Author: J Frank Wright

A change. An accident. A disconnect. A revelation. There’s a signal in the signal. The television signal. The method had changed, but the name remained the same. It was comfortable. People liked comfortable. People liked things that made them comfortable. Soup is a comfort food. It was the soup that made me notice the change. TV shows are no longer filmed.


The method had changed, but the name remained the name. A decade ago, shows were shot using digital cameras, but people still said they were filmed. You’d have a hard time finding anyone over 40 who knew what film even was. TV shows are no longer shot or filmed. They’re programmed.

TV shows. TV programs. They’re programmed. Dramas. Comedies. The news. Commercials. It’s all programmed.

In order to become a more productive society, TV viewing had to be eliminated. Individuals wasting thousands of hours every year. Watching. It wasn’t good for the whole, so now they’re programmed. They’re programmed, and beamed directly into the brain.

Everyone has their own receiver. A small chip implanted behind the ear. The receiver is programmed for what you want to “watch”. Drama. Comedies. The news. They’re programmed, and beamed directly into the brain. Every night the TV transmitter beams programming to your receiver based on your preferences. Now, instead of spending hours in front of the TV every night, it takes 30 seconds. 30 seconds for your receiver to download your programming. And just like that, you experience every program you selected and all the commercials to go with them.

We eat a lot of soup. We used to buy the generic stuff, and then I was promoted. A bump in position, a bump in pay, and a bump in class. Commercials are tailored to your lifestyle. Your income. Once I moved up, we started getting commercials for the name brands. Beamed directly into the brain. I couldn’t believe how much better it was. Thicker, bigger chunks of meat, so much more flavorful, and only a dollar more. We had been eating slop before, and this had real steak. That was two weeks ago.

A week later the accident happened. I was hit by a car while crossing the street. The damage was minor, a busted leg and a couple of cracked ribs, but my receiver was damaged. I had been disconnected for a week. No programming. No news. No commercials. Nothing beamed directly into the brain. A week of recovery in the hospital, and I’m feeling better than ever.

I woke up this morning and remembered the soup. It took me all day to figure out exactly what I was remembering. I remembered we started eating two weeks ago. The soup we had been eating for years. It was the same soup. Nothing had changed except the programming. The programming. The reprogramming. Beamed directly into the brain. If I had been eating the new soup for a year, I may have never noticed, but it had only been a week. The memories of the so-called slop we ate before were fresh in my mind. It couldn’t be more obvious.

But it’s too late, isn’t it? My new receiver was implanted last night and tonight’s programming is about to start. Beamed directly into the brain. There were three soup commercials. I can hear my wife in the kitchen cooking dinner. It’s soup night. It smells like steak.