Lately this feeling or maybe it’s a thought what’s the difference great another thing to think about add it to the list. Hard. To feel. Sure about anything it’s in the CUPBOARD. NEXT TO THE MOUTHWASH. Can she not hear me why can’t she hear me DID YOU FIND IT?
This thought-feeling or whatever can’t quite grasp it yet but has something to do with IT’S IN THE CUPBOARD is she messing with me? The CUPBOARD, next to the MOUTHWASH she’s messing with me NO, HONEY, SORRY, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE THIS THING? SURE I CAN PACK THE LUNCHES TODAY why can’t she just pack the lunches today why do you have to do everything? Allison needs her CLARINET TODAY OK just WAIT A MINUTE OK TRYING to use THE THING. From THE COMPANY, YES.
OK, is this even working says it’s working doesn’t feel like it. Plug this in here and that thing goes there supposed to see a flashing green light and … nothing HUH OK maybe the other port. This kind of thing never. The first completely hands-free, direct interface for such and such oh duh you’re a dum-dum that’s why. It’s not even on. Where’s the switch is that it this PIECE OF CRAP doesn’t even–
Welcome to SubText(R)
Please wait while we sync with your subconscious.
BEGIN SESSION TRANSCRIPT:
>> 7:22 am
> Oh shit it’s working? It’s working you just thought that and that’s the thing you thought there it is, on the screen WHOA hmm that’s a weird font you hate that font you didn’t even realize you hated that font until you saw that you hated that font. Now you can see yourself realizing that in real time how much you hate that font which makes you sort of hate it … less? That’s how your brain works you don’t care about what you think but sometimes you do care but only if you know what you think and this way you see what you think about something and no way. Yes way. No way. But you do. But did you? You don’t know. This is weird this is scary this is weird and a little scary.
> Maybe you should change the interface so you don’t have to read your thoughts unless you want to–
> Drop-down menu. Options. View thought feed.
— Only When Refreshed
> Only When Refreshed. So you have CRAP
> CRAPCRAPCRAP YOU’RE LATE FOR WORK CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP.
>> 7:55 am
> You’re always late you’re not good enough they’re going to fire you everyone hates you. They’re going to fire you because everyone hates you and because everyone hates you after you’re fired they’re going to have a party. A hate party to celebrate their collective shared passion of having hate for you. You’re even more late now they’re probably all at work already talking about you having coffee and talking about you and flirting with each other over coffee and sipping coffee while savoring the taste in their mouths the taste of hate for you.
> You know what who cares who cares if you’re late you’re underpaid. You’re like 20 percent underpaid this is you time you should take off your pants and just lie here until you feel like getting back up go ahead, take ’em off. That was the garage door the garage door means Grace and kids off to school you’re alone you can take the pants off and see what happens from there you’re going to die. We’re all going to die someday. Wait a minute this is self-sabotage that’s what you’re doing. Now you really are going to be late you’re going to get fired you’re going to get fired the day you were planning to quit.
> Today’s the day what are you doing you’re supposed to quit today? You’re going to die someday. Take off your pants. Go to work. Quit your job. You’ll crash and burn. No you won’t.
> Maybe you shouldn’t be thinking about all this what if this stuff is discoverable? What if employers have a right to see this stuff? SubText is still in beta oh shit oh shit oh shit you can’t scrub it. It’s probably going directly to someone in product dev who’s mining the data you idiot. You moron. Wait no maybe it’s OK maybe they can’t use this against you all kinds of ethical and legal reasons. Calm down you’re a lawyer you’re not a very good one but hey.
>> 8:01 am
> Coffee tastes good you appreciate the opportunity blah blah blah you are so grateful for the opportunity been such a tremendous growth experience coffee so good.
> They never appreciated you also they might be a little bit racist you’re probably a little bit racist no you’re not yes you are but way less racist than they are you’re definitely sexist.
> Even though you don’t want to be you shouldn’t look at her that way don’t do it it’s traffic it’s dangerous coffee tastes good even bad coffee is good. You’re a cheater. You’ve always been a cheater. You’re not a good person. You’re going to mess it up. Pop-Tart would be good with this Pop-Tarts are so good.
> INTERNAL MEMO TO SELF
> To-do list
> Review new slides for branding and internal messaging.
