Author: David Henson
Tilson Henderson gets out of bed and realizes his back’s not stiff. Hasn’t happened since he stopped doing the exercises his chiropractor prescribed. He feels so vigorous, he joins his wife, Gloria, in the shower. Been a while for that, too.
Late getting to the office, he can’t blame yet another flat tire. He tries to slink in without getting caught, but as soon as Tilson’s butt hits his desk chair, Mr. Rogers heads his way. Tilson braces himself hoping he doesn’t get fired from another job.
Rogers puts his hand on Tilson’s shoulder. “Looking forward to your presentation, Henderson.”
As Tilson talks through his PowerPoint slides, he finds the words flow effortlessly. A memory of studying the data late into the night streams into his mind. He’d thought that was a dream. When Tilson finishes speaking, Mr. Rogers claps him on the back. “I see a raise and promotion in your future, Henderson.”
Tilson gets home from work first and decides to surprise Gloria by making dinner.
“Lasagna’s in the oven,” he says, greeting his wife at the door with a hug and kiss. “You have an hour.”
A few minutes later, Tilson hears the shower and goes to join his wife.
After dinner, Tilson tells Gloria about his day. “I’d given up on getting ahead at work, but I think if I apply myself, the sky’s the limit. It almost seems too good to be true.”
Later that evening, as Tilson enters the bedroom, he catches Gloria on her phone. “Should you dial it back a bit?” she’s saying.
“Dial what back?” Tilson says.
Gloria disconnects the call. “Oh, hi. I … gave Patricia Jansen my green bean casserole recipe. She said it was a little dry so I said to dial back the temperature next time.”
Thinking about recent events, Tilson sits on the bed beside his wife and takes her hand. “Gloria, I love you and the way I’ve felt today. But something doesn’t seem right. How —”
“I confess. A special app.”
“I uploaded your behavioral profile, and the app helps you … improve.”
“I should’ve known. I don’t know how an app could do that, but please delete it.”
Gloria reaches for her phone, then hesitates. “Are you sure?”
“I don’t want to depend on an app. I’ll be better on my own. I promise.”
“So,” Gloria says, “when my husband wakes up, he’ll be a changed man?”
The technician from Deep Makeovers removes a computerized helmet from Tilson Henderson. “Correct. He’ll no longer be such a loser. If you don’t notice anything at first, be patient. He’ll be committed to self-improvement based on the illusion we’ve just streamed into his mind. Stand by him. Give him plenty of encouragement.”
“So,” Tilson says, “when my wife wakes up, she won’t be on my case always?”
“Correct, Mr. Henderson.” The technician from Deep Makeovers removes a computerized helmet from Gloria Henderson. “Your wife will be under the illusion you’re the one who’s undergone treatment and that you’re now dedicated to self-improvement. You won’t have to make major alterations in your behavior. Just be a bit more attentive and don’t get sacked. Her thought processes have been modified such that she’ll think you’re Mr. Wonderful.”
The technician from Deep Makeovers removes a helmet from Tilson Henderson.
“Well?” Gloria says.
“It’s my first double-switcheroo, but I’m confident you’ll see some improvement. He’ll pay a little more attention to you and finally hold down a steady job. Mind you — he’ll never be Mr. Wonderful. But I believe you’ll find him to be adequate.”