Nerve Classics

Inbox

Pin it

inbox
Date: March 3, 2033
From: Thelma Hughes
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: Still vibrating

What a night! I suppose I should have listened to Melanie about dating younger men. You were a stallion!

So, tell me the truth, now: pills or nano? I promise not to tell the girls at the club.

-Thel

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Ziggy Stanton
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: Good morning!

So? Was she everything I said? Did she do the thing with her gums? There’s something to be said for a woman who refuses bridgework, eh?

Respond, respond, you oversexed young fuck. And welcome to the Village.

Ziggy

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Century Village Daily
To: All
Subject: Wednesday Schedule

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Morning social hour at the cabanas

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Breakfast with Bill (he’s going to show us how to use syrup)

10:30 – noon: Classes
Wheelchair Tantra – poolside
Pickup lines workshop
Coping with nano-decay

Noon – 1p.m.: Soft lunch in the dining room
Burgers and corn-on-the-cob – clubhouse patio

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Round robin

4 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Treatments, implant repair

7 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Dinner trip to TGIF (we have the back room again!)

Call the office in advance to reserve an aide at any event.

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Tally Stern
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: last try

Okay, so I Googled you last night even though I promised I wouldn’t. But you haven’t emailed in a week so I figured all bets were off.

Why didn’t you just tell me you were 75? I mean, it’s not like I’m looking for a serious relationship now, anyway. When you didn’t know your way around campus I guessed you were an over-40, anyway. And I’m open-minded. I mean, my parents probably wouldn’t want me going out with someone older than them. Or than their parents, probably. But they just don’t get it. With nano, it’s just a number, right?

I should’ve figured it out when I saw those White Stripes songs in your playlist. But lots of people my age listen to oldies, too. I mean, people really rocked back then, too. They had war and everything to think about.

Or is it me? Just write back, okay? Don’t discriminate because of my age. You wouldn’t have wanted me to fake it, would you? Besides, I’ve got to learn, somehow, don’t I?

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Spring Street Personals
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: Daily Stats

Hi Mark!

Here’s a daily status report for March 2, 2033, from your friends at Spring Street Personals.

Your main page views: 143
Bio click-throughs: 71
Photo downloads: 18
Average visitor duration: 180 sec
Sendmail link: 19 messages waiting
Average visitor age: 58
Median visitor age: 81

Based on our proprietary algorithm’s assessment of your profile against your stated objectives, we suggest you replace the word “studly” with “masculine,” and the phrase “a real good time” with “memorable evening.” And remember, leaving the medical history section blank costs members an average 25% decline in total responses.

Happy hunting!

The Spring Street Team

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Dr. Greenblatt
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: Your appointment

Just a reminder that your next appointment is this Friday at 4 p.m. As a courtesy, please refrain from ejaculation for at least two hours before you see the doctor.

Sincerely,

Nurse Stilton

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Thelma Hughes
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: one more thing

I promised myself I wasn’t going to write again tonight, but those lubricating pills make me a little jittery and there’s nothing on TV.

I keep thinking about what you were saying. About the way your grandson looks at you differently since your change. And I think you really have to tell him to stick it. He sounds like a neo-Puritan to me. Sexual identity aside, when you realize you’re going to live another 70 or 80 years (unless they figure out a solution to nano-decay, in which case the sky’s the limit) why *not* do your second half from the other side?

And from my point of view, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m feeling like the lucky beneficiary of your many years of experience on this side of the tennis court.

-Thel

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Natalie Johnson
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: Dad

Dear Mom,

Dad’s getting worse, and we all think it would be a good idea if you came up to see him. I know you never quite forgave him for his decision not to augment, but I also know you still love him in your way.

They’re keeping him comfortable, in a virtual coma, but he’s still responding really well to holo-visitors and I know it would mean the world to him to see you one more time.

The kids miss you, too, and don’t worry — Norman is away on business.

Love,

Natalie

Date: March 3, 2033
From: Cybonics Corporation
To: Mark Johnson
Subject: Serial numbers 102223a-21000d

Dear Mr. Johnson,

By order of the Food and Drug Administration, your penis has been recalled.

A limited number of units of the Admiral Series II (retractable and convertible models) have been shown to induce nano-decay in both the testicular and former cervical regions.

Please call the 800 number on the bottom of your charger to schedule an appointment for evaluation and, if necessary, replacement.

We are sorry for any inconvenience or distress this may cause, and assure you that we are doing everything to ensure the safety, comfort and pleasure of our subscribers.

Sam Tarnower
Communications Director
Cybonics Corporation
Cybonics: “Seventy is the New Thirty” ™

Douglas Rushkoff is the author of “Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out,” and the Vertigo serialized graphic novel, Testament. He founded the Narrative Lab at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

This short story originally ran in 2006.