Reading duration: medium
Today’s client is a middle-aged man, heading into his sixties.
He is short, very thin, short hair with a very big nose.
He is calm, and certainly hopeful. He is waiting for me with patience; he is used to it I guess.
I enter the room.
<<Hi.>> I greet him.
<<Hello! Good morning.>> he answers standing up.
We shake hands and sit in our seats.
<<Yes.>> he smiles <<Today is the big day. I will lose … a piece of brain!>> and chuckles nervously.
<<Not really. You will not lose a physical piece of your brain, but a function of him.>>
<<The most important one.>> he adds.
<<Maybe.>> I take out a sheet of paper and show it to him <<So… for legal reasons you must have a good personal motivation to do this. I know you have already given them in writing, but as you well know we have to do this little recorded interview.>>
<<Yes, I know. >> he nods, rereading the sheet that he already should know.
<<Good. So … tell me what it is that pushed you to want to make such a choice. I’m all ears.>> I take a pen and my notebook, ready to write some notes.
<<Well …>> he gives a long sigh <<where to start? I’m … 54 years old. And I’m single.>>
<<How long have you been single?>>
A bitter half smile escapes him <<Always.>> is the answer <<Never engaged. Never kissed a woman. Or a man, if that matter.>>
<<I understand. But you want to do it, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t have made this request.>>
<<Exactly. I would like to do it. I’ve tried … countless times. I tried as a child. As a kid. When I was a teen. As an adult. Now that I’m old I don’t want to try anymore though. But I don’t want to have any regrets either. In the end, I did what I could. If I have done something wrong it is right that I remain alone … but I don’t want to suffer from loneliness. I don’t want to suffer anymore, I’m tired. I can’t ask to be born rich. I can’t ask to be born beautiful. I can’t ask to be born smart or talented at anything. But at least I can ask not to suffer, and therefore … I ask this.>>
I nod <<This operation will remove all sexual and sentimental urges towards other animals and objects. In short, it will remove fetishes, fantasies, desires, wills and dreams related to the sexual and sentimental sphere from your brain. BUT it will not deprive you of the possibility of living such experiences, which means that if you ever find the right woman, maybe your first kiss could still arrive. But until then you will no longer suffer from sentimental situations.>>
He gives a half smile <<But how does it work?>> asks <<Will I become a sort of … zombie?>>
<<No, no. I’ll explain it. Love, orgasms … all these beautiful things originate from the brain. They exist to encourage humans to procreate, this is their ultimate goal, and that’s why having sexual relationships feels so good … because the brain rewards humans for achieving that goal.>>
<<I understand. But what this operation will change?>>
<<It will change that goal. In a nutshell … imagine having a list of “missions” in your brain. The first is “procreate,” and this is what gives the most rewards. Serotonin, oxytocin, self-esteem, testosterone, dopamine … many beautiful things. Got it?>>
<<“Eating”, for example, is on this list. But it is a very simple mission, so it has few rewards. Got it?>>
<<Good. What are we going to do, so? We will remove the mission “procreate” from this list.>>
<<And this will allow me to be happy?>>
<<No. But it will prevent you from being sad due to the fact that you’re single.>> I explain <<You now suffer from a slight depression. You feel incomplete because most of the men your age have had at least one love affair. You feel somewhat inferior to them. You feel like you’re missing something. You feel alone, even when you are with relatives or friends. You feel unmotivated, as if you have no reason to continue living. After all, your ultimate mission is to “procreate”, but it is also something you cannot do. What is the point of continuing to live then? You, being an animal, live only to keep the bloodline going. And since you are not able to do it, you have no reason to keep living. That’s how your brain thinks, and that’s why you feel so depressed now.>> I explain to him <<But by removing this “mission” all these negative thoughts will vanish. Think for example about testosterone. You have a certain age now, but think about this. Males who have regular sexual activity produce much more testosterone than those who don’t. Do you know why? >>
<<Because … the brain rewards them?>>
<<Exactly! Obviously it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the basis. But do you know what this means?>>
<<It means that it is the brain that generates testosterone. It produces it, it doesn’t come from outside. It comes from within. Same thing goes for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin … all of these things come from within, but are only produced as a “reward”. This means that you, having never kissed anyone, have never experienced that “magical” feeling that for many is normal and common. Never. But if we make sure that the brain gives you the reward even if you have not completed the mission, then>>
<<Then I’ll feel it!>> he exclaims.
