Ramblings From an Apathetic Adult Baby

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2095 A.D.: How Did You and Great-Grandma Meet?

 Q.

Your great grandma and I met online in 2016. On this ancient app, Tinder, we both had on our non-telekinetic phones.

Q.

Tinder was how single people found dates. Or found hookups. Or reinforced stereotypes. It intended to be a medium to get to know each other in a non-public setting. Striking up conversation with a complete stranger in public wasn’t done.

Any gesture, pleasantry, or—god forbid—smile directed at an unfamiliar someone was met with scorn, aware that there needed to be some sort of scheme, some endgame.

Q.

People might be more open nowadays; you know, with the government-mandated diversity quotas on friendships and all.

Q.

The app was simple. Swipe right if they’re profile’s attractive-ish enough and swipe left if they’re sickly, overbite-y, or some other variant of gross. Details—bathroom habits, levels of indoctrinated racism, what kind of neglectful parent they’d become—were inferred instantly and conclusions cemented.

All in all, pretty fun.

Q.

If you and a stranger didn’t immediately find something revolting about the other and both swiped right, you’d open a dialogue. The results typically yielded the sexually and emotionally desperate, though, occasionally you’d find a somewhat stable person.

Q…

No. There wasn’t video. No sensory body suits. No humanoid surrogates obeying your every whim. This was no-frills back and forth. Writing tiny virtual memos to one another. Actual, serious keystroke typing with letters and tiny cartoon pictures.

Q.

Uncertainty was everywhere. What’s the right amount of emojis for a self-described heterosexual man to use? Does actual grammar matter to this person? How many “LOLs” does their terrible joke attempt merit? I know kids today are comfortable with offering up any and all exploitable fears and banking passwords to anyone on the web asking, but this was all uncharted territory.

A lot has changed, namely with companionship Concubots™ and a Supreme Court recognizing marriage between human being and a gratification robot. I mean, when we were married weather hadn’t yet been government regulated and the country bordering Turkey was “Greece,” not “Greece: A Nation Presented by Volkswagen.”

 

*Your HeadstoneHolgram© will resume momentarily. This HeadstoneHologram© is brought to you by Burger King™. Burger King™: Mourn Your Way*

 

…It wasn’t just like I could hook up a REM Reader and have it transcribe everything.

Q.

Ten, maybe twelve, message back and forth over twenty Earth minutes before we’d exchanged nude pictures and agreed to meet in a well-lit public space.

Q.

Just a coffee shop. Close to the lab where she worked and close to my analytics job. She was cute, considering 2016’s more realistic standards of beauty.

Now with your commercially available occipital and temporal lobe probes they can rewire you in a snap. One minute you’re in the alleyway negotiating with the john. The next you’re on the Wahlberg Zeppelin. In the Fuck Room. Working your way through a carousel of A-listers. Your mind can hardly distinguish the artificiality. Erotic experience is no longer limited to the non-genetically modified people in your immediate locale. Or whatever you found on webcams.

Q.

I never did get bored. Attention spans used to be a lot longer. Plus, back then there wasn’t a need for those passion-inhibiting brain condoms to protect against psionic herpes. Not to mention that your great-grandma’s always been sweet. I remember she gave me her Hulu password right after we became Facebook-official.

Q.

Before the Dark Web took over all forms of media, you had to pay actual, nationally recognized currency each month for the shows you wanted. Or steal a friend’s password.

Q.

I had asked myself one question, “Do I want to spend the rest of my life with her?” I mean, of course I self-audited a little further. Didn’t find any lingering flames. No divorce fantasies. Plus, there were no numbers to crunch before the engagement. Before 2030 you could get married without submitting your genomes to the Central Office and waiting for a phenotype report.

There wasn’t any Chomosale.com™, or any database option for bidding on prized genetic material. Back then it was a little gauche to pry over medical histories. All you could do was skulk around family gatherings and take note of anyone trying to quell discussions about Huntington’s.

Q.

My only regret is not marrying her sooner. We rolled the dice, tried our best, and got lucky. We wed eight months after I’d proposed and then spent an amazing 58 years together before we died six months apart in 2074, me of stroke and her of a degenerative bone disease. I loved her and she loved me.

And we still love each other! Living in Afterlyfe™ has been great. The property taxes are bananas, but mostly it’s great.

Had I been overloaded with information, I’d have risked over-thinking the best decision I’d ever made. The choice I’m happiest with was made purely on feeling and anecdotal evidence. I couldn’t imagine living and never having your granddad, Wynnter, and great aunt, Sumatra, our perfectly imperfect genetic combinations.

Q…

I know. It was 2020 and dumb names for kids were all the rage. I suppose, come to think, those names would be another regret.

 

*Thank you for using HeadstoneHologram©. Your World Bank account has added two working days until you are permitted to die.*

 

 

 

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Second Opinion

I feel fine. What does he know—he’s just a doctor.

 

Yeah, Dr. Townsend, I know I’m not eighteen. Don’t patronize me. But listen when I say I’m good, and whole-heart-edly disagree with your high blood pressure diagnosis.

 

Ha! God, I’m so clever.

 

“It’s green; fucking go, moron!”

 

We know, Dr. Townsend—Johns Hopkins Medical School and a residency at Mass General. Yes, you’re very bright, and very wonderful, and very good at mentioning your credentials. Let me ask you this, though, how do you know me better than I know me?

 

At thirty I actually feel better. My weight’s been level, exactly proportionate to my age. No decline in my appetite, nor my sexual appetite. Exercise has stayed non-existent. My metabolism and Adderall benders have been up for the challenge.

 

“Turn signal! Oh, fuck me? Go suck a hot bowl of shit.”

 

Dr. Townsend. What does he really know? I should have told him to his face I wanted a second opinion—preferably an opinion that wouldn’t leave me self-conscious or thinking I needed to change anything about myself.

 

He’s polite. He’s chatty. I guess we sort of have become friends over six years of checkups and physicals. Really, this is the first diagnosis where I’ve disagreed. And, I suppose, it’s also the first time he’s ever been critical.

 

I don’t know. I don’t always trust his judgment. He said he prefers coffee from Speedway, and once I saw him wear brown socks with black slacks. Also, why do the computers at his practice run on Linux?

 

“Stay in your lane and put down the fucking phone—no, no, no, you go die in a fire!”

 

Dr. Townsend. I just don’t know. When I’m ask you about The Wire, don’t cut me off to talk about The Shield.

 

“Oh, go ahead. Look at me like I’m the asshole.”

 

Sure, it’s his medical opinion. Though another one of his other opinions was that “No one did Batman as well as Clooney.” He’s still convinced the Knicks got it right with Carmelo. And he prefers the Johnny Depp Wonka to Gene Wilder.

 

Carmelo. Ha! That moron.

 

Yeah, I know me—and I know you get a second opinion when you don’t like the first one. Six years. Oh-ver-due.

 

Once I get home I’ll find a new primary care provider.

 

Right after I have a cigar in my hot tub.

 

 

 

 

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