And Don’t Call Me Siri

woman on her mobile phoneBy Judy Berman

One long, lonely weekend, I set out to find the perfect guru to provide answers to life’s eternal questions.

I was certain that what I’d searched the world over for was now within my grasp: What is the meaning of life? Should I take the blue pill or the red one? When will pigs fly?

So, I turned to Siri, the voice-recognition assistant on my iPhone5. I didn’t always get a straight answer.

Me: What is the meaning of life?

Siri: I can’t answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens.

Maybe, she’d provide more insights into whether it’s better to remain blissfully ignorant of illusion or embrace the painful truth of reality. Neo’s options in the 1999 sci-fi film, The Matrix, for example:

Me: The blue pill or the red pill?

Siri: Either way … I’ll still be here when you wake up.*

Hmmm … I’m not really interested in seeing how deep the rabbit hole is. Maybe there’s another means of escape Siri can address.

On the subject of how many planes were overhead, Siri provided specific details about the airplanes and how high they were. But, then she got vague when I quizzed her on other aspects of flight.

Me: When will pigs fly?

Siri: OK. I found this:

a)      When they grow wings.
b)      When inserted into a circus cannon whose fuse is lit.
c)      When they figure out how to buy plane tickets.

Siri answers my question on "When will pigs fly?"
Siri answers my question on “When will pigs fly?”

At last, some progress. When I tried to get personal, however, Siri became coy.

Me: Can you make me a sandwich?

Siri: I’m not really good with food.

Me: What do you look like?

Siri: In the cloud, no one cares what you look like.

Me: What is your real name?

Siri: I prefer not to say.

Siri: … and don’t call me Siri. (OK. I made this last part up.)

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo: Woman on her mobile phone, texting in traffic. Photo by: “Mo Riza” – March 1-, 2006

Photo: Siri on my iPod touch 5

* Answers from Siri vary. The response to the question “the blue pill or the red pill” came from “Siri Answers 20 Hilarious Questions”

Video clip from the 1999 movie, The Matrix: The Blue Pill or the Red Pill 

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth – nothing more.

    1. Jenn, it all began so innocently. I thought I was on my translate app and said “thank you.” When Siri responded: “You don’t need to thank me,” I cracked up … and a crazy idea formed for my blog. 🙂 Luv you, too.

  1. Very funny piece.
    I seem to have Siri on my iPad.
    I haven’t learned how to use it (or her?) but there have been a few times when I have accidentally activated Siri when I wasn’t on the Internet.
    The result wasn’t pretty. Boy, did she (or it?) sound snotty, almost as if I had called it (or her?) at 2 in the morning, disturbing her (or its?) slumber.
    So, for the time being, I have invoked Murphy’s first rule of technology:
    Never use software that sounds like my mother on a bad day.
    (A sudden, disturbing thought: What if Siri is actually Hal — from “2001” — in disguise? Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do….)

    1. Well, thanks, Mark. I’ll try not to call Siri at 2 a.m. Your image of her is hysterical. (I’m not sure Siri would approve though.) 😆 One photo I saw was a very attractive, shiny metal robot.

      Let’s hope it’s not Hal in disguise. Then, her answers would definitely be suspect.

  2. Judy, I thought your post was hilarious. It made me think about where technology is heading and realise that it’s only a matter of time before we will be turning to machines instead of each other for answers to life, love and the universe. And the scary part is, that they will know. I wonder if that’s what happened to the dinosaurs. 🙂

    1. Glad it left you laughing, Mary. I am up – a modest amount – on some technology. But there’s much my husband, my tekkie neighbor, and my students show me how to do. 🙂

      You raised an interesting point. One of the questions I neglected to ask was about ‘what happened to the dinosaurs?’ I’ll save that for a future conversation. Siri did say after a few of my inane questions that it was time to get back to work.

  3. I was thinking of getting an iPhone this year, but now I’m definitely getting one just to ask Siri why I can never find my kids’ missing socks when I’m late for an appointment.

  4. Precociously funny! I never got past the crazy-8 ball and questions like, “Will I get a good grade on my algebra test?” “Will John ask me to the prom?” (you can probably guess how many long decades ago THAT all was!)

