Comfortably numb

“Thanks so much for taking the time to visit me, Lindsay.”

“No problem at all, Sally. What’s up?”

“Oh, Lindsay, everything in my life has gone haywire! Last month my dad got laid off and I still don’t have my financial aid situation worked out yet. Then my car broke down on Saturday and so I have to figure out how to move back into the dorms and I just feel totally overwhelmed with classes starting back up, and then to top it off, Phil-he-“

“Spit it out, Sal.”

“He broke up with me! Oh, God, I just can’t take it. He says I’m too high maintenance. I just feel so lonely, like I’m never going to find another guy like him again.”

“Well, to be frank, Sally, he’s absolutely right. You’re an emotional train wreck. I’d dump you in the blink of an eye. You bite your nails, you cry all the time. Hello? Moody! You’ve got too much personality. What guy in his right mind would want to go out with a walking catastrophe like you?”

“Oh, Lindsay, you’re right. It just doesn’t seem fair. You always seem happy, and all the guys are crazy for you. I wish I could be more like you!”

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“Maybe you can be, Sal. You see, just a couple years ago I was a smoldering psychological disaster area just like yourself. One minute I would be happy, then the next moment I’d be all sad and stuff. Sometimes I’d feel angry or shy. So confusing! Then my doctor told me I might be suffering from Chronic Affective State Syndrome or CASS.”

“What’s CASS?”

“Scientists have known about it for years. Its official medical name is emoticus presentus, but it’s commonly referred to as ‘having feelings.’ My doctor explained that feelings are just, like, totally outmoded. Sooo twentieth century. All they do is get in your way!”

“Oh, Lindsay, that sounds just like me! I have feelings all the time! But what can I do about it?”

“There’s a simple answer, Sal, thanks to the great folks at Murkk Pharmaceuticals. It’s thanks to them that we have Zombinol, a simple psychotropic pill that completely wipes out the emotional part of your brain so you’ll never have to worry about feeling angry or sad or frightened again. The only emotional state you’re capable of is a vague, benumbed sense of contentment. Why, I’ve been taking Zombinol for two years now, and life has been as smooth as skating over a lake of creamy tapioca pudding.”

“And it helps make you attractive to boys?”

“Well, duh! Boys are shallow as inflatable kiddie pools. No boy wants to go out with a girl who’s all emotionally complicated and stuff. It distracts them from what they’re really interested in. With Zombinol, you become the sort of walking, dimple-cheeked manikin boys can’t get enough of.”

“Golly, Lindsay, that sounds too good to be true! But is Zombinol for me?”

“Of course it is, Sally. Not only does it solve all your problems, but its only side effects are drowsiness, grogginess, slight nausea, dizzy spells, unpredictable itching, mild dandruff, excessive mucous production, spontaneous internal bleeding, sporadic radioactivity, intracranial pustule formation, implosive diarrhea, uncontrollable seizures, ocular wart formation, occasional hallucinations, brittle fingernails, wandering spleen, convulsive uvula disorder, running sores, unexpected heart attack, copious sweating and athlete’s foot.”

“Sounds like a small price to pay!”

“And thanks to the powerful lobbying efforts of Murkk Pharmaceuticals, Zombinol is now available without a prescription in pill form and chewable tablets for children. Get ready to kiss all your crises goodbye!”

“Wow! With the help of Zombinol, this is going to be the greatest school year ever! How can I ever begin to thank you?”

“Don’t thank me, Sally. Thank the people at Murkk Pharmaceuticals. Remember their motto: ‘We care so you won’t have to.'”