> Approve customer service scripts.
> Stop checking out other women so much.
> That’s bad
That’s not really that bad
In the grand scheme
> Come on dude
Work sleep eat die
> Stop. Stop.
This is not helpful
>> 8:37 am
> Don’t think and drive dangerous try the radio classical admit it: You have no idea you don’t know anything about classical music or jazz oh come on who are you trying to impress? Jazz. As if just NPR OK NPR fighting continues for another day, with insurgents intensifying attacks on an already ravaged part of the city. What fighting where over there that’s far admit you’re never going over there you’re not going to learn that second language if you just had more time you could learn that second language you could be a better oh here is an email Meeting Request: 4:30 All-Hands. All-hands at end of day. Hmm. You figure you know what that means. And now, look: Google Alert. Rumors, swirling. As they do. Your company on the block. Fighting continues for another day, with insurgents intensifying attacks on an already ravaged part of the city. The news on a loop or is it maybe this is another day another ravaged city turn off the radio silence is terrifying admit it you’re terrified no don’t. Push it back down down into the pit of your stomach let it stay there where it lives.
>> 10:14 am
> Ping Ooh, that’s a good little spurt of serotonin. INCOMING MESSAGE Someone in the outside world is thinking of you look at the name don’t look at the name you have to pee look at it.
> It’s her.
> Drinks tonight?
> Are you really seeing this did you just will that to happen? Of all the people in the company the one you’ve been imagining drinks with oh, hey oh hi oh, funny running into you here. And then, just like that. Ping Oh that feels good maybe this is going to be a good day maybe this is going to be the best day of all time maybe this is how it starts and it just keeps going on from here up and up and up because why? Because why not? Why not you, why not now?
>> 10:16 am
> Not because of her no, not that you’re not really going to do anything of course of course not. She’s young too young a little too cool for you. It’s more like you’re married you idiot you love your wife this is harmless this is everything. You’re dumb. You’re human. You’re dumb. You have to pee again this is bad you should probably see a urologist about this or there was a commercial for the medicine for this you are now a guy who just has to pee every hour. More rumors bidders circling a couple of strategics some interest from private equity. The hell. Of course. Nothing by accident. Today’s the day. Could be getting a nice payday. Options vested. Could also be getting the ax. Why not just wait? Will that feel different? The big jewel of the sale. The company’s new SubText(R) product, now believed to be in beta testing.
> SubText(R): Striving to be the industry thought leader for all your subconscious needs.
> Some of the tech, ethical, legal, and business issues it would raise …
> “Maria, imagine if you could see a text of your own subconscious … the possibilities for monetization, capturing value there …”
> SubText(R): We know what you want. Even if you don’t.
> What if your feed gets hacked how do you know it hasn’t already what if Grace saw this? Or the kids? They would know who their dad is they would know they do already they don’t need the feed to know they can see it. Don’t you want to be the person they think you are?
>> 17 pm
> Do people have sex in elevators or is that only on cable? What is this song this song is terrible you hate this song also you kind of like this song. Sex. Sex. Sex. This song is making you think about sex. You need to get out of this elevator.
> Mental note: Call IT to see if they can erase history. Sexy sex stuff.
> PING. Incoming message.
INTERNAL COMPANY MEMORANDUM
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
RE: POTENTIAL STRATEGIC TRANSACTION
> Blah blah blah. The commitment we made. Our mission and values. Driving value for stakeholders. That’s why today.
> Is the day you need to change your life you walk in there don’t chicken out don’t freak out don’t do the thing you always do which is think too much. You’re overthinking. You know you are. Meeting at 4:30. All-hands. In the stadium. This is the big one end of day, all-hands, big room.
> The plan was never to stay this long. You’re better than this you’re lucky you’re no good you’re better than this no you’re not. You’re a cheater you’re going to mess it up mess what up all of it your job your marriage the kids you’re going to hell so you might as well cheat anyway. Cheater. You’re not such a bad guy.
>> 2:02 pm
> Well why not I’m a contributing member of society work is work. These are cutting-edge issues who’s saying that where did that come from?
> The ultimate frontier not to know what we know privacy from ourselves privacy from knowing too much about ourselves. Actions versus thoughts.