<<Exactly. You will know what it feels like to kiss someone even without having to kiss them for real.>>
<<Yeah.>> I smile <<By removing the mission to procreate from your brain, we will increase the rewards to all the other missions automatically. Which means that eating will become more beautiful. Sleeping will become more beautiful. Talking to friends, watching a movie, reading, following your passions and interests … suddenly you will start to feel a sense of fullness, of happiness, of wholeness … Basically you will again have a reason to live. More than one.>>
<<Wow. But … uh … a bit stupid question, but>>
<<Orgasm?>> I guess, and he smiles guilty.
<<Exactly, yes. That. What happens with orgasm?>>
<<Tell me, does orgasm depend on the genital organ?>>
<<Er … yes? But I guess not, otherwise the question would be too easy.>>
<<Exactly. No. I mean … now, yes. But think about women. When they are raped they don’t feel orgasm, do they?>>
<<Because it is the brain that decides when to cause one and when to not. Because even that is nothing more than a reward. And that too is one of the rewards that will be given with other missions.>>
<<We had a case like yours in the past. Many actually. The client in question was an artist. And guess what?>>
<<He started having orgasms while … making art? >>
I chuckle <<Exactly. He didn’t wet his pants like a child, but … he was a drawer, and when he drew something really beautiful he would orgasm. He also started masturbating thinking about drawing something beautiful … and drawing itself became a bit like the active sexual operation, pleasant but a little tiring.>>
<<Yes. It is strange for sure. Impossible for a normal person to understand.>>
<<And this guy here … is he happy now?>>
<<I do not know if he is happy or not. Humans are difficult creatures to make happy. But he for sure no longer has sentimental problems. Now when he wants to have sex, he just needs to draw. He no longer depends on either women or men. He is … “free” from a certain point of view. His happiness now depends only on him. There is no one he has to please and no one he has to chase. But he is still a human, and therefore …>>
<<Yes.>> I sigh <<He will have his problems.>>
<<Exactly. And drawing is not easy. During the periodic check-ups he tells us that sometimes he finds himself envying the best drawers in the world, especially if they are younger than him or have a natural talent. He tells us that he always goes in search of the best pencil and the finest paper. He tells us that sometimes he masturbates while seeing other people draw, and that he now enjoys receiving compliments for his drawings. In short, the competition has only changed ground, but it is always there.>>
<<But at least it’s not impossible.>>
I nod <<Right. At least it’s not impossible.>>
<<And what about the other things? Dopamine? And… ehm… testosterone?>>
<<He produces testosterone by drawing. In fact, he has improved a lot physically. He also has a much more solid health. He smiles a lot more. He keeps himself fit. And he lives with the specific intention of becoming the best drawer in the world, because this is now his main mission. Other humans have to procreate. He has to draw.>>
<<Okay. That’s fine by me. But this operation will also remove the other negative thoughts?>>
<<Oh yes. The feeling of inadequacy you feel when you talk to married men will disappear, because that will no longer be your yardstick. The envy for men more handsome? It will disappear too, because beauty will no longer help you to get what you want. The shyness and nervousness you have while talking to women? That will disappear too, because they will no longer have any value to you. You will see men and women alike.>>
<<Will I still have friends?>>
<<Certainly. But I advise against engaging in sexual activities with them, not even for curiosity. Do you remember the rape story? Well… without those magical brain rewards, using your genital organ won’t be pleasant at all. It will be very painful.>>
<<So I will have to use it only to go to the bathroom.>> laughs the man with a bit of nervousness.
