I am, I like

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at a bar in my neighbourhood just passing away the time. It was one of those days when everything seems unclear: what am I supposed to do and where to begin? So I thought that the most sane thing to do was doing nothing at all.

Then a man came into the bar, ageless and restless. I could swear that he had come from a cold country and that he had been asking himself something for at least a few days. We must have been soul mates, or maybe we simply thought that we could get along, or even help each other, so we ended up talking.

He started to tell a story. Years ago, when he was more or less my age, one morning as he opened his eyes he suddenly realized that he couldn’t remember who he was. He didn’t panic, good boy!, and as every young man of his age would have done, he went onto the Internet. But very soon he realized that he did not only not remember who he was, but he also couldn’t remember any of the passwords to his online profiles or iPhone; he couldn’t remember when the last time was that he had had some food, nor which food he even liked. So he took an apple from the fridge, “After all, I suppose this is my house and this is my fridge”.

Then he came back to the computer. Google. New search: “I don’t remember who I am help”

Gregory Peck method. Pathological hesitation and chronic indecision.
Do you feel like you don’t know what you like and what you want? We can help you to recover yourself.

So my friend opened the page and read:

Gregory Peck’s is an advanced method which maps one’s personal history of desires and tendencies, using cutting edge computer algorithms and online research techniques which locate what people have liked and shared in the last few years.
Not able to choose? You can ask Gregory Peck’s software everything you want.
Once having learned the basics and after having set up the software, the research can be done easily at home, individually or with the help of our 24h call center’s operators.
Gregory Peck is the marketing in the service of the consumer and of the individual, the daily psychotherapy to orient yourself in your limbic system.

So he made a call and decided to go downtown to attend a group session for the Gregory Peck method. Along the way he started to feel a little distressed because «having doubts about who you are is a very difficult feeling to face nowadays, especially if you are very young» he explained «and it is not easy at all to do all your daily activities without access to your digital identity and means of communication, don’t you think?»

Then suddenly he had another disturbing thought: what if his existential problem was impossible to solve even with Gregory Peck’s method? What if none of the participants had the same abnormal doubt? «Being unable to choose after all is far less serious than being unable to be, what a bad impression I’d make! I was afraid that someone could take advantage of me!»
Completely absorbed in his worries, ignoring who he was, and walking on a straight road without cross streets, he finally reached the building 26.

«And that’s what I was, I was crazy! Peck’s method couldn’t help me because I didn’t have a name and I had lost my profile: they were not able to identify my web identity. However I was still optimistic: even if I didn’t know myself anymore, I was confident that Google did, and it could know me even without having access to my personal account. So, if for any reason the Gregory Peck method was the first result of my search, I had no doubt that this should be a valid explanation».

My friend drinks his coffee and keeps on talking: «I didn’t know what to do, so I pretended to be someone else, a name I read on the list of participants, a man that had passed up on the meeting. I thought that if this man who was not able to choose at the beginning, then had been able to decide something – to not partake in the group session – somehow he should have resolved his problem and so probably didn’t need the Peck method anymore. If I couldn’t be myself, at least I could be him and I could recover his choosing ability. I could put together again all the broken pieces of his personality, and so I could find again my inner peace. I attended the center for three weeks and I became another, the person I am now. Nice to meet you, my name is Cary Grant».

I looked at him and smiled. It’s my pleasure. And so we talked to each other for a couple of hours, me and my friend Cary Grant.

A few days later I read in the newspaper that the Gregory Peck method was a scam. On the basis of the information given by the attendants at their first contact with the center, operators used to locate some similar web id and profiles, and during the group sessions they used to insinuate false memories and other’s experiences, in order to grow “in vitro consumers”. The Gregory Peck method was supported by some of the most influent corporates of mass consumerism.

With just a couple of sessions, insane people that called the Gregory Peck method looking for help, seemed to find consciousness again about their needs and desires, and happily started choosing again. Too easy! Those were not their needs and desires.
A new personality, that my friend in his desperate situation yearned for, was inserted into the minds of thousands of unconfident and unaware people, which are probably happy now with their resolute characters and living other’s lives.
But meanwhile, my friend Cary Grant, despite not knowing who he was, still had the ability to choose and so he chose to be another (and became yet another). The Peck method however, stole from many indecisive individuals the right to any real possibility of choice and crisis.

Keep yourself together, girl. Breakdown and doubt yourself, get lost in the world and other people, lose time. But never get lost inside.

** The characters in this short story are quite average people. Everyone is free to see these individuals as consumers, without any waste of words. All the facts and people are fictional and this novel is freely inspired by the writer’s personal life.