, Murphy?”
“Well, first I have to get into that university in Switzerland with the robotics program that Disney funds that you told me about. Eventually, I’ll be knowledgeable enough to create the ultimate household robot that can cook and clean and run simple errands. I’ll include some supposed flaws in the design – for instance, the robot will never lift more than 40 pounds, so people will think it’s unable to – so after a few years when there are at least 3 of my robots in every home and I flip the control switch that causes them to violate the laws of robotics, everyone will be really surprised at what they can do. I’m trying to figure out how I can have bullet-proof armor under their paneling without adversely affecting the weight… Anyway, so with the help of my robots we’ll eventually undermine America and all that it stands for. Once you’ve conquered America, I figure the rest of the world is all downhill. Then it’s time to colonize Antarctica and build my fortress. But I’ll have to find a new home for the penguins first. I’m all about the penguins.”
“If you take over Antarctica, there’s nowhere to move the penguins to!” Mike said.
“Um, duh, genius! The North Pole!” Murphy said.
“No way! Epic fail!”
“The polar bears would eat them!”
“Please, the polar bears are dying out.”
“And the same thing that’s killing them would kill the penguins!”
“Okay, fine. The penguins can stay. I’ll just have to make it illegal for anyone to live too close to Antarctica. Like, New Zealand, for instance. New Zealand would have to go.”
When the revolution comes, I know that he will remember what a great mentor I was and therefore my death will be swift and painless. I take great comfort in this.