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Chapter 7
Alternate Arts and Culture

An Operation To Forget

by LAURIE NEIDERGAARDEN, Alternate Reality News Service Medical Writer

For Bogert Skyler, the last straw was Hugh Grant facing charges over claims that he attacked a photographer with a tub of baked beans. Like many of us, Skyler wondered why he was giving precious space in his memory and consciousness to such inane and useless trivia.

“Uhh, yeah, it must have been something like that,” Skyler dully explained.

Unlike most of us, Skyler did something about the problem. He went to eVolv (formerly the town of Lvov) in Poland, to the Meyerhoffer Clinic, which promised to remove the offending memories from his mind. “It’s not brainwashing,” Skyler stated. “It’s more like brain rinsing in a basin and hanging on a line to dry.”

According to its Web site, The Meyerhoffer Clinic uses the latest brain imaging technology to pinpoint where certain memories are stored. Then, using a combination of laser, radiation and surgical techniques, it removes the parts of the brain related to cultural trivia that the patient no longer wishes to know.

“Embarrassed that you know more about Angelina Jolie’s relationship to Brad Pitt than you do about your own spouse?” the Web site explains. “The Meyerhoffer Clinic can help you forget Brad and Angelina ever existed. What happens next is up to you!”

Soon after being treated at the clinic, friends and family of Skyler noticed that he wasn’t quite the same person. “He…he didn’t know what bananas are,” his mother, Hermione, described. “At first, he tried to bluff his way through – you know how young men are – by telling us that they were sex toys.

“Explaining to my 29 year-old son that a banana is not a sex toy was one of the saddest days of my life.”

When I tried to contact the Meyerhoffer Clinic by phone, I got a message telling me that the number had never existed. When I sent an email to the address on the Web site, I received the following two paragraph response:

“The Meyerhoffer Clinic is a legitimate medical fecelity [sic] that offers to simplify your life by removing the trivia that we accumulate daily in our brains. Our patented Meyehoffer Reduction System sheds those unwanted thoughts/ideas/memories and gives your brain more room for the important things in life, like car insurance or remembering your mother-in-law’s birthday.

“Our client list includes many internationally renowned politicians, figures from the entertainment world and taxi-dermists [sic?]. Of course, because of patient-doctor confidentiality, we cannot tell you who they are. But, boy, would you be impressed if you knew! Impressed that we are, as we say, a totally legitimate medical facileity [sic].”

Biff LaBeouf, neuroscientist and third ranked professional skiboarder in Austria, had never heard of the Meyerhoffer Clinic, but he did have reservations about the process of brain erasure. “That sh-t is insane!” he stated.

Memories are stored in the connections across several neurons in the brain. If you remove one of the neurons, it not only weakens the one memory you want to get rid of, but also other memories that it’s a part of. “It’s like…” LaBeouf strained for an appropriate metaphor, “like…the road system, right? Say you blast one road because you…I don’t know – the pavement is cracked and it’s ugly and it’s bringing down property values. Maybe you don’t want people from that street coming to your street. The problem is, that street also gives you access to other streets you might want to go to. Now, if you blast enough streets because you don’t want people using them – I don’t know why, just…stay with me on this, okay? – if you do that, you’ll end up not being able to go everywhere you want to go.

“That’s how complicated the brain is.”

Bogert Skyler has been home for over three months. He claims not to know who Paris Hilton is, and any mention of Bruce Willis is met with a blank stare. Many people would envy him.

On the other hand, he seems to think that George W. Bush is a species of hermit crab, and that purple is a form of communications device, smaller than a telephone and able to transmit images.

“I never realized he was so worried about this stuff,” Bogert’s mother said. “I mean, if it was so important to him not to know any of this, why didn’t he just turn off the TV?”

Why, indeed.

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