A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

21C

21C

“I can’t concentrate, I’m so worried, everything is just too much for me. What can I do? How can you help me? I need an answer now. Please help me.”

“ If you have been experiencing these symptoms such as excessive worry, for six months or more you could be suffering from what we call generalised anxiety disorder,” replied the soothing female voice.

Judy removed the headphones and clicked the ‘Disconnect’ button on her browser. Should she go the next step and place an order for the ‘new red pill that was working miracles across North America” or should she go see or doctor, or, as her boyfriend increasingly said ‘get a life.’

The diagnosis via the Internet, had come as something of a relief. Being diagnosed with a disorder meant that there was a drug available that could fix it. It was so twenty first century. Judy had been hearing that phrase a lot lately. As the new millennium had rolled around the next hundred years were being looked at as a sort of celebration that we had made what historians were calling the darkest hundred years in out history. Judy couldn’t quite understand where that came from when she thought about phrases such as the Dark Ages, The Hundred Years War, The plague Years, Medieval Times, but hey, its was so 21C to think in this way. Fads were cool  things. They connected you to others on the planet in a way that nothing else matched.  Fourteen year olds with cellphones on fold-up scooters, extreme meteorological events (the hottest summer on record, the largest earthquake for one hundred years, biggest floods since records started in 1930), international superheroes. The Tiger Woods, with his easy wealth and unquestioned skill, Marion Jones, a female clone of Woods, Pistol Pete Sampras, all gave us 21C credible figures who seemingly effortlessly conquered the world. You could do it too. If you were as talented, American, and wealthy.

The radio-news, now coming through the digital television channel, bleated out from the corner of the room. “The Dow-Jones is up 0.5 and the NASDAQ is also slightly up. Forecast highs for the end of the week look right on target. Twenty Palestine terrorists have been machine gunned in renewed fighting with Israeli soldiers. Suzanne Summers is again pregnant and is reported to be delirious with the good news. Tomorrow, expect an all time fall in the NZ dollar.” It was all presented in a bland, sing-song voice that differed marginally from the announcement in the supermarket, “Beverly to lane 3, Beverly to lane 3,” or the lift, “welcome to the third floor, please alight.”, or the telephone banking line, “you have reached the BNZ telephone banking. Thank you for visiting today, For an account summary press1, for transaction list, press2, for transferring funds, press 3.””It was so 21C. You could conduct your whole life form your bed. In a sense, the shut-ins had won. Now you lead a more normal life if you just stayed in bed all day. An artificial tan form the tanning machine took care of how you8r skin looked on your rare excursions out into the real world, pills took care of the rest. With the choice of over a hundred TV and Cable channels, and the Internet, you were pretty much at one with the world. So 21C.

Judy had to have those little red pills but there was a barrier. She found she couldn’t just order them over the Net. She had to see a real person. A doctor. Her doctor.

“Judy,” her doctor said in his calming bedside manner language that drove Judy up the wall, “you can’t just take a pill for everything that’s wrong with you. Think if that was the case you would be swallowing dozens of pills a day.” Judy pictured her bedside table, which did contain an alarming array of bottles, potions, and cures.

“But they work. I went to the counsellor you recommend when I was feeling depressed and after three weeks I didn’t feel any different. One week of Prozac and I was a new person. I went to that physiotherapist you recommended for my back and nada, zip. One day of the pills and my back was pain free.”

The doctor shrugged his shoulders. These day’s people wanted instant gratification. The trouble was that Judy was right. These pills did work and they eased physical and psychological pain inn a carefree and so 21C way. The old ways were slowly being scorned. They were slow and often seemingly ineffective. People wanted results. The twenty first century was all about results. No more namby-pamby maybes or rest assureds. People wanted certainty. He wrote out the prescription for the anti-anxiety medication.

“Just watch the side effects. You may experience nausea, breathlessness, mild stomach pain, and occasional diahorrea.” He thought quietly to himself which he would prefer. The side effects or the anxiety.

There had been a story circulating that possibly could have been an Urban Myth. A young man, who had been blind since birth, was halfway through his undergraduate degree in Political and Social Anthropology. His marks had been exemplary, in the top third of all of his classes. The University had provided him with all the aids that he was entitled to under the Equal Opportunities Legislation. He had lecturer recorders, brailed notes, special computers, am exam reader, and extra time and resources to carry out his assignments. Then he discovered a new treatment combination of laser surgery and a new wonder drug made from a previously undiscovered plant in the South American jungle. The treatment was very expensive but he had a better than fifty percent chance of having good vision. He opted for the treatment. He took a year from his studies and, after some anxious moments and extensive rehabilitation, he returned to his studies. His grades fell. He suffered enormous setbacks. Where previously he had been able to fathom the complexities of his subjects he now found that it was a sea of confusion. He sank from an A student to just passing. He became depressed and tried suicide as an option out of this terrible situation. Without the continual other voice in his studies he found that he could not mobilise his own inner voice to assimilate information. He actively campaigned against miracle treatments to reverse long standing disabilities. So 21C.

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