“Damn those robots!” yelled Ed Kapinsky. “It's like we're never going to get another job because of them.”
Ed was with his wife Linda in their apartment. The two of them were both software developers, but Ed hadn't worked in nine months, and Linda hadn't worked in more than a year. They kept applying for jobs, only to find out later that a robot had been hired.
Linda scanned the online job listings once again, and her face lit up.
“Now, this is the job I want,” she said. It was a high-paying government job opening for a programmer to develop software for an exciting new space mission.
“What are the job requirements?” asked Ed.
“They're asking for 5 years of Transcendent Java, 3 years of DB Universe, 4 years of Multi-3D, and 2 years of Self-Learning SQL,” said Linda.
“That's no good,” said Ed. “You have the 5 years of Transcendent Java and the 2 years of Self-Learning SQL, but you don't have the other two job requirements. I'm the one with 3 years of DB Universe and the 4 years of Multi-3D. Too bad we couldn't combine ourselves into a single person, then we could get that job.”
“Wait a second,” said Linda. “Maybe we could.”
“What do you mean?” asked Ed.
“Ed, have you heard about that new medical procedure called mind linking?” asked Linda. “Quite a few couples are having it done. It's been called the ultimate in marital intimacy. They link up the minds of a husband and a wife, by putting a big wire between their brains, a wire that connects their heads.”
“I've heard of it,” said Ed. “But what good would that do us?”
“Don't you see?” asked Linda. “Together we have all the requirements for that dream job. So we can have the mind link operation done, and then we apply for that job as a single applicant. We'll meet all the job requirements, so they'll have to give us the job test. If we ace that, then we've landed the job of our dreams.”
Ed had some objections, but Linda was able to overcome them. Her final argument was not based on employment considerations.
“Ed, think of it,” said Linda. “When a man and a woman get married, it's supposed to be a union. But what kind of a union is an ordinary marriage? It's just an agreement to stay together until one side wants a divorce. But when a man and a woman have a mind link operation, that's permanent. There's no way to reverse it. Now that's a commitment. Now that's a union. Now that's intimacy. If you really love me, you should want to take this step forward in our relationship.”
Ed found no way to wriggle out of this arm-twisting, so he agreed that they would have the operation to link their brains.
Ed and Linda woke up on the same hospital bed. The operation had been a success. Their two brains had been permanently linked by a red wire about three feet long. The wire could stretch to be a maximum of about seven feet long.
“Does it work?” asked Ed.
“Don't speak, just think, and let's see if I pick up your thoughts,” said Linda.
I love you, thought Ed.
I love you, too, thought Linda. The mind link worked. They could now share each others thoughts directly.
“Let's see if it works with images,” said Ed. “Let's see if I can see what you are seeing in your mind's eye. Visualize something in your mind.”
Linda thought for a moment, and then visualized the Statue of Liberty.
Ed picked up the image from Linda's mind. The image did not interfere with Ed's vision. Instead, Ed saw a kind of a small, transparent, ghostly image of the Statue of Liberty.
“It works!” exclaimed Ed. “You're thinking of the Statue of Liberty. I can see it.”
The doctors finished doing the final checks on Ed and Linda, and then released the patients. They walked home from the hospital.
On the street Ed saw a young blonde woman wearing a very short pair of shorts. She wore a short halter top which highlighted her abundant breasts, and left her navel exposed. Ed mentally undressed the woman in his mind.
“I see what you're thinking,” scolded Linda. “You're thinking of that woman with her clothes off! Oh, Ed, how could you?”
“I'm sorry, honey,” said Ed. “That was just a fluke. She was dressed in an unusually seductive manner. It won't happen again.”
As they walked further, Ed saw a young college student approaching who was prettier and more abundantly endowed than the previous woman he had lusted for. What could he do now to prevent his wife from reading his mind?
Ed remembered the classic science fiction movie Village of the Damned with a plot involving evil mind-reading children. At the end of the movie a man was trying to stop the children from reading his mind, so he kept visualizing over and over again: a brick wall.
As the sexy young college student passed by Ed and Linda on the sidewalk, Ed kept visualizing the same thing over and over.
A brick wall.
A brick wall.
A brick wall.
“Why are you thinking of a brick wall?” asked Linda.
“It's just a device to help me clear my mind, and come up with new ideas,” said Ed.
Finally the day of the big job interview came. Ed and Linda walked into the interview room and handed the manager a single resume. The resume listed all the experience required for the job, but it combined Ed's work experience and Linda's work experience.
When they had emailed their resume, Ed and Linda had used the name of Edward L. Kapinsky. But now at the top of the resume was their full name, which they had legally changed to be Edward Linda Kapinsky. Ever since a notable legal case that they would discuss to the manager, it had been possible for mind-linked married couples to change their two legal names to a be a single name, reflecting their shared identity.
“This is most unusual,” said the manager. “When I got a resume for Edward L. Kapinsky, I was expecting to see a man walk through the door, not a man and a woman with their heads connected together by a wire.”
“You are required by current employment discrimination laws to give us full consideration for this job, without prejudice,” said Ed and Linda, speaking in unison. “Our two minds have been linked, so we should be treated as a single job candidate.”
“Legally, are you two people, or one?” asked the manager.
“We are legally one person,” said Ed and Linda in unison. “The laws were changed a few years ago because of a famous legal case. A man had been mind-linked with his wife, and the man had plotted and committed a murder. The prosecution argued that any mind-linked couple was legally a single person, and that the wife should also go to jail for the crime. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which decided that, yes, any mind-linked couple was a single person in the eyes of the law. Ever since that court decision, it has been possible for mind-linked couples to legally change their legal identities to be a single legal entity. And that is what we did. Ed Kapinsky and Linda Kapinsky became a single legal entity: Edward Linda Kapinsky.”
“Very well, I guess I am legally bound to give you the computerized test,” said the manager.
Ed and Linda took the test together, and they got the top score of any applicant. They were notified that the position would be offered to them. Ed hugged Linda and kissed her tenderly.
“We finally have a job!” Ed said happily. “And the best thing is, we beat out those damn robots!”
On their first day at work Ed and Linda went through the normal co-worker introductions and orientation. They got some strange looks from co-workers, who weren't used to seeing a man and a woman with their heads connected by a big red wire.
“I think we have a gigantic problem,” said Ed. He looked at the red wire connecting his head and Linda's head. The wire could stretch to no longer than seven feet, and could not be removed. Ed also looked at the Men's Room in the office, which was 100 feet away from the Women's Room.
“What on earth are we going to do at this office,” asked Ed, “when one of us needs to go to the bathroom?”