J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all those who wander are lost, they simply need get with the program and download the Uber App.” Okay, the second part of that quote is 100 percent fabricated, and it’s hard to picture Tolkien glued to a smartphone like the rest of us even if he were around today.
Still, you must admit to the fun in imagining how contemporary technology could have altered the course of quite a few classic stories. Have you ever read an old novel or play about a missed romantic connection and practically shrieked at the worn pages, “My god, if only he could just TEXT her!” or, “Enough with this epic, 20-year search for a long-lost lover. It would take them about two seconds to find each other if they had Facebook.”
This leads me to the ultimate solution for classic literary characters with transportation problems: U-B-E-R. Think about it: How many perilous journeys could have been drastically shortened with the tap of an app? Who might have benefitted from foregoing a disastrous train ride in favor of a prompt SUV pickup?
Here are nine characters from literature who really could have used an Uber ride:
Odysseus from The Odyssey by Homer
Look, Odysseus, it sounds like you had a great time cavorting with Circe after the Trojan War. Who knows, maybe even the Lotus Eaters were your thing; but has this whole "lack-of-good-transportation" snafu really been worth wasting a decade of your life? Enough is enough. Time to set a pick-up location and get back to Ithaca (just make sure your driver knows we're not talking Ithaca, New York).
Mr. Ratchett from Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Ahem, Mr. Ratchett (or shall we call you Cassetti?), did you really think it was a good idea to board a train full of mysterious passengers despite fearing for your own life? If only you had asked for a refund on that ticket, and opted instead for a private car, things may have turned out differently for you...
Vladimir and Estragon from Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Gentlemen, I hate to break it to you, but I suspect your friend Godot is going to be a no-show. It might be time to get your act together and quit this waiting game. Getting to Godot will take minimal effort, I promise; in fact, the only finger you'll have to lift is the one it takes to tap "request a driver."
Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Frodo, Frodo, Frodo, always fretting about your long journey to Mordor. It's far away, and Gollum is acting like a giant stalker, we get it. Not even Sauron will be able to stop you, though, once you and Sam score an Uber-X pickup.
Ichabod Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Poor Ichabod. We both know your old horse doesn't stand a chance in a race against the Headless Horseman. You know what does stand a chance?: An UberBLACK. A quick pickup at the Van Tassel farm will get you across the bridge and back home safe and sound.
Edmond Dantès from The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas
Now this might be a stretch, Edmond, but if by chance you can get a car — any car, because one can't afford to be picky in certain situations — to do a pickup at Château d’If, you might save yourself a lot of time and trouble. The only minor caveat? The aforementioned car better have sailing capabilities. Does Uber possess that technology yet?
Inman from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
True love may move mountains, but a little help from your smartphone to speed up the process can't hurt either. In fact, Inman, your drive back to Cold Mountain should only take a day or two. Pay no heed to the surge-pricing alert — you can't put a price on seeing Ada again!
Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The bad news: A ride to the Emerald City is way out of Dorothy's budget. The good news: UberPOOL. See, Dorothy, you'll be off to see the Wizard via car significantly quicker than those slippers can carry you, and you'll have the chance pick up your friends Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Woodman along the way.
Father & Son from The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Did Uber survive the apocalypse? How will the payment work now that credit card companies no longer exist? What if an exhausted father and son have no real destination in mind? Can they request a car tough enough to protect them from cannibals? There's only one way to find out...
Images: Giphy (10)