Dickie L. Rowbotham

Dickie L. Rowbotham

It’s becoming more and more difficult to stay sane with all this self-isolation going on. So, I decided to write a flash fiction piece; a parody of the corona virus pandemic, main-stream media, social media blabbering, being clueless and the idea of hope. All characters here are fictional and have no relation to real world people or events. Here’s the punchline of the story: “One day, a loser wakes up to discover he made the headlines everywhere during a lethal Pandemic.” You can read the complete story by scrolling down. I would love to see some honest comments! Cheers!

corona-vaccine-reuters

Covered in sweat and feeling a pain of uneasiness in his chest, Dickie woke up almost an hour before his alarm clock set off. He quickly hurried to the bathroom, turned on the tap, squirted some liquid soap onto his palm and began rubbing his hands in the harshest way anybody had ever done. He started silent counting and stopped when he reached 22. Twenty seconds were enough to kill the virus that might have been residing on his hands, but he’d always do a couple of seconds extra just to be on the safe side. He dried his hands with a paper towel and disposed it right away. With the corner of his eye, he checked his paper towel stock sitting proudly on the shelves. Yep, the remaining 37 huge rolls would be more than enough to last him in case paper-towel shortages started. Encouraged by his vast paper towel collection and not feeling well to his usual standards, he turned on the tap for another 22 seconds and peeled more skin off his hands.

It was the beginning of a huge day. The previous week he’d gone to the emergency service of the memorial hospital for Anoroc-91 testing. He had all the symptoms; a mild diarrhea, a little muscle pain especially in the back, dry coughing a couple of times throughout the day, shortness of breath accompanied by a mild fever. He’d waited a couple of days before he went to the hospital for a test as he couldn’t be sure if he was developing symptoms due to his own precautious actions. Since the world has been taken over by this pandemic, he’d completely changed the way he lived his life. He set up the heater at least ten degrees as he was informed by social media that the virus couldn’t survive in higher temperatures. This could be the reason he felt his elevated body heat. His diarrhea could be just because he’d changed his diet to natural Anoroc-repelling food advertised by a well-being specialist he’d been following on Twitter. His shortness of breath could be explained by not taking his protective mask off even when he was home alone. On another note, he was always home alone. Not that he was following strict self isolation techniques, but because he didn’t have any friends. “Darn!” he mumbled to himself. Where did he put the new batch of masks?

The landline phone rang, but he couldn’t get it in time as he was too busy putting on his latex gloves to pick it up. It was too bad that these old models didn’t display missed calls. He was sure though that he missed the call about his test results as his phone only rang three or four times during a full year. And it was only March! Angry to himself, he ditched the gloves into the bin and sanitized the receiver thoroughly to save time for the next ring. He just hoped they would call soon as the wait had already been messing up his nearly non-existent sanity. Not having anything better to do, he turned on his laptop and logged-in to his Twitter account. It was a pity that his cell phone, where he usually checked his messages and social media, was totally wrecked after laying it in alcohol bed for quick sterilization. The coffee table the laptop was on, was just making him bend lower than usual and have back pain after an hour of computer time. But, this time he wasn’t planning on spending more than ten minutes on Twitter, perhaps only a bit longer if he found some new information on the virus itself.

Surprisingly, the Twitter trending topic list had his name on the very top: “#dickielrowbotham”. That was strange. He never thought someone sharing his uncommon full name to be trending. It wasn’t him for sure. He was a nobody. But seriously, how many Dickie L. Rowbothams, down to the middle initial, could be in the whole world? He tapped on the topic and started scrolling down millions of uninformative tweets:

Terence Woodbury, a guy with a profile pic of a slam dunk close-up tweeted: “Don’t be a dick! Be a dickie and save the world! #dickielrowbotham #anoroc-91 #anaroc91 #anaracvirus

The next few tweets were emojis of thumbs-up or closed fists… or combinations of these two with varying smileys.

