March 3, 2050

We live in a small town. A town we call Aspen, Colorado. I am happy here. We are all happy here. We get to interact with one one another face to face and on the internet, we play sports, we have outdoor and indoor activities, we learn, we think, we observe. We have everything. My mother often talks about a time when society didn’t feel this way and how people didn’t often play together face to face and that there were other sources of stimulation. I don’t know what she means by this because she refuses to give me more details but she said this was the case when she was a kid. That everything was different in the early 2000s. She says that people often felt as though being alone was boring and the people were dependent on… and then she stopped talking. She said she couldn’t go on and that she spoke too much. I have begged time and time again, but she will never give me more. Nothing. Her mouth seals up and gets locked as though she is being forced to hide something from me; a higher power is holding something over her and can’t even help her.

March 11, 2050

During the morning of March 11 our town was filled with silence. I could look out the window for miles without seeing another face. This was the reaction to the nationwide announcement warning everyone to stay in their houses due to a wide spreading epidemic virus known as the coronavirus. Citizens are advised to stay home and disengage from any social interactions for 4 weeks. Schools have been cancelled, businesses shut down, and our town is nothing but houses lining empty streets. There could be no more activities with friends or face to face communication.

March 27, 2050

My days have started to become longer and my ideas for activities are beginning to dwell. It has been 2 weeks into quarantine and I don’t feel normal anymore. My brain is not actively playing the way it used to. There is nothing new except for the occasional alterations in weather patterns. I have taken all the showers and baths I can handle for one day. Currently I am attempting to reread the only books in my house for the fifth time in a row but instead I sit staring at empty meaningless words on the paper for hours at a time. I have thought of and played every board game or made up game. I am bubbling over my seams. My level of boredom has reached a point of no return. My mom seems to be handling it worse than I am though. All she does now is sleep and work out. She finds nothing fun or entertaining. I try to help but she says I don’t understand. That it is different for her.


April 1, 2050

My mind was on a roller coaster today. I began reminiscing on times we could play soccer. Running through the other kids sweat dripping down my face while attempting to keep the ball away from the opponents. One more step and a kick and into the net it goes. Victory! I miss the feeling and excitement of the game. 10 hours in my room thinking of soccer made me ponder a little more. What if we could play at home? What if on the computers we have to connect for communication we could communicate and play soccer through the network? Maybe I am going crazy but I just miss the games.

soccer This is what I envision but on the computer where you can use the keys to command the players!

April 3, 2050

Maybe I wasn’t going crazy then, but I am now. My entire life has been a lie or maybe my mother is the lie. Sitting at dinner last night I began telling my mother the idea about virtual soccer. Her face went blank and a fork dropped out of her mouth mid bite. Suddenly, she went silent. Together we silent until she broke with the first word.

“Tommy there's something I’ve always wanted to tell you but I fear that I could be locked away or something bad may happen if I do. Will you promise to not tell anyone if I tell you what I am about to say?”

I sat in awe. What could she possibly say that could cause so much damage. We live in a society where most of your days are constructed for us. I couldn’t say no. Timidly I replied,“I promise mom.” She took a deep inhale and then continued,

“Remember how i told you things were different when I was a kid. Well they were. Very different. We were basically never bored, and when we were bored we had access to a whole new type of world of the computer. A world of entertainment. There were games online that allowed people to create new identities and give them opportunities to create new worlds or challenge others in virtual sports matches (similar to your soccer idea) or other online matches. Beyond that, there was entertainment called “movies” and “tv shows” which were moving visuals displaying purposeful and directed stories and often rely on a message or create emotion within viewers. Our computers provided access to all of this. Whenever someone was bored they could go on their phone and have access to this constant stimulation. This is when times began to get rocky. The government was so threatened and fearful of our society becoming too dependent on technology and entertainment. They were scared that the serious topics in our world were getting played down to be turned into entertainment. That the world was getting less rational and less educated. Medium Theorist Neil Postman was planting information into the government's head. Eventually, they decided to make a change. The government swiped all forms of entertainment technology from the nation. For years people were in deep depression and couldn’t find a path out of the boredom. The government became more and more concerned and eventually swiped everyone’s memory of this time period. During the memory sweep, I was sick at home. They never got to me. I have been living with this memory for decades with no one to talk to. Everytime I am bored I get reminded. I don’t know what they will do to me if they found out I told you. Please tommy, keep this to yourself and help me find a way to get this back.”

Bumps were rising from my skin and my ability to form words had been taken from me. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. I couldn’t understand. Why was the government trying to control us? Why hasn’t my mother told me this before? Will this be a secret forever? Instead of responding tears began to stream out of my eyes. My mother wrapped me tight. I still can’t imagine this world she lived in, but I want to get it back somehow or someway.