ME: (Tries to work)
MY BRAIN: So how many experience points do you think I have to go?
MY BRAIN: Before I level up.
ME: Level up?
MY BRAIN: I figure I’m multiclass, you know? Like a Chaotic Neutral Ranger/Geek/Pallet Jack Operator. It’ll take me a little longer to get those levels, but in time I’ll be able to — oh, I dunno, shoot two arrows at a time and enchant lifting forks.
ME: Did you start playing mutant D&D when I wasn’t looking?
MY BRAIN: I have decided that real world no longer allows actual accomplishments, so I’m focusing on
leveling up. Oh, and badges.
MY BRAIN: Yesterday I unlocked the Courteous Under Trying Circumstances badge, but as you may have noticed I also unlocked the Creative Swearing badge. And they kind of cancelled each other out.
ME: Who, exactly, is awarding you these badges?
MY BRAIN: Idsquare.
ME: Oh, of course.
MY BRAIN: Every five seconds the super-ego checks in with the id about what state I’m currently in, and depending on where I check in and how long I stay I get badges.
ME: So if you’re polite to a wrong phone number –
MY BRAIN: Badge.
ME: And you don’t take the last bottle of Inko’s when it’s on sale –
MY BRAIN: Badge.
ME: And you figure out how to restack a pallet so it doesn’t fall over –
MY BRAIN: Experience points, duh. Don’t go mixing up my value systems.
ME: You do realize that merely providing a little more of the social axle grease that makes our culture spin properly doesn’t, in the long term, make for a very fulfilling life.
MY BRAIN: No, I got that figured out. The first badge I earned was the Satisfaction with Shallow, Meaningless Achievements badge.
MY BRAIN: I had to win 25 levels of Candy Crush and arrange the refrigerator door condiments into a meaningful pattern. It’s more difficult than you’d think.
ME: So now with the wide world before you, you’re going to settle for that.
MY BRAIN: And be happy! Isn’t it great? It’s like a little sustaining biosphere of self actualization.
ME: I’m not sure I think —
MY BRAIN: Wait a minute. It’d be a little sustaining biosphere of NON-self actualization, wouldn’t it? Still, it’s sustaining. I expect there are trees and carbon dioxide and things.
ME: I’m not sure I think that this is a viable long-term strategy.
MY BRAIN: And already this morning I’ve earned the Keeping You From Work Badge.
MY BRAIN: Just a couple more messed-up spreadsheets and misheard lyrics and I’ll be crowned Mayor Of Getting On Your Last Nerve. Do you have mayoral perks?
ME: I’m not going to reward you for keeping me from getting work done!
MY BRAIN: You’re just asking for a one-star review on Ego Yelp.