About a week ago, my friends Rob, Jeff, and I decided that a flash mob was in order.

See, here at Texas A&M University, we are subject to the kind of huckleberry conservatism that seems to personify Texas to a lot of individuals in America and abroad. You know, the gun-toting, archconservative cowboy stereotype. It exists here in large and identifiable quantities. Such an atmosphere isn't conducive to my own eclectic leanings, nor that of my baby, KANM Student Radio.

So, Rob, Jeff, and I, sitting around the KANM office trying to think of something fun to do, decided that a flash mob would be precisely the sort of thing no one would think to do around here. New York City? That's so 2003. London? Paris? Chicago? Please. But here in this sleepy college town in the heart of Texas, a flash mob would be as out of place as a foreign-manufactured truck.

Pressed for ideas, I casually asserted that we would all get together and do the robot. From there our plan steamrolled. We scripted the entire event:

  • At precisely 2:08 PM (via www.time.gov.) we would convene at the Sul Ross statue at the heart of campus.
  • At 2:10 PM, we would announce via megaphone: "ATTENTION: The age of robot has begun."
  • We would turn on some funky music, and dance the robot for 30 seconds.
  • Another announcement: "The age of robot has ended. We now resume the age of man."
  • Everyone would disperse nonchalantly.

We thought ourselves brilliant, wrote up a flyer and an e-mail, and sent it on its merry way to our few friends in the area. Two days later, the e-mail came back to me, in the form of an IM from an old friend I hadn't talked to in over a year. Others told me about how they had seen flyers for it posted in places that we hadn't gone. Local club listservs were spreading the word.

This sort of thing makes you wonder just how sleepy this town is.

Finally, the big day arrived. We acquired a megaphone, wrote and revised the script, found a track by Fre-Q Nasty announcing that "we can all dance the robot", and made our way to the statue.

At 2:08, we all converged on the statue. Nearly 50 people were there - just the number we had predicted. Some 50-100 others were gathered around to watch the proceedings. People walking between classes stopped to stare. At 2:10, Brad Shoup, resident KANM music director and noted culture geek, gave the announcement and began the music.

And suddenly, for a brief minute, we were robots, stuttering and spluttering with activity. Our age had begun, and we reveled in our nonhumanity. The puny humanoids who gazed upon our willing wires were awestruck. For a while, we had conquered mankind. It truly was The Age Of Robot.

With a sudden snap, the music ended, and with the faintest hint of resignation, Brad announced, "We now resume ... the age of man." And I marched off, back to the station, satisfied in our efforts to bring the future in one concentrated dose to this city of complacency.

Pictures and a video should be available soon. Details at 10.

UPDATE: Pictures available at http://cubanraftattack.com/pictures.php. Pick the "Age of the Robot." directory.