Proper Science Fiction, by David Lynch
-Where do they even hold funerals these days?
-But you’re a doctor.
-Death isn’t part of the gig as much as it used to be. But funerals, Jeez, I don’t know. I think I overheard a few nurses mention something about a couple out west before Imbolc. There was my mother’s of course, but that must be half a century ago now.
-Sure wasn’t I there. My RA is 82 now, would you believe it? According to my last check up my BA is about 47.
-47? That’s old. Are you holding back on rejuvee for some reason?
-There’s time. There’s always bloody time. What’s yours doc?
-RA 94, BA 32. I’ve scheduled some rejuvee for just after Samhain, push that BA back down below 30.
-You know doc, I’ve been a fireman, a Korean language teacher and for a time, a useless vet.
-Ha, don’t I remember. Those poor animals.
-And now I’m a biologic nano-constructer for the last…it must be over two decades at least. You?
-I’ve been an integrated, clinical psychiatric-psychologist for coming on 25 years, and before that… well, many other jobs.
-Not just jobs, we’re talking full on careers.
-You say it like it’s a bad thing.
-My grandfather was a doctor like you. Although not exactly like you. Medicine was his calling. It provided his life with a central theme. He retired in his 70s and died in his 90s. Job done. A job well done, in fact. But now I could quit biologic nano-construction and head to college, and dedicate the next two decades of my life to medicine. I could study, train and practise. Then just a few years later, drop everything, and start a new career.
-But isn’t that great? We can have many callings now.
-Bull. The whole point of a calling is that it’s a singular voice. Now we’re surrounded by a constant high-pitched drone of limitless potential. It’s deafening. It’s confusing. And it doesn’t just impact careers. Like, you know the way it’s my dream to see Carlow win the All-Ireland? C’mon now, no need to laugh.
-I don’t need to be an expert to diagnose that as chronic delusion.
-Okay, from this vantage point, it may seem unlikely. But if I live for centuries to come, even the most implausible of events will probably happen. So extended life ruins the dream. Cause it’s no longer a dream when you know it will happen one day. It’s more like an unscheduled appointment, for some indefinite time in the future.
-But did you catch their league form earlier this year?
– You know well what I’m getting at doc. I can’t even say ‘just once before I die’, because chances are, as long as I avoid something catastrophic, everything will happen once before I die.
-But Carlow, All-Ireland winners? Now that sounds like proper science fiction.
David Lynch is a journalist and author of three nonfiction books, including Confronting Shadows: An Introduction to the Poetry of Thomas Kinsella (New Island). He is working on his first novel.