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Sunday, August 02, 2015

In the Year 2565

After decades of watching the best and the brightest in the medical profession gravitate towards cosmetic surgery, world leaders decide that something must be done. Outward appearances become so important that even patients simply in need of something to stop a runny nose are given a bit of a nip and tuck around the eyes. Of course, cold remedies are readily available over-the-counter at pharmacies but try telling that to a 70 year old hypochondriac and, truth be told, Mrs. Berkovich doesn’t look half bad with the new work. The last straw comes when a seven year old boy suffering from leukemia goes to the hospital for treatment and is instead given a truly magnificent pair of breasts and a collagen injection in the lips. The public is outraged…strangely aroused but outraged! People demand that something be done to arrest the world’s free-fall into a culture where looks are everything.

After a few years of unsuccessful policies the world court in The Hague comes up with an idea. A daily exam will be issued to every citizen of the world that must be completed by everyone and then they must wear their answer sheet around their neck for the remainder of that day. Citizens have exactly 20 minutes to complete the exam with a new subject chosen daily. On Mondays, instead of the exam, it's the New York Times crossword puzzle (at first the Friday puzzle was used but its difficulty left most people too embarrassed to leave the house in the morning). 

Every evening at 6 p.m. the subject for the next day’s exam is announced so that people can cram. The transformation of society is astonishing. Instead of “hitting the gym” after work people flock to libraries and bookstores—and not just to buy diet and exercise books like before. The entire fashion industry basically goes down the toilet and people no longer really give a crap about their looks and only care about not humiliating themselves on the morning pop quiz.  

The new edict surpasses all expectations and in only the first week a Victoria's Secret model was laughed off a city bus for her abysmal effort on that day’s exam, a map test. She tried to deflect attention from her exam by wearing a short skirt with no underwear but her fellow commuters howled with merriment at her almost complete ignorance of world geography, especially the part in which she had written “Disneyland” where everyone else on the bus had correctly scribbled “Brazil.” When asked to comment on the incident the top model stated, “I went to Disneyland when I was 10 and I remember that it was down. Right?”

The world was left no less unkind, no less cruel by this policy as smart people can be every bit as mean and bitchy as the beautiful people once were. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (tomorrow we have a French exam so I've been studying up).