strap your hands across my engines, but please sign this waiver first

It may seem difficult to believe now that the practice is so commonplace, but the ability to switch bodies with other humans was once so unpopular that its developers briefly considered discontinuing altogether the technology which made it possible. The big break occurred when a once-popular singing duo switched bodies for a day as a means to garner publicity for their new record. Despite the nationwide mockery that followed the resulting album’s disappointing sales, the experiment did much to dispel public fears about safety and questions regarding privacy (both seldom-expressed concerns in those times characterized by compulsive sharing of personal information on social networks) that had heretofore been a part of virtually every cocktail party conversation about switching bodies with another person.

The explosive growth of the industry surrounding body-switching in the years that followed more than made up for the trend’s slow germination period. Plainville, KS, home to what was then the world’s only body-switching machine, soon eclipsed Hawai’i, Las Vegas, and the Virgin Islands as an American tourist destination, as those who could afford the luxury “tried on” the bodies of colleagues and friends during stays at one of the dozen top-flight resorts which had been rapidly constructed over eminent domain-seized wheat fields.

Inevitably came the greater availability of body-switching technology in the form of a chain of franchised operations based on the Plainville model. Switching bodies soon became an important rite of passage in the friendships of those who tried it, signifying ultimate trust in another with the temporary stewardship of one’s most valuable possession, their very self.  With time, body-switching increased across more varied social strata, resulting in a greater understanding between people of different walks of life. Thanks to vital research conducted while switching bodies with patients, doctors’ more intimate knowledge of the symptoms of rare diseases greatly improved their ability to treat them. New breakthroughs in the design of items from doorknobs to scissors to bathroom fixtures significantly reduced the statistical likelihood of accidental death among left-handed persons. Cosmopolitan magazine made note of the rise in body-switching between husbands and wives, which coincided with an abrupt decline in anal sex among married couples.

Just as mankind appeared on the cusp of a new golden age of harmonious living, however, a new and troublesome direction developed among users of body-switching technology. Switchers, as they were now called, feeling more and more comfortable living in another person’s skin, soon began recklessly switching bodies with complete strangers, often without keeping track of whose body they were currently occupying, sometimes even switching to another body before switching back to their own first, greatly complicating the process by which they and the person they had originally switched bodies with could return to their own bodies, respectively.

Like all great advances throughout history, body-switching has raised nearly as many questions as it has answered. Indeed, many eyebrows went up once Rush Limbaugh began advocating for inner-city infrastructure and developing a taste for menthol cigarettes. The National Basketball Association faces an uncertain future after its season was cut short this year due to an epidemic of door frame-related head injuries among its tallest players. It seems the only thing we can reliably stake our future on is the resurgence of corner delis, whose existence was once threatened in an economy where fewer people were carrying cash. It has been a source of national hope that these small businesses are thriving once again, as credit card companies worldwide have gone out of business since many of their customers could no longer verify their mothers’ maiden names.

h/t kyle


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