Exposed


ago
2 min
53
readings
4
Qualified
“Yes!” Liam exclaimed. He had just gotten 200 happy points for his MyGram post. Molly padded over and plopped next to him on the sofa. “Which photo did you post this time?” asked Molly as she handed Liam a dednilb pill. Starting a century ago, dednilb pills were required by law to be taken by everyone. “One of the photos from my business trip in West Virginia,” Liam replied nonchalantly as he handed his phone over to Molly.

After glancing at the photo, Molly’s expression changed. Worried, Liam took the phone back and set it down on the table. “Are you okay? You seem down. You’ve also been behind on happy points. I know you haven’t been travelling as much these days so posting photos may be hard, but you can still write something. That could help us with our happy points toward qualifying for our dream home.” Molly diverted his gaze and put on a weak smile, “I’m okay, I’ve just been running on low energy recently. I just need some sleep is all.”

The truth? The truth is that on a typical Sunday two weeks ago she had forgotten to take her daily dednilb pill. She was sitting at the kitchen counter, a cup of coffee in hand, and scrolling through MyGram as usual, when she saw it. It was a post by her friend and co-worker, Daisy. It garnered a record-high 500 happy points. But there was nothing happy about it. The children in it wore frowns. Their ribs, collar and chest bones were visibly pronounced. The only one smiling in the photo was Daisy, whose animated blue-green eyes shone and right hand hovered above one child with one thumb enthusiastically raised upright. Molly wondered if the children were plagued by a disease. She had never seen children so skinny, so she proceeded to look up content on skinny children in the Internet. For the first time in her life, she learned what wasting was, what stunting was.

She spiraled down the rabbit hole for a few days, holed up in their study room. She read about the Great Depression two centuries ago. About landowners letting ripe fruit rot in the face of starving children. About people who were denied surgery because they were unable to pay. About life-saving vaccines that were created and made available, but only to certain people.

“For the quality of owning freezes you forever into ‘I’, and cuts you off forever from the ‘we’.” Steinbeck’s quote echoed forcefully in her head over and over as she read about the coronavirus that hit a century ago, when the outrage of the public forced those in power to come up with a solution. A solution called dednilb.

She turned off the pings she got from MyGram after she realized how incessant and artificial the posts all were. How had she not seen? How had she not realized?
The truth? The truth is that MyGram took part in the creation of dednilb. People had started to realize that it was easy to create a myth about their lives if they had enough MyGram muck. So that if the grass looked greener on the other side, it was probably because it was full of shit. Or because people were self-medicating with denial. Or a combination of both. So MyGram users started dropping like flies. And MyGram found a solution in dednilb.

Now Molly was faced with the impossible task of choosing between telling Liam or living in pretense. What would you choose?
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