“Smart” A Mort Laitner Short Story


By Mort Laitner

“Uncle Monroe, I bet when you were a kid during the radio days, lots of folks said, ‘You’re so smart and cute.’ But today’s children are competing with all these smart devises for compliments concerning their intelligence.”

“Young man, what are you talking about?” he asked.

“Well with the advent of micro computer chip placement, scientists, inventors and marketers have made all things smart.” I replied.

“Mr. TV generation give me some examples please? Monroe asked.

“Well there is the smart phone, the smart car, the smart car key, the smart TV and the smart gas pump just to name a few.” I replied.

“The word ‘smart’ is definitely being over used. All the smart key does is

lock and unlock your doors and maybe open your windows.”

“But Monroe it can do those tasks from a distance of thirty feet. The absent minded have an additional ten paces to remember they have valuable in their car. And your car feels so much better when that high intensity heat escapes the opened windows.”

I continue, “Here’s a better example. On my television sits TiVo, a computer with artificial intelligence. It selects programs for me that it thinks I’ll enjoy. However it still has kinks in it. It hits about one out of ten times. It also allows me to erase commercials in nanoseconds, making it one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century.

Uncle Monroe frowns, giving me that look I know so well; intelligent people read books and don’t watch TV. Books make you think. TV puts your brain on zombie mode. His silence speaks volumes. I realized that I was losing his interest in this one sided dialogue.

“Now I’m going to tell you about the smartest device out there; My Blackberry. It’s a ubiquitous genius. It handles my phone service. It’s a mini laptop, a camera, a video recorder, a calendar, and a memo pad, It’s my link to the world wide web and my I pod. It most likely does a bunch of stuff I don’t even know about.”



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