“One by one, over the months, the other bulbs burn out, and are gone. The first few of these hit Byron hard. He’s still a new arrival, still hasn’t accepted his immortality. But on through the burning hours he starts to learn about the transience of others: learns that loving them while they’re here becomes easier, and also more intense—to love as if each design-hour will be the last. Byron soon enough becomes a Permanent Old-Timer. Others can recognize his immortality on sight, but it’ss never discussed except in a general way, when folklore comes flickering in from other parts of the Grid, tales of the Immortals, one in a kabbalist’s study in Lyons who’s supposed to know magic, another in Norway outside a warehouse facing arctic whiteness with a stoicism more southerly bulbs begin strobing faintly just at the thought of. If other Immortals are out there, they remain silent. But it is a silence with much, perhaps, everything, in it.”
Things were meant to burn out; things were meant to wear out.
Things were meant to break down; try and wear a pair out!
They think they're stocking up when they've got three or four—
Before they turn around they need a dozen more!
Planned obsolescence! There is the essence
Of the American way of making things
(schlocky kind of breaking things!):
Bang, clang, crash, smash, clunk, junk, fizzle,
Conking out according to our master plan—
Go try and beat the system if you can! [...]
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