My 5-Year-Olds Face Off With iPhone's Siri
At the end of November, Trinidad James, a 25-year-old Trinidadian rapper living in New York, released a video for "All Gold Everything," the unsuspectingly gargantuan single found on his otherwise mostly middling mixtape, Don't Be S.A.F.E. The video was PERFECT, and flung James, then of a tepid amount of buzz, into the rap cosmos.
Despite being littered with curse words (the first 15 words of the first verse: "This ain't for no fuck nigga, if you a real nigga then fuck with me"), and despite featuring zero guest verses from Pixar characters, my sons, 5, are aware the song exists. And that's because LeBron James is aware the song exists. And they're aware LeBron James exists because I kept shouting "LEBRON JAMES!" every time I dunked on their heads while playing 1-on-1 on their tiny basketball goal.
Not long ago, some very auspicious human took a 0:09 clip of LeBron rapping the song's signature set of lines ("Popped a Molly, I'm sweatin'. Popped a Molly, I'm sweatin', WOOO!") and looped it into a five minute clip that becomes more and more preposterous as it plays. See above.
That clip, I showed it to the boys this weekend. They were delighted. And they became obsessed with a variation of the phrase -- "Hot tamales, I'm sweatin', WOOOO!"
They never asked what the actual song was; they just assumed that those two lines were the entirety of it, which I guess isn't really too far off from the truth. I assumed their relationship with young Trinidad would never extend past those moments, same as I'd assumed when I showed them that video of DMX singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," same as I'd assumed when I showed them a video clip of Leprechaun In The Hood. But I was wrong with "All Gold Everything" same as I was wrong with those other two. (Dudes, for realsies: "Lep In The Hood" is not a good look for five-year-olds. Like, not even a little bit.)
Two nights ago, while trying to find a place to eat Mexican food (or, as I prefer to call it, since I am a Mexican, "food"), the boys wandered over. I was using Siri, iPhone's "intelligent personal assistant" that you'll likely remember as the e-antagonist in that commercial where Zooey Deschanel grumbles and orders tomato soup and has bangs.
Boy B: Daddy, who's that that you're talking to?
Me: It's Siri.
Boy B: Who?
Me: Siri. She lives in the phone. Her job is to answer whatever questions you have.
Boy B: She lives IN the phone?
Boy B: OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK!?
I mean, he didn't LITERALLY say that, but he basically did. They were coked. From there: a million questions. How does she live? What does she look like? Is she a robot? Does she know Wall-E? DOES WALL-E LIVE IN THE PHONE TOO?! CAN I HAVE A WALL-E PHONE FOR CHRISTMAS?! HOW MANY DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS?! CAN YOU CALL SANTA?!
Can we talk to her?
I said, "You can talk to her, but listen: You know your little brother, who was just born? You know how whenever you start thumping at his soft spot I get mad? Okay, he was free, and this phone cost $600, so if I get mad over something that's free, imagine what it'll be like when you break something expensive." Then I explained how to activate Siri. And then I let them go.
The conversation, it started out simple enough but unraveled quickly. They asked Siri to play Trinidad James's "All Gold Everything," to which she replied, "I couldn't find China James 'Almost Everything' in your music." They were not deterred.
Boy B: Umm... oh, ask it for "Everything Is Gold."
Boy A: Siri, please play "Everything Is Gold."
Siri: I couldn't find "Everything Is Gold" in your music.
Boy A: DADDY, SHE WON'T PLAY IT.
Me: Dude, I don't... I mean, just ask her for something else.
Boy A: Like what?
Me: Ask her whatever you want. Music or toys or whatever.
Boy A: ...
Boy B: ASK HER FOR THUMPBACK, ASK HER FOR THUMPBACK!
Thumpback, FYI, is a Skylander. Skylanders, FYI, is a weak ass first-person video game where you walk around and collect fruits and coins and occasionally have tickle fights with very adorable creatures that, were they left to their own, would do little more than attempt to smile you into a coma. You are responsible for shooting and/or killing precisely zero percent of the things in Skyland (where everything takes place, obvs), which means the game is 100 percent weak. Even the guys that you do have to "battle," once you beat them they don't explode or bleed or anything, they just sit on the ground and explain why they're not so nice. ("I just wanted the Apple Fairies to think I was cool," one of the elves might've said -- I don't know. I shut my brain all the way the fuck down for the thirty minutes I let them play each week.)
Boy A: Siri, can you bring me Thumpback?
Siri: I'm afraid not.
Boy A: ...I don't like you, Siri.
Siri: Now, now.
Boy B: Let me try.
Boy A: Okay.
Boy B, he's a tad more clever than Boy A, so I formaybejustthislong was kind of excited to hear what he was going to ask for. What if he asks about the origins of the universe, I thought. Or if has some grand question about creationism or Marxism or any sort of -ism, that would be impressive, my brain spun. OMG THIS BOY IS GOING TO UNSPOOL ALL OF THE GREATEST MYSTERIES OF LIFE .
Boy B: Siri, ...CAAAAAN ...YOOOOU ...BRIIIIIING... MEEEEEE... AAAAAAA... Thumpback?
They asked questions and questions and questions. Thirty percent of the time Siri'd get close enough to their requests for them to be entertained. Seventy percent of the time she blocked their shots entirely, offering little more than a conciliatory alternate web page instead. (This, I'll admit, I'm envious of. Imagine being asked an uncomfortable question and then being able to offer that as a viable retort. "Where'd you go after work, Shea? Were you at the strip club?" ...I don't understand "Where'd you go after work, Shea," but I could search the web for it. Life = solved.)
The most enjoyable moment when Boy A asked her if she had a picture of him. He used his real name, but his kiddo slur made it impossible for her to understand him. She offered up 15 workout facilities keyed off by the term "Snatch gym," to which he replied, "Siri, I'm going to punch you in the face because that is NOT my name." T
Boy A then asked her to find the dastardly Camamoots, an imaginary villain the boys use to explain away all of the shitty things that they do. To wit: If you ask either of them why the lamp is broken or why there's a hole in the wall by the bathroom door or why there are boogers smeared on the TV, the only response you'll ever receive is, "Camamoots did it." Their solidarity is the most inspiring kind of infuriating.
After A asked Siri, she processed their request. He looked at his brother and his brother looked at him and then they both looked at the phone more passionately than anyone has ever looked at any inanimate object. After the tensest of moments, she proudly posted a picture of Arthur Moats, linebacker for the Buffalo Bills. I was surprised to learn that he could run the 40 yard dash in 4.6 seconds. I guess that's why we've never actually seen him.
After eight or nine minutes of doddling with Siri the boys got bored. "Daddy, she won't play anything," Boy A remarked. "I hate her. Can you just play the song on your computer?"
So that's what I did. Because this ain't for no fuck daddy, if you a real daddy, then fuck with me.
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