<<Exactly. It should not do anything else.>>
<<And … I will still be able to feel love, right?>>
<<Sure. You could even find love!>>
<<You mean … a woman?>> he asks, and I nod <<But how? If I no longer want to have sex, how can I>>
<<Didn’t you love your mother or father?>>
<<Well, yes …>>
<<But you didn’t want to have sex with them, did you?>>
<<Exactly. Love is more than sex. You will not actively seek it, nor will you feel “alone” as a single man, and since you will no longer want to procreate the presence of a woman in your life it will be completely superfluous and useless. You won’t want it. You won’t even think about it. But you might find someone to get attached to someday. Someone who will be worth living a little longer for. Someone to grow old with. Maybe a man, who knows. Or maybe an animal. You’ll be completely asexual after all. So yes, you could find this person, this “soul mate” … and in that case you will love it, not sexually but sentimentally.>>
<<I will love it like a brother.>> he says.
<<Exactly. Like a brother.>>
He smiles <<Okay.>>
<<There is … something else you want to tell me? Any episode or particular person to cancel from your memory?>>
He thinks about it for a moment, then shrugs <<Bah … after almost sixty years of life I think that erasing someone from my memory is useless. I will probably have Alzheimer’s soon, so I’ll do it by myself, and it will be free!>> and having said that he laughs, always with a hint of nervousness <<Wanting to be serious… no. Every experience I’ve had is worth it, and besides… I’ve never met bad people. Every one of them were great. Some memories are painful though.>>
<<Yeah … two in particular. One is about a dear, dear old friend of mine. I have known him since kindergarten. At thirteen we went on vacation together, like all the other years, but one day something new happened. He didn’t spend the playing day with me. No. He spent it with a little girl. He ended up kissing her, for fun or curiosity. Things have changed since that day. At school he made new friends, he found people to go out with his new girlfriend … people definitely better than me. We have remained friends over time because we had too much in common, but … you know … I couldn’t continue being his “best friend”.>>
<<What happened to him?>>
<<Oh, he’s dead.>> is the answer <<Death doesn’t care if you are good looking or ugly. She is like Luck, blind. >> and he starts laughing <<Which is unlucky paradoxically, because if she could see how ugly I am I would become immortal! >> and he smiles again, and after regaining composure he returns to reflect on his past<<And then there is … her.>>
<<A beautiful, beautiful girl I met at university. I’ve never aimed at beautiful girls, because… well, I’m not stupid. I was always aiming at the ugly ones, but it never worked. But this girl was super friendly with me. Super sweet. We talked a lot and in the end I had the courage to invite her out. She accepted. We ate out together, alone, many times. But …>> sighs <<guess?>>
<<She was just a friend.>> I guess.
<<Oh yes. I left her a flower once. As a surprise.>> he hits himself on the head <<How stupid. A flower … I deserved the death penalty for that. But she didn’t laugh at me, at least. She politely refused me. And we remained friends until the end of university. Then … each one on his way.>>
<<Have you ever seen her again?>>
<<Years later. On a street. She was hand in hand with a man in a military suit. Tall, muscular, handsome … And she was holding a little boy with the other hand, a kid who was as tall as me. Her son probably.>>
<<What did you tell her? >> I ask, referring to the woman.
<<Nothing. She didn’t remember me. I was evaporated from her mind … such is my weight.>> he answers with a light and bitter smile <<But … it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to forget her beautiful brown hair. Her beautiful smile. I don’t even want to forget my old friend and the days we spent together as children. No… I don’t want to forget anything. I am a loser. I have already lost so much in life. I don’t want to lose this memories too.>>
<<But, in the end>> he says, recovering from his bad mood <<I’m lucky. Now I’m here, afterall! I have survived so far! And technology has made great strides! So… yes, I’m not complaining. I could have been born twenty years earlier, and never get here today. I could have been born a hundred years ago, and die of smallpox! I could have been born in a nation at war … I could have been born sick … many things could happen. >>
<<Yeah, it could have been worse.>>
<<Exactly! So why complain? And now that I’m going to do this, who knows … maybe I’ll have orgasms too while drawing, huh? I will finally know what my friend felt forty years ago.>> and he smiles <<A little late but … better late than never, right? Maybe now we could be friends again.>> swallows slightly <<Who knows …>>
<<Who knows.>> I echo him, finishing writing the notes <<Well … I have everything I need. Are you ready?>>
<<Then let’s go.>>