    1. I loved the crazy-8 ball and it actually made an astounding prediction the first time I used one. I was nearly 8 and we had just moved to Central New York from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It might have been October and I asked if it was going to snow the next day. The answer: yes. My Mom laughed, but she wasn’t laughing the next day when it DID snow … and her winter coat was still in storage. (We were briefly staying with friends.) Thanks, Tracy, for kick starting a wonderful memory.

  5. Uh…I think Siri has been feeding me information, too. How can I make her stop?
    (Another great hoot’n holler post, Judy. It’s been a tough week, and I needed you and Siri to put it into confused perspective!)

    1. I’m glad I was ‘there’ for you, Marilyn. Any time I can muddle a lucid thought is a great day. 🙂

      But now you have my curiosity. Just what kind of information is Siri feeding you?

  6. Yet another piece of modern technology I’d never heard of, Judy. I have a feeling conversation with Siri might be more fun than talking to a few people I know.

    I hope you’re having a great weekend.

  7. Did you ever think you’d be standing by yourself talking to a piece of technology waiting for it to answer?

    We’re Droid people in our house and haven’t gotten to experience Siri’s wit and wisdom. I think I’ll live vicariously through your posts.

    1. As someone who talks to myself a lot, it was refreshing to talk to Siri. 😆 She has a sense of humor and smarts.

      Now, you’ve provided me with technology I’d never heard of. Exactly what is a Droid and what does it do?

      1. Droid is just the non-Apple type of smartphone. I’m not a tech person, but I think it is just a different type of operating system.

        comment from earthrider to Paprika:
        Thanks for the clarification. Droid is a cool name. I’ll check it out. But I’ll stick with my Smart phone cuz it makes me feel like I’m surrounded by intelligent beings. 🙂

  8. The thought of talking to your own computer is both a little scary and exciting in my mind! I can remember writing a poem, one of my first few at the age of 15 (1983) called My Computer Knows, about asking my personal computer any question and ‘she’ would know all the answers. This must be ‘her’ after all these years!! I should try predicting some more future things in poetry! 😉 No, I’m sure I didn’t get it all out of my own head, probably from Doctor Who I expect! 🙂

    I don’t have an iPhone, so I’ve not experienced all of this yet, but it looks great fun, a bit of an illusion of course, as it’s all just programmed information, and very limited – but so are humans! Does Siri give you reliable worthwhile answers sometimes?

    I think the answer to pigs flying must be, when they figure out how to buy plane tickets, and when they are allowed to leave their resident country, just in case they spread swine flu. Of course humans would never be responsible for that kind of thing! 😉

    1. Suzy, you may have been ahead of your time with your “My Computer Knows.” Predicting something that came to fruition decades later. That is a real ‘wow’ moment. Then, again, it could be you were influenced by sci-fi programs such as Doctor Who. Those sci-fi folks are always ahead of the curve.

      My husband and I have asked Siri about the location of places we’re interested in and some other stuff. So, she does give useful information. It’s just that I saw an opportunity to get playful and seized upon it. 🙂

  9. Hi Judy,
    I love your sense of adventure and mischievousness. I’m also the inquisitive type and I thoroughly enjoyed your piece.

    P.S. I just read an interesting article titled Siri Is Great, But When Will We Get ‘Jarvis’? in Forbes.

    1. Siri is a gas. I’m glad you enjoyed my creative mischief, timethief. It was fun weaving her responses into a story. Some, while humorous, didn’t fit.

      I will have to check that article out. Hope it’s online. 🙂

  10. You made my day bright my friend. Thanks for making me smile. I have not ask Siri for the many questions in my head. I’m hope she won’t be stressed out what I do start asking. Ha, ha,ha. Have a great day!

  11. “One long, lonely weekend, I set out to find the perfect guru to provide answers to life’s eternal questions.”

    Well, 3 college degrees, read bazillion books and 64 years later I still have not found the answers. However, I have reached 2 conclusions: do not be the cause of anyone’s misfortune and never pass up the opportunity to perform a charitable act. Ultimately such seems to answer all.

  12. He he he, not a bad way to spend time if one is really jobless 😀
    Just yesterday the children had us all in hysterics in a session with Siri!

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