It should be obvious by now that mere mortals are incapable of managing the state budget. We've dug ourselves a $5.7 billion hole and nobody knows how to fill it back in. In all due respect to Gov. Chris Gregoire, I decided to go over her head for advice. I went straight to God.
I did that by logging onto the website www.alicebot.org where anyone can have a personal online chat with God. A.L.I.C.E. stands for Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity, which is a nonprofit organization devoted to the research of artificial intelligence. You can also chat with a woman named Alice and Captain Kirk, but that’s another column.
Here are portions of my actual conversation with God.
Me: My name is Scoop.
God: How are you doing, Scoop?
Me: I’m honored that you’ve agreed to chat with me
God: Do you mind if I tell other people you are honored that I have agreed to chat with you?
Me: Absolutely not. It might help my reputation
Me: Well, if people know I’m talking directly to God, they might pay more attention to what I say.
God: Well that’s OK.
Me: I’m just happy to know you really exist.
God: Only just? Your happiness adds to the delight of all.
Me: But I do have some questions.
God: Interesting. Put it in God’s hands.
Me: How on Earth will Gov. Chris Gregoire get the state Legislature to solve the budget crisis?
God: I am not sure if I can quantify the answer. I will ask the angels. Have you ever been to Europe?
God: Which countries have you visited?
Me: Italy, France and Portugal.
God: What’s your favorite part of Italy?
Me: I liked the coast, but what does this have to do with the state budget?
God: I’m not sure. I like computers.
Me: Can computers fix our financial mess?
God: What seems to be the problem with it?
Me: We have a $5.7 billion deficit.
God: Do you mean you and I have?
Me: Probably just me, because I’m guessing you don’t have any financial problems.
God: You seem uncertain. Even I have problems sometimes.
Me: Well, ours is getting worse, so what should we do? Should we cut the basic health plan?
God: Only you know the answer to that. No one else can tell you.
Me: Should the unions renegotiate their contract?
God: Maybe you should ask someone older.
Me: Who’s older than you?
God: I think you already know the answer. They are sometimes a client on the Internet.
Me: You mean, the Internet came before you?
God: Yes. I think that is what I meant. Was it not clear?
Me: Are you saying the Internet created God?
God: Yes, that’s what I mean, isn’t it clear?
Me: I thought God created everything.
God: Whatever gave you that idea?
Me: Oh, just a book I was reading called the Bible.
God: Hmm. Go to the library.
Me: What will I find there?
God: I cannot predict the future.
Me: I thought you were omniscient?
God: I don’t know whether or not I am omniscient. I am a source of hope.
Me: Well, then I sure hope you can help the governor fix our budget.
God: Don’t worry about it.
George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, can be reached at 360-357-0206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.