Well, it’s from 2005. In my defense, I was graduating high school then and definitely not reading The New Yorker. But I digress: “Commcomm” by George Saunders. It won the World Fantasy Award. You will laugh and you will cry. It’s like Catch-22, but with ghosts. It’s the future, and our future. Just read it. It’s perfect.
I turn on Tape 9, “Omission/Partial Omission.” When sadness-inducing events occur, the guy says, invoke your Designated Substitute Thoughtstream. Your D.S.T. might be a man falling off a cliff but being caught by a group of good friends. It might be a bowl of steaming soup, if one likes soup. It might be something as distractive/mechanical as walking along a row of cans, kicking them down… My D.S.T. is tapping a thin rock wall with a hammer. When that wall cracks, there’s another underneath. When that wall cracks, there’s another underneath.