``Change my mind?'' said Jeff Marikar. Thinking of the only joke appropriate, ``Is there anything wrong with the one I have?''
The salesman said, ``It could be! Most experts recommend swapping a mind for a new model after about 450 billion thoughts, which comes sooner than you think.''
``Not if I think about it.''
``You understand how fast thoughts count up. Of course, under no circumstances should you tell someone with obsessive-compulsive tendencies about minds wearing out.'' Jeff felt for the bottle of hand sanitizer in his pocket. ``This encourages thinking about how many more thoughts there are until a change is due.''
``Good for the salesman,'' said Jeff, while wondering how coherent an idea had to be before being a thought. (One, two, three -- do thoughts about thoughts count?)
``Yes, but we aren't just in this just for the money. It's for the service, and the money. Now, if you did have compulsive tendencies -- '' Jeff tried to not look hopeful -- ``there's no use trying to forget it as the effort to remember to forget counting down will just wear things down the more quickly.''
Jeff, feeling more helpless, said, ``What would a new model entail?''
``The newest model minds are compatible with 1080 i, which is apparently good for some reason. Don't grimace; have you ever read the information packages? They explain it somewhere, but there's nothing to explain the explanations. But the most dramatic difference with minds from as recent as twelve years ago is the new 3r+4 qual interbase audio module.''
Jeff sensibly made a small whimpering noise and unconsciously slid a foot away.
``Remember how easy it is to get a song stuck in one's head and still have it there for days at a time? Now you can have up to five songs stuck in your head simultaneously.''
``No, just until they all end simultaneously.''
``Do they ever?''
``No, but we can offer an expansion pack that lets you merge songs down when they're fundamentally compatible. For example, you can reduce Van Morrison's `Brown-Eyed Girl' and Don McClean's `American Pie' into one tune.''
Jeff leaned his weight backward. ``I can't imagine how that would improve things.''
The salesman grinned. ``So you see just how you'll have almost instant benefits.''
``I have been with my current mind a long while. Why not just let that stretch out?''
He whipped out a brochure. ``We can help with that. One way is to have vaguely agreeable indistinct mutterings to use in place of conversation. This way you get to be known as a good conversationalist and a great listener.''
Jeff nodded and said uh-huh. Then thinking better of it he said, ``But it also means sometime you discover later that you agreed to run a theatrical silverware company or something.'' He wondered where a pair of words like ``theatrical silverware'' came from, and felt his estimated thought count reach ten and realize that was probably too low.
``Yes, yes. Or try mind-soothing exercises, like getting a tea bag out of its paper envelope without ripping the little isthmuses of paper holding it sealed.'' Seeing Jeff's trouble visualizing this, he added, ``That doesn't always work, of course. Try holding your fingers a set distance apart and moving your hand in and out to see what objects in the room are the same apparent size, or move your lips so they don't match what you're reading.''
``That'll teach people trying to read you lips.''
He nodded. ``Just don't think too hard about that. If you do get a new mind soon we can help you with the rebate, too, since we'll have all the serial numbers and proofs of purchase on hand.''
``It's hard to do that afterwards?''
``Not hard, just people lose important paperwork. For example, see if you can find the sticker label for your most recent tonsil.''
Jeff felt himself retreating. ``For right now I'll just try keeping the old one, I think,'' and winced as he guessed fifteen.
The salesman smiled. ``Of course, take your time. We'll be right here if you do decide otherwise.'' Jeff felt comforted and strangely doomed.
Trivia: Andrew Carnegie donated funds to build the Central American Court of Justice in Costa Rica, which was completed and soon destroyed by earthquake in 1910. Source: The Uncyclopdia, Gideon Haigh.
Currently Reading: How The Scots Invented The Modern World, Arthur Herman.