> Ping Ping Ping Emails go deep in the brain. Maybe take off your shoes ah now your socks a little meditation. Maybe go pee. Pee and then meditate then maybe yogurt. Phone. Customer service. Crap. Customer service scripts need legal review now the guy’s calling for his legal review. Let it go to voicemail. Find an empty office on four and take your laptop up there. On the day you die. If you die. When you die. On the day you die, is this what you wanted to have spent your life doing?
>> 2:19 pm
>CUSTOMER SERVICE SCRIPTS (FOR LEGAL REVIEW)
>Thank you for calling MemoRE,(R) maker of the world’s first cloud storage app for your off-site mental capacity needs. Now with a touchless interface. And coming soon, our newest product, SubText.(R) Your customer service representative will assist you shortly. We appreciate your patience. MemoRE(R): Your thoughts are our business.
> Thank you for calling MemoRE,(R) my name is ____________, how can I help you today?
> Help me. Something’s wrong. I need help.
> Great, I can help with that. First, I just need some info to better serve you today. May I have your name, please?
> I don’t have a name.
> Great. And in case we get disconnected, can I have the best phone number to reach you at?
> It’s in my head. The call is coming from inside my head.
> And what are we thinking today? [Pause for response.] Excellent, we can help you with that.
> I don’t think you understand. Something is in there. Someone.
> I’m sorry you feel that way. Your feeling has been noted and will be sent to the company. Does that sound helpful?
> That someone is me. I can’t get myself out of here.
> Great. Thanks for calling MemoRE.(R)
>> 4:21 pm
> Templates for the subconscious. Problems with the product. Customer service. Hello, yes, my subconscious is betraying me. This is what you went to law school for? Brownies. You smell brownies. SOMEONE IS MAKING POPCORN. WHO EATS POPCORN AT 4:21 IN THE AFTERNOON? WHY IS SOMEONE ALWAYS MAKING POPCORN? Tomorrow is payday. Is this what you went to law school for?
> You used to make fun of people like you actually you still do you just don’t realize you’re one of the people you make fun of. It’s the good-enough-job problem: good enough job that pays well enough but has turned you into someone you don’t like all that much.
>> 4:31 pm
> All-hands should have bagels org meetings have bagels so all-hands should have bagels.
> SubText(R) ALLOWS FOR RECURSIVE SELF-IMPROVEMENT.
> TURN ON THOUGHT EDITOR FOR MORE DETAILS.
> SEND FEEDBACK TO US. HELPING US COLLECT DATA WILL HELP US IMPROVE THE PRODUCT.
> Work-life balance what does that mean what is Work what is Life what is Balance? This is what you’re thinking about? If MemoRE gets swallowed up they’ll keep half the lawyers you’re definitely in the top half definitely probably if you’re not is that so bad? You could be on a beach you can take Grace and the kids tropical drink sand mind-eraser Grace will love you again. She loves you now. Severance one week per year is that the rule you should know you draft the agreements. Turn on SELF-IMPROVEMENT? Huh no thanks you don’t need to improve you’re just fine as is keep telling yourself that buddy keep it up and see where you end up. LAST TIME: ARE YOU SURE YOU DON’T WANT TO TURN ON SELF-IMPROVEMENT?
> Sure, why not, go for it I could go for some improvement. Can’t get worse.
>> 4:55 pm
> The CEO is kind of hot.
> SELF-IMPROVER: You can do better!
> The CEO is talking. You should listen.
> You can do better!
> The CEO is a human being with her own mind from which you can learn many things. Stop objectifying her and listen, asshole.
> … levers that will drive growth. Human capital …
> That means layoffs. You’ll be fine Grace will be fine the kids won’t go hungry. You’re safe. Safe. You always will be you aimed for the fat part of the green and you hit it and this is why. You’ve given up things too you know. Just so you don’t forget.
> Drinks tonight drinks tonight stop thinking about it stop right now you’re about to learn your professional future and you’re thinking about a flirty coworker.
> [Text back] Drinks sounds interesting. If this meeting would ever get started …
> FUCK WHY DID YOU DO THAT you’ve given up dreams you deserve a little pleasure oh God why would you do that you moron three dots means she’s typing what is wrong with you erase delete it erase erase too late.