Another tweet by a certain well-known celebrity, complete with a blue tick next to the name, was saying: “Yay #dickielrowbotham“. It had nearly 90k likes, 28k retweets and nearly as many comments.

Dickie got frustrated as he scrolled down the never-ending tweets. There was not a single tweet giving him an insight on what was happening!

Then, he saw it! A doctor, or at least that was what his username “dr.chadwick8080” implied, had tweeted: “As the acting director of Springwell Memorial Hospital, I can neither confirm nor deny the discovery of immune cells in a suspected patients blood work. It’s just too early for a final verdict and false hope does not help in this case. #dickielrowbotham #anoroc-91 #stayhome

Dr. Chadwick? Springwell Memorial? That was where Dickie had his Anoroc test! The tweet didn’t really seem like it was written by a real doctor, but even if that was true, it was still a weird coincidence.

The phone started ringing while Dickie was still trying to make heads or tails of the whole thing. This time he was quickly on his feet and answered the phone in record time:

“Hello! This is Dickie speaking.” He said with a trembling voice.

“Hello Mr. Rowbotham,” The voice answered. “I am Doctor Richard Chadwick from Springwell Memorial Hospital. I am calling about your blood test results regarding Anoroc-91.”

“Yes?” Dickie said in a shaky tone after a brief pause.

“We have discovered certain antibodies in your blood that prevent the Aronoc virus,” he said. “To put it boldly, you are immune Mr. Rowbotham. We would like to invite you here and run some more tests and perhaps you could be the one saving all of us,” he concluded.

“Wait! Wait! How is it possible that I am just hearing about this now. Twitter is flooding with this ‘new discovery’,” he glared.

“We couldn’t reach you before Mr. Rowbotham!” Dr. Chadwick said calmly.

“Yeah, like 20 minutes ago. And I’ve been staying home since I got tested.” Dickie replied losing the timid tone. “It’s been spreading on Twitter faster than Anoroc ever could. Just tell me how this happened and I might consider coming there.”

Dr. Chadwick cleared his throat before answering. “Your test results came yesterday morning and we… yadda, yadda, yadda…” The doctor spoke some more. but all Dickie could make out from the long technical details were the words: “immune cells”, “antibodies” and “vaccine”. He finally came to Dickie’s initial question. “… and I told my wife about it. I didn’t know she had a whatsapp group of about 80 senior citizens. And the rest is that people have been sharing this story for the past ten hours or so. I am so sorry, but we had to make sure before we contacted you.”

“But, you tweeted as well.”

“I don’t have a Twitter account, Mr. Rowbotham,” he replied. “Please drop by today, as soon as possible.”

“Ok.” Dickie said before hanging up.

He ran his hand through his hair slowly as he could. God, how he missed these simplest actions. Fearing infection, he’d been refraining himself from touching his face or head for the past couple of months. Next, he binned the sanitizers in his house. He hated the smell, besides he didn’t need protection now. And the best of all, he didn’t have to isolate himself in a 2-bedroomed-house anymore. He wasn’t really a people person, but observing them from time to time while seated at a cafe, sipping his latte did make him feel a bit more joyous. Whistling to himself, he got dressed and got out without wearing the usual latex gloves. He walked all the way to the hospital.

It was way more crowded at the front door of the hospital. Media outlets, reporters, ordinary people who didn’t look sick swarmed the steps leading to the entrance. The security guards were not allowing anyone to pass. So, Dickie had to shout from the back to be able to get through:

“Hey! I am Dickie L. Rowbotham. Dr. Chadwick is expecting me!” The clamor instantly ended and every glare was pinned on him in no time.

People made way just enough for him to pass, but kept touching him; rubbing their hands all over him as he got closer to the security guards. Just before he reached the top step, one very attractive blonde held him by the collar, drew him towards her and gave him a firm, longish kiss, possibly with the intentions of healthy droplets transfer… A shortcut to immunity perhaps. A media reporter also made a move with her mike, but was blocked by one of the guards before he could take action. After presenting his ID, Dickie was taken to an empty waiting lounge. 5 minutes later, a couple of doctors showed up and introduced themselves. One was Dr. Chadwick, and the other one, the woman was Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill was the one who spoke:

“Mr. Rowbotham, thank you for coming. We prepared a spacious room exclusive for you,” she smiled.

