The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 83
America

In September, 2005, BI bought a little bit more than a square kilometre of farm land between Durbanville and Blouberg, about thirty kilometres away from our offices. We paid a hundred million rand for it, which, although it sounds really expensive, was less than the profit that the company made that month. We named our land ‘Free Thinker’s Town’.

We had many ideas, but agreed that it would be a good idea to travel to a country that had done similar things to what we were considering. The only house building factories that existed in South Africa built very simple houses, if you can call them that. They were small, temporary, and not very pretty homes. We wanted to do something far more exciting, and so, in order to get ideas, a team of 8 of us headed off to America to visit their best house building factories. Our journey would also include a visit to a large hydroponic farm, and even to NASA, to have a look at their aeroponic farming techniques. Our first stop was a large factory that built luxury homes.

The large, noisy factory filled with tonnes of timber being manually measured and sawn by workers seemed very ordinary and outdated to me. The others did not seem to think so. They were all impressed by the computer program that displayed a virtual 3D home that one could walk around before buying it.

‘I think this is exactly the way that we should build our homes,’ Anton suggested.

‘I don’t think so,’ I replied in a slightly depressed manner.

‘You don’t like it?’ Peter asked.

The sawdust made me sneeze.

‘I agree with Anton on this,’ Jillian shouted above the loud hum of a circular saw.

‘Don’t you get it?’ I asked loudly, ‘I’m trying to do something that’s never been done before. There are too many workers here and,’ I waited for some hammering to stop. ‘Wood?’ I asked, ‘Seriously, how long is a wooden house going to last before it requires maintenance.’

‘How long do you want it to last?’ Peter asked

‘I don’t know, about a thousand years at least, I guess,’ I replied.

They laughed.

I felt like I was back in school. I had always had great ideas and big dreams, but sometimes I felt as if people thought I was just showing off. I wasn’t. I knew there was a need for things to last much longer. Why didn’t other people see it? Did people not remember Y2K, when millions of computer programs had to be fixed because the programmers could not see a few years into the future to a time when they would need more than two digits to record the year. I should have made sure that Rupert, Dave, Edward or Shelley were with me.

After lunch I left the others to spend some time by myself. I wandered around the Grapevine Mills Mall, watching the people go about their daily rituals. Shoppers were being drawn in by the lure of the latest gimmicks and shop owners were thriving on their brainwashed needs. I walked passed a computer shop with the latest computers, which would be outdated in a year’s time. They would not be upgradeable, and so, the next time a buyer wants to upgrade, nearly his entire computer including the RAM, the motherboard, the CPU and the box would have to be sold. The cellular phone shops had the latest phones in stock, with new features that no-one would use, but everyone had to have. Well, that is at least until the phone breaks in two years time and a new one with 20 gigapixels is needed. Don’t people know that their monitors can only display 2 megapixels? A fancy, new, metallic red sports car was being displayed, with excited people peeking in the window. Didn’t they know that it would only last ten years before it would become an old, useless, second hand vehicle that costs more to maintain than to throw away?

I just wished that people could see beyond the advertising and the for sale signs, and see what really matters in life, and what really makes one happy, but unfortunately people tend to accept the reality with which they’re presented as if there is no other way.

My phone rang. It was Shelley.

‘How’s America?’ she asked.

‘I just want to go home. It was a mistake to come here. There’s nothing inspirational here. Even my team doesn’t believe in me.’

‘I believe in you.’

It was short, but powerful. The four words flipped the world upside down and I began to see things differently. The shoppers became mindless drones that I could control, and the sellers became deceptive idiots that could not control me. My team were eager and simply needed to be educated.

‘I love you,’ I replied.

‘Love you too!’

I found an internet café and went inside. I spent the next hour browsing the internet for something inspirational that I could use to show my team and get them on my side again. After half an hour I had found what I was looking for and added an extra event to our trip calendar.

The alternative farms were quite interesting. Normally, a single person would require about 5,000 square metres of farm land for their food. No, I’m not making this up. This is why the world is running out of farming land. With hydroponic, or aeroponic farming techniques, no soil is required, and a lot more can be produced in a small amount of space. One can even use vertical space to grow things. We knew we had limited space, and so we had to figure out the best ways to use it.

Our last stop was my special event which I had organized from the I internet café. It was in Wisconsin. I kept quiet about what it was, and the suspense worked wonders. ‘Wow,’ was the basic meaning of the first word that came from everyone’s mouth as we got out of the hired car and looked up at a 4 storey high dinosaur statue standing outside a factory.

We went inside and there they showed us the process for manufacturing models, as big as houses, made in moulds.

 

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