> Winky emoji. Score. What is WRONG WITH YOU. STOP THIS NOW. YOU ARE MARRIED.
> Self-improvement needs some improvement. You seem like the same old guy.
> SELF-IMPROVEMENT IS WORKING! WE PROMISE! MORE ITERATIONS REQUIRED.
>> 5:03 pm
> Check the news fighting continues in a war-torn country. Rescue efforts to locate a child. Oh God oh God just awful don’t flick through the photos don’t do it during the all-hands.
> [Browse photos]
> Goddammit now you’re crying ever since you became a dad, you’ve become a crybaby. Commercials songs in the car in the garage just sometimes when Grace and the kids are all asleep and you kiss them and you take the dog for a pee walk and you look at the moon and think of the sleepyheads and you feel … gratitude. Genuinely overwhelmed because you don’t deserve any of it and now you are flicking through photos and losing it a little here and what is wrong with you you love them. You actually love them.
> Donate there 200 that’s a lot of money that’s why you work here. Because you can do that sort of thing. Sports. Sports sports sports. Is the CEO still talking about how much this organization means to her she is still talking we get it OK we get it. Whoever sticks around gets options cashed out but also has to clean up the mess. You don’t want to clean up these messes. Definitely not messes made by someone else but also.
> Some of these messes are your messes.
> Some of these messes will show everyone what a fraud you are.
> Get out get out now while you can clean exit. On a beach. Grace and the kids. You’re not a lawyer. You’re something else. You’re not good at this. You’re always so hard on yourself. You’re good at something. You are. You just have to remember what.
>> 5:05 pm
> Announcement: Spin-off. SubText will be its own company. Email from your boss. You’re coming with him to SpinCo. And a title bump. Congrats. Let’s talk later.
>Email from HR: Welcome to SpinCo. We are proud to offer you the enclosed compensation package for your new position. Blah blah entrusted with the task and responsibility and privilege of carrying this company forward. There will be unprecedented challenges in the months and years ahead. A new frontier in our customer interface. But we believe you’re up to the task.
> Incoming message Her again.
> Heard about your promotion. Now we have an excuse to celebrate : )
>> 5:11 pm
> Meeting wrapping up here she comes she’s going to ask about drinks. Oh God oh God you should do it you should have sex with her just once do it.
> Or duck away and hide in this bathroom stall okeydoke that works too.
> Call Grace call her now you idiot call her or text her not text. CALL HER.
> Hi sweetie. Just thinking of you. Love you. Was thinking–let’s take a trip soon. With the kids, or without. With! OK. All of us. I don’t know. No, nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong. OK, love you. Spaghetti sounds good. See you tonight.
> Today was a day.
> See you soon.
>> 6:09 pm
> Driving home is nice because you can take off your shoes.
> Things you did today:
> Reviewed customer service script. Checked emails. Flirted with her. Donated $200 to war-torn country.
> Things you did not do today:
> Learn a foreign language. Learn anything about world or US history. Do any good for anyone. Learn how to code. Learn anything about your chosen profession.
> Things you might do tomorrow:
> Quit your job. Finally.
> You’re a cheater. You’ve always been a cheater. You’re going to mess it up. Mess what up? All of it. Your job, your marriage. The kids. All of it. You’re going to hell. So you might as well cheat anyway. Cheater. You’re always so hard on yourself. You’re good at something. You are. You just have to find it. There was one game Little League game you in right field sun in your eyes your brother’s glove falling off your hand it was too big and then a deep fly ball and you stuck out your hand and everyone kind of gasped like uh-oh and then you closed your eyes and braced for the worst and then everyone was silent and you opened your eyes waiting for the worst and you looked at the ground and couldn’t find the ball and there it was in your glove.
>> 7:00 pm
>WE’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF SubText(R)!
> Limits of technology.
> The last and maybe most sacred frontier.
> Who we are. What we want. The space between thought and action.
> The space inside of a thought.
> Go home to Grace end of the day see her smiling face. You don’t know anything you don’t know anything except for this feeling and that’s working for now.
>ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO END YOUR SESSION?
Thank you for using SubText(R).
We know what you want. Do you?
Tales From an Uncertain Future