“A room?” Dickie echoed. “What for?”

“To start working on a cure right away, of course.” Dr. Chadwick said. “Your room has an en-suite bathroom and a marvelous view from its window.”

“No, I won’t be staying!” Dickie said raising his voice. “Just take my blood and let me go.”

“I’m afraid we can’t allow that.” Dr. Chadwick said as he signaled to a couple of orderlies in the distance. “You’re the cure and we’re doing this for the greater good.”

“Noooo!” Dickie shouted as the orderlies began dragging him to his isolated room.

“Don’t worry, the vaccine will be out and approved in less than a couple of years.” Dr. Hill smiled behind her mask. “The clock already started ticking!”

The Near-Death of Decent Content

The Near-Death of Decent Content

This article is a premature obituary of decent artistic content… in every aspect of our lives…

Decent Content in Entertainment and Art Forms

Early 21st century – 2020 (and ongoing/down-falling)

We have arrived at a crucial point in our mundane timeline when real and engaging content started slipping out of our existence at an ever accelerating pace… replaced by uninteresting shenanigans of the modern, content-less society.

Good content does not pay anymore…
Content does not pay anymore…
It has lost all its value…

Here’s why:

Leonardo created “La Giaconda (The Mona Lisa)” in a period from 1503 to 1517…it’s still the most visited attraction ever in one of the biggest museums in the world…

Circa 1500, Michelangelo carved out “David” giving life to a 5-meter (17 ft.), 6+ tons of marble… which still stands the test of time with all its glory…

And let’s not forget about other works of art created before the 21st century like “La Guernica” by Picasso or “The Scream” by Edward Munch… those were the times when art became alive…

In 2019… we had a browned-out banana taped onto a wall sold for $120000… The proud buyer and current owner defended the masterpiece as “… the unicorn of the art world…” Not only that he could have created a better piece with a fresh banana costing him less than a dollar, what would he do when the banana decomposes completely? Replacing the banana at regular intervals would certainly kill the originality of the fruity masterpiece…no?

Banart4
The Priceless Banana Art…

The sad thing is that renaissance art masterpieces or any good art is truly appreciated only by a handful of people… the others most likely swarm museums just to take selfies with the art, and to make their social media followers/friends jealous.

This is the death of art

Now, let’s have a quick look at the demise of writing… mainly script writing for contemporary Hollywood blockbusters…

Imagine a time 150 years + in the future when the only technological breakthrough seems to be modernized tanning beds capable of curing every disease while the world seems to have stuck in the 90s technology otherwise…

Or… a group of scientists land on a hostile alien world and one of them decides to pat a viper-like hissing monster with affection… and no… he wasn’t mind-controlled. How did he ever become a man of science anyway? Everything’s possible on big screen!

Or… a thin, feather weight ex-special forces operative lady takes on multiple trained assassins three times her size in hand-to-hand combat with a gaping gunshot wound in her leg.

Or… two science-enthusiast buddies invent a time machine and choose to travel 17 years into the past to allegedly stop a world-wide catastrophic event which started 25 years ago.

There are tons of examples of poor writing like the ones above in nearly all recent movies. Here’s the funny thing… all the titles exemplified previously have IMDb ratings of 6 and above. As people who gave high ratings are highly affectionate towards an actor or two in the production, no matter how bad the script is or how horribly the character is portrayed. Can you guess the titles of these three blockbusters (the last one is a series and not so popular like others)?

Music hasn’t been doing great either…

We tend to listen to the latest crap not because of musical or lyrical quality, but just because it blocks the ear-assassinating everyday clamor which is only a tad worse than what we pay for…

Right? Or… why would we just keep listening to band of mismatched instruments out-of-beat with lyrics like:

“Now you get to watch her leave out the window
Guess why they call it window pane…”

(I know I am going to be roasted by Eminem fans… but the word play on “pane” and “pain” is unbearable.)

