What if the world was constructed in such a way that, at some point, you were required to make a decision about how you would experience pain? I mean, you have a certain individual allotment of pain you are ordained to experience in your life; you are asked to decide how you want to experience that pain. Do you want to take it as it comes? Do you want to get it all over with in a day? Do you want to spread your pain out evenly over all the days of your life?

I imagine that spreading it out evenly would result in some kind of low-grade malaise, an out-of-sorts kind of feeling, that would be with you always. At the other end of the spectrum, you could elect to take it all in over a 24 hour period: a pain nova, but after it’s over, physically you’d experience no more pain during the rest of your days. I know there are sound physiological reasons that we experience pain, but I imagine that alternatives could be put in place. For instance, if a person who never has to experience pain again touches a hot stove, instead of pain, he experiences a sudden winter freeze in Fargo, or cows mooing. Something of that nature.

I imagine that I would pick the pain nova. I imagine also that the election would be a big deal, like getting your driver’s license or having sex for the first time. Friends and acquaintances would dissect your decision. Those that elected to feel out-of-sorts for the rest of their lives, I imagine, would be few, as would the 24-hour electors.

I would like to live in a world wherein that decision could be made. I’m not in pain now; I’m just sayin’.

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