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Amazon’s Alexa, colonoscopies and aftermarket marketing

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 06:00
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Men hate bad news. It’s probably the primary reason we die younger than women. In general, we don’t take care of ourselves like we should, lament the time and the cost of preventative procedures, and fear the results of necessary procedures that, in our opinion, are simply best left to chance.

Actually, we think if it’s horrible news and we don’t know the prognosis, magically it will go away. It’s not often that I can draw some sort of parallel between an overdue colonoscopy and the aftermarket, but I’m going to try with as little innuendo as I can.

Now, who really wants a colonoscopy? Nobody, that’s who. My insurance said it would pay for the procedure entirely, and my wife insisted. I agreed, although sheepishly. The cleansing preparation prior to the event was in no way anticipated to include sheer agony of gut wrenching proportions, nor did I ever think I would have the time to finish the last 12 chapters of “War and Peace.” Much to my surprise and further literary confusion, I went down two pant sizes and have now developed a hatred for strawberry Gatorade.

The morning of the procedure, I checked my ego at the door of the hospital as this was emotionally necessary. I divested myself of all that I had been invested, and clothed myself in the ever fashionable v-back gown of shame. More nervous than a wildebeest preparing to cross an African stream displaying a flotilla of toothy crocodiles, I attempted to calm myself for what was to come.

Upon entering the surgical room of my local hospital, I began to notice that I knew all of the nurses, the doctor and even the anesthesiologist. Both pair of my cheeks turned red. My anesthesiologist began to tell me he needed to get the oil changed in his truck, one of the nurses asked about a window regulator for her car, and the doctor quipped something about his muffler we just installed making some unwanted noises. Although they were all masked, I swear before my twilight of sleep fell over me, I could see a devilish grin on all of their faces. “God help me,” I muttered to myself drifting terrified into an abyss of darkness.

Then I awoke. Not in the recovery room, which is preferred, but in the middle of the procedure. As I lay on my side, I looked feverishly toward my feet. I exclaimed, “Hey, I’m awake,” and saw what can only be described as my doctor fly fishing with a garden hose.

Then I awoke again, but this time in the recovery room. After dressing, I was presented with a series of images that basically detailed my affliction, the likes of which would keep most people awake at night, and then given a clean bill of health accompanied with the news that I caught this at just the right time. I was thankful for the news, embarrassed of the situation required to receive said news, and earnestly planning my next prescribed scheduled maintenance.

What does Amazon’s Alexa have to do with this? I could have asked her, “Alexa, order me an at-home colon cancer screening kit. Thus, possibly saving myself un-needed embarrassment and the need to seek psychological counseling.

The capability of Alexa taking care of your nether regions is nothing compared to what she’s about to do for your car. Ford and Volkswagen announced that they are integrating this new Amazon technology into the production of their cars. Now, as you are driving down the road, and your oil change reminder light flashes, it’s likely Alexa will tell you it’s time for an oil change, and since she knows the year, make, and model of your car, she will get the first shot at selling you the stuff you need. Or worse, ask you if you’d like to schedule an appointment with the dealer nearest you to have them perform the work.

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