Or…

“Are we humans?
Or are we dancer?”

(Or are you just untalented musicians with bad grammar?)

Lastly, check your favorite social media for good content… or just some content… I bet you’ll find none other than Instagram posts showing floor tiles with the tip of the big toe of the artist penetrating the shot from a corner with the message: “Good morning y’all!” Thousands of likes guaranteed…

floortoe

Or…

A tweet from a celebrity saying:

“Today is Saturday, tomorrow will be Sunday and then Monday.”

It must have been very informative, enlightening and inspiring indeed as it got tens of thousands of likes and nearly three thousand retweets shortly.

Or…

A young, good-looking youtuber making thousands of dollars monthly by blabbering about her dull daily routine.

So, what can be done to revive decent content? Is it too late?

Not yet. But it’s getting to a point of no return.

Just try not to appreciate horrible content because someone with good looks created it. The more we appreciate bad content, the more they will be encouraged to create even worse content. Support true artists for their art and good content (not because they are cool/famous/good-looking) as they need some boost to be even better.

Redefining the Laws of Attraction for Love for the Modern Society

Redefining the Laws of Attraction for Love for the Modern Society

attraction

Warning: The following article has little or no relation to “Laws of attraction for the universe”

This piece of writing is all about how we pick our partners in relationships, how we fake ourselves and reflect a desired version of ourselves much like a peacock in its prime. At first, we tend to show others what we are actually not. Then, try hard to change each other in our image of a perfect partner, but weren’t their initial qualities what attracted us in the first place?

What we are trying to do in our romantic endeavors, fits Marcel Proust’s definition of love:

No doubt very few people understand the purely subjective nature of the phenomenon that we call love, or how it creates, so to speak, a supplementary person, distinct from the person whom the world knows by the same name, a person most of whose constituent elements are derived from ourselves.”

Anyway,

How is it that we are attracted to certain people right away?

Is it…

the first sight?
the initial smell?
the very first touch?
their intellect? … sense of humor?
the way they talk?… walk?… smile?
having the same interests and dreams?
sharing similar agonies and suffering the same way?

 

Or… is it the combination of some of the above?

 

I believe everyone has their own subconscious priorities when it comes to attraction. However, in the era of social media, our priorities can easily be fooled…

Here’s why:

Sight or looks:

The importance of sight or looks should have come to an end as everyone looks good nowadays; taking advantage of technology, filters, editing on top of the freedom of being able to take many shots before choosing the most unnatural one and posting it online. This also makes the competition fierce as illusion surpasses beauty and the unlucky ones are the hidden beauties with little or no competence in photo editing…

It was extensive makeup, smart clothes and outstanding photo angles in the last couple of decades, but now it’s all combined with social media photo skills…

Smell:

Each one of us has their own distinct smell mostly regarding what we eat and how often we bath. As vanilla scented thugs and flora reeking divas roam the streets, frequent bathers preferring to use soap when bathing and wearing no perfume afterwards are on the losing side of the attraction war. But, perfume is like a mask. Nobody can wear it 24/7. The revelation of sour cheese aromatic feet and uncooked onion flavoured arm pits bring us to our senses after a warm, sunny day outdoors.

Intellect, interests and dreams:

Nobody wants to go on a date with a dumb person, so people tend to over exaggerate their intellectual levels by either talking about their field of expertise all the time or blabbering about a recent post they came across on the internet without fact checking.

As newly flirting couples discover how similar their interests are, they’re immediately drawn to their partner with a magical bond. They think they have found their soul mates… but little do they know that each person is making up some of the stuff only to be liked by their partner. Sharing the same dreams is more or less the same. “Dreams can change” is just a lame excuse.

