Thursday, May 17, 2012

Too Much Sunshine Makes a Desert

I need a neuralizer. 

I need an FDA-approved neuralizer, like the one agents “J” and “K” used in “Men in Black.”  For official use whenever a citizen had an inconvenient memory of an alien encounter, J and K broke out their flashy thingy and rewrote recent history.  A burst of light.  A pause.  An unsuspecting citizen suspended in time.  A monologue creating new “memories” to replace the problematic particulars of a sticky situation. 

Will Smith, “J,” Man-in-Black-in-training, first observed the power of the neuralizer when he saw his mentor, “K,” played by Tommy Lee Jones, freeze a woman in her funky farm house, and tell her that despite what she just saw, her husband hadn’t been transformed into a giant cockroach.  No extraterrestrial invasion occurred.  It was swamp gas.  She was going to wake up husbandless and happy. 

I could use a gadget like that.   

No, I’m not saying I want to wake up without my husband! 

I’m saying I wouldn't mind eradicating a few embarrassing episodes from the serial sit-com of my life.  You see, I’m a blurter.  Blurters mean well, but live with regrets.  Sometimes stuff just pops out and survives with the stamina of a Galapagos turtle.  We’d like to expunge that stuff from our permanent records. 

That’s why I paid particular attention to a recent breakthrough in medical technology.  Scientific American reports the development of a new drug that can erase toxic memories.  An honest-to-goodness, real life, medical miracle.  Because it creates a spotless mind, a mind unencumbered by the debilitating and ugly, they’ve dubbed it “Eternal Sunshine.”   

In a more mundane application, for the socially inept, it could be our neuralizer.  It could free us blurters from awkward circumstances of our own creation.  Oh yes.  If we can’t have an MIB neuralizer, blurters will pay for Eternal Sunshine.  

Not that I have big bouts of blurting and its concomitant remorse.  I haven’t blurted anything in quite a while.  Not since I went shopping with my good friend and her friend whom I’d only just met.  I let it slip that the belted wrap-around sweater the newly met was about to spend $100 on looked like a bathrobe.  A blurt.  It just floated in the fitting room!   

I know.  I shouldn’t have said it.  She was smiling and twirling in the three-way mirror.  She loved that thing.  I think its color was “Purina.”  

She felt good even though all she needed to complete the ambiance was red lipstick, pink spongy curlers, and a cigarette.   

You could argue I did her a favor.  I jolted her back to reality.  But it was my reality.  That’s the trouble with blurters.  We speak our own truths.  She could afford the sweater, and it made her happy.  But after my blurt, she put it back on the rack.  I ruined it for her.  

I wish I could take back that blurt.  If only I could erase that uncomfortable moment from her mind.  She’d wear that chenille shroud with pride, and all would be well with the world. 

If only I could get my hands on a few doses of Eternal Sunshine!  All my blurty wise cracks could be obliterated from the minds of the people I truly love, who no doubt shake their heads and speculate about my upbringing. 

But of course, Eternal Sunshine will never be available over-the-counter.  Even prescriptions would likely be single dose.  Blurters couldn’t be trusted with a bottle full.  We’d go around wiping out all our gaffes and helping others to positive opinions of ourselves.  We’d station sunny memories in the minds of all those whom we’ve annoyed.  Some of us might pick a pocket just to see the victim smile and say, “Thank you.” 

Blurters’ demand for Eternal Sunshine could fuel a large-scale black market.  Criminals would rub out the consciousness of their crimes from the hounds of law enforcement.  Teenagers would remove the indiscretions of their Facebook pages from their parents’ recollection.  Recreational use of the conscience cleaner could spur another sexual revolution. 

The guilt-laden would self-diagnose and self-medicate.  Moms would eradicate their own perceived parenting faux pas.  Eighth graders would no longer suffer the painful memory of being picked last for kick ball. 

You might say, “Hooray!  We’ll be so innocent and happy!”  But blurters beware.  

All things in moderation, the saying goes.  Too much sunshine makes a desert.