Observed | Ob-Deviations

My 3-D Life

Perhaps in enough time someone will figure out the million dollar idea that will makes 3-D printers so vital and necessary that it will be hard to imagine a time when we only made quirky plastic paperweights and iPhone cases, it will be hard to imagine a time when we asked, “what else is 3-D printing good for?”

—“Home 3-D Printers to Make Things You Need or Just Like.”
The New York Times, June 19, 2013

If I had a 3-D printer, I would use it to make pizza. I would use it on bad hair days to print out a new head of hair, strand by strand, and then I would use it to make invisible glue to attach it to my head. Glue that smelled nice and wasn’t oily and made me look like I was born with perfect hair. I would print new breasts, too.

Armed with flawless hair and perfect breasts and all the pizza I could ever want, I would set my sights on bigger things, like printing money. With my printed money I would pay all my taxes and then lend some to the government so they could stop taxing me in the first place. I would offer to print them pizzas as a bonus! Or, for that matter, breasts.

Sated by all the pizza I could ever want and no tax liability, I would print some books. In those books I would adjust the title pages and make myself the author. When asked by my puzzled friends how I found the time to translate Das Kapital into Swahili, I would smile bashfully and print them out a double martini. (Who says print is dead?) Then I would smile and point them to all the Cezannes I painted — sorry, printed — before suggesting we all go out for a nice 3-D dinner. If there were no taxis, I could always just print us one. Or, for that matter, a limo.

Mostly, I’d like to use my 3-D printer to print another 3D printer. I could print some for my friends. Or I could just print some new friends.

In my new 3-D-enabled orbit, I would print myself a spanking-new wardrobe, and a new body to go with it. I’d print new luggage, including a bespoke suitcase for my printer, which would be surgically implanted into my new bespoke hips. Life could be perfect with a 3D- printer! Why feel bad about your neck if you can print a new neck?

And hell, why stop there? With my new 3-D printer, I could print myself a new brain! I’d output a brilliant neurologist who would swap out my current, addled brain, replacing it with a new-and-improved 3-D brain that would come fully loaded with 100 terrabytes of memory and the metabolism of a nine-year-old boy. (Refer to “all the pizza I could ever want,” above.)

What I’d really want, though, is to print myself a new reputation. Originally, I thought that’s what Facebook was for, but a 3-D printer takes this kind of self-improvement to a whole new level. I could print myself a new personality—a whole new mind! In my new and improved 3-D mind, I’d be completely happy except that I’d actually want a 4-D printer, so I could reprint, say, the last several years. Which begs the question: if you can print it, can you erase it, too? In that case, I’d like to erase bigotry and hatred, selected dictatorships, and my last two boyfriends. While we’re at it, I’d like to eliminate the 74,759,360,911.4 mistakes I’ve made since 1982, and replace them with Really Good Judgment and Flawless Reasoning. (And perfect hair.)

Meanwhile, what’s to stop me from printing some caviar, or an Oscar? A pony? Or a Porsche? The world is my three-dimensional oyster just waiting to happen and I, for one, am ready. Today quirky plastic paperweights: tomorrow, the world! Now that summer is here, I could start by printing myself a suntan. Come to think of it, I might just go ahead and print myself a pool. Or a beach with my very own 3-D ocean. Weather-printing is going to be really big by next year — mark my words. Or, for that matter, just print them.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Technology

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