But… it’s not all bad as there are things where we can’t be fooled…

Like a surprise genuine smile, a soul penetrating gaze and touch… When we hug someone and enclose their bodies into ours, we just feel if the person’s feelings are genuine or not, thanks to softly twitching muscles under the meat suit that we barely feel or the equally overwhelming hug-back we receive. Try to caress the house cat and feel it hum like a generator under your touch to feel the full sensation.

Any relationship based on the initial falsified versions of both parties tend to fail miserably in the end. Our feelings for the love of our lives expire just like some stale crackers long forgotten at the back of kitchen shelves as our true images take over. We show a different, a fake version of ourselves to others initially and ironically expect the others not to do that to us. We idolize our deepest fantasies not the people who are only human after all. Unfortunately, the candle lit by a fake (person) in a pitch black night can only survive until the daylight.

The moral?

There’s no moral if we just stick to our seemingly boring ourselves right from the beginning so that we don’t have to pretend afterwards.

A New Perspective on Fitness… or an Old One

A New Perspective on Fitness… or an Old One

crowded-gym

In the first couple of millennia of human history, people roamed the globe; hunting and gathering; challenging the forces of nature on the way just for the sake of survival…


We battled with beasts (See mythology) for fame and hunted wild boars to bring home the bacon…


We constructed authentic castles standing the test of time for defence and shelter… and made the pyramids to puzzle contemporary scholars…


We used cave walls as canvas to pass on our stories…


We stood against volcanoes and thunderstorms… and when we couldn’t, we worshipped them…


But,


We never worked out inside socialised caves just for the sake of looking fit… or drew musclebound torsos on walls for admiration…


Bodies at the time required no high-protein boost bars or gymnasiums surrounded by concrete walls, cluttered with man-made steel toys to maintain fitness. The natural flow of life in the beginning turned out to be a costly hobby in the end (Taking Gym memberships and related costs into account.)


Now, we are still “hunters and gatherers” of sorts… that is hunting for attention and gathering likes for the shots of artificially pumped up muscles on social media… How else would going to an enclosed gym situated in the middle of an urban jungle in a Ferrari instead of training outdoors be explained?


Which raises the question…


Will the necessities of our current life be costly hobbies in the distant future?


Will we find other ways to sustain our bodies other than consuming “water” just to survive, for instance?


Will we be crowding H2O pubs and sharing our experience on our water-sipping stories through our personalised akashic records?

The Evolution of Fear

The Evolution of Fear

As we have been living in the age of social media for a while now, most aspects or concepts of the past has become a thing of the past. Just like our fears!!!

Lethal diseases that we feared greatly, have become minor health problems… Monsters have evolved into children’s entertainment in the form of toys and cartoons… and werewolves have found their literal and lexical meaning as in “were feared”…but not anymore. These days, we use vampires and werewolves merely for entertainment as seen in movies and novels. Even romance has been a popular subject amongst the supernatural beings. We do not really fear them, we love them.

But, what do we fear nowadays?

Of course; the dangers of social media and insensible posting…and the consequences.

After a little thinking, I have made a list of modern fears related to the internet and some popular social media apps and number 3  and 7 really give me the creeps!

Here goes:

1. You’re lost in the middle of nowhere and you have no wifi…

2. Finding out that a stranger has dethroned you at your own house (private address) on swarm.

3. Booking a place on AirBnB and once there discovering that it’s a freshly dug empty grave with your name on the tombstone.

4. A stranger posts photos of your most intimate moments, tagging you on Instagram.

5. Your Facebook page is suddenly liked by over a thousand users who have recently passed away and they say they can’t wait to meet you in the comments section.

6. Your match on Tinder turns out to be your sibling…after your chat with each other for hours about each other’s sexual fantasies.

7. Posting a short video clip onto YouTube titled “the best way to kill your neighbour”, then waking up the next morning with the police knocking on the door as your neighbour had been murdered the same way as shown on your video clip. The video watch count shows 0 visitors…

8. Trying out a diner’s burger, licking your fingertips due to its delicacy and then discovering thousands of negative comments on Four Square mentioning the restaurant’s use of rat meat in their burgers.

9. Getting lost and needing rescue in New Zealand’s Porangahau region: “Tetaumatawhakatangihangakoauaotamateaurehaeaturipukapihimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu” after a hiking accident and discovering that the only means of communication with the authorities seem to be by Twitter, limiting your report of what has happened to you and your whereabouts in only 140 characters. To make things worse, your phone has juice left only for one tweet!

What do you say?


Ain’t modern life scary?

Why we like what we like

As technology keeps developing, we start drifting away from other individuals of flesh and blood close to us, trapping ourselves in prisons of solitude of our own doing (like social media…and oh! The irony!). Soon, we realize what we are desperately looking for… ; being connected to others in the first place, creating a weird dilemma … perhaps strangers but people…to real people who are geographically distanced hundreds of miles apart.

Our quest to find such connections has also affected the language we had been using for ages in unimaginable ways (though if I’m writing it here, it’s imaginable). 

The term “selfie” is a good word to demonstrate how much we progressed in terms of being connected to others; the society. 

The verb/slash preposition “like” nearly became more commonly used in its “noun” form in an overnight with the sudden impact of the social media like (here it’s a preposition) Facebook, Twitter and instagram. As we started liking (and here it’s a verb) weird looking babies’ pictures along with photos of cats, we started enjoying the impact of being liked by people whom we have never met in person. Then, the number of “likes” (and here it’s a plural noun) started to matter. Some people even paid (or still pay) money to purchase virtual followers or automatic likers. The quality of the content we like has also degraded from real works of art to masterpieces of rubbish that our stranger friends post daily. We like to be liked and this makes us proud somehow.

Here are the specifics of a social experiment I did a while ago: I posted the picture below on one of my social media accounts without a caption and guess how many “likes” I got?

38 likes within minutes…Wow! Maybe I do have some artistic qualities I’m not aware of.

P.S: Hit the like button for this article to honor the content and I’ll like one of your…err…stuff you posted online. 

Smart Phones and whatever

Alexander Graham Bell’s dream was to be heard over a distance; a mere voice projection and nothing else; a device solely responsible for communication. What would he be thinking if he lived now, in the era of smart phones; seeing his invention taking a weird turn and becoming a device of self isolation and addiction? I bet he wouldn’t be so content as we’re not really using smart phones for their main functionality which is basically to speak to people.

We can take photos, send letters (emails), log into our bank accounts, play games, watch movies, make movies, like pictures of cats, listen to music, apply for jobs, remember and celebrate birthdays, use them as flashlights, look for directions, check weather reports, plan our holidays, chat with complete strangers, absorb radiation and develop brain tumors.

We can do all of these without uttering a single word and most of them without involvement of a second body.

So, what happened to the communicative aspect of phones?

The answer is obvious: Nobody cares anymore as long as they have the latest device, access to social media and a wall charger.

This is all for now. I have to stalk some stranger’s profile and watch funny cat videos.

Eye like. ..

image

This is a close up of my left eye. And below is me trying to understand…

When have we become so obsessed with taking meaningless selfies/close-ups to connect with others? What has changed so much that we try to mingle digitally? Why has making duck faces become more alluring than a simple, sincere smile? Is Uncle Scrooge becoming the next sex idol?
What’s next?

Social media and people’s con. ..nect. ..ion iss. ..ues.

image

It’s in our nature…we all want to connect like a tree digging its roots into mother earth. The earth understands the tree and it’s the same for the tree. The tree (technically, a sapling) grows, becomes stronger and bears fruit; the fruit of its own production. However, human relationships are nothing like that. ..at least not anymore. Unlike trees,  we dispatch our weakest roots trying to cling on cement, rubber, metal or anything else but earth. We die from the inside and we’re not even aware.
It didn’t use to be like this; meeting total strangers online with whom you have nothing in common but an Internet connection, or liking duck-faced weirdos; trying to post witty comments on their profiles just to be liked back. We used to follow influential people, true leaders, now we follow for follow.
Follow my blog. ..for more 🙂