How We Saved The World

by Robert Alan Silverstein

You can meet the oddest people in cyberspace.  But today I had the strangest encounter ever.  My head's still spinning, and I'm not sure where to start, but I've just got to share this with you.

Okay, so, I'm hanging out in the Kindness Kids! chat room. It's a cool place.  I've met a lot of neat people there -- it's really restored my faith in humanity, if you know what I mean. You know, discovering that there are other 12 year olds that care about the mess the world's in.  And you know, I think our web pages and chat group is really making a difference -- encouraging each other, sharing ideas about how we can help out in our communities, with the homeless, and the environment...and stuff like that...

Anyway, today a bunch of the regulars were there, and we were enjoying ourselves, catching up on each others' lives, shooting the breeze, you know  -- we don't spend all our time trying to save the world!

And so TotallyRad is writing out a message about some new totally radical game he just got and to be honest I was getting a little bored and I typed in a few "uh huh's..." and some {{{ }}}} and !!!!'s and whatever, and I flip through the chat list to see who else's in the room.  Then I did a double take when I saw DayDreamer up near the top. DayDreamer is my screen name, and I'd already scrolled past it five names ago.  I scrolled down again, then up. Hmm... Strange.

Then I get an "instant message." It's from DayDreamer.

"Hi, Bob.  It's me, Bob."

A wave of panic swept over me. Somebody had access to my screen name and who knows who else this person was contacting saying it was me!

"Who are you, and why are you using my screen name?"

"It's my screen name, too ;-)"

Now I really started to panic.  I looked down and saw that everybody was just chatting away, oblivious to this weird predicament I seemed to be in. I decided to key over to BILLING and report that someone had stolen my screen name.  But just as I started tapping, DayDreamer flashed another message.

"Wait, Bob.  Let me explain."

I waited.  "Well..." I tapped when nothing came.

"Well...I'm you.  Only I'm you in an alternate dimension."

"Oh brother," I moaned out loud and I checked to make sure that I had my CHAT SAVE on so that I could turn it over to Billing or TOS or wherever it is you're supposed to go to report this kind of problem.

"LOL!" my fingers pounded sarcastically.

"It's true.  It's the exact same universe as yours, but with one difference.  In this one Kindness Kids teams literally save the world."

"Uh, huh."

"It's true.  It's a peacetopian world! There's no more pain and suffering. There's peace on earth, and everyone is happy. No one goes hungry, there aren't any more wars, and the earth has never been healthier..."

"Sounds like a wonderful life!" my fingers snickered.

"IT IS!  Each day is full of awe and wonder -- another day to discover new things and grow and share..."

I sighed.  I didn't know what to answer. 

"I'm writing you so that you can help make our universes parallel again.  My world's heading towards an even more wondrous future, but every moment our worlds are growing further and further apart."

Of course I didn't believe a word of this. But this guy, whoever he was, had definitely piqued my interest. I love a good happily ever after fairy tale.

"And just how do we 'save the world'?"

"Actually it was really simple.  We posted a story on our Kindness Kids Network web page..."

"A story changed the world."

"Actually it did."

"And just what was this story."

"Well, we made up this story about a health care conspiracy."

"You don't need to make up a story about that -- it's in the papers all the time!"

"Well this is different.  Ever hear of pergoria?"


"Well, it's this disease where a kid ages much faster than he's supposed to, so that a 12 year old kid's body ages to look like a 60 year old's..."

"Sounds like a Robin Williams movie.  I saw the trailers, but didn't see the movie."

"Well, it's a real disease.  And it's genetic. Anyway, we got to thinking, why is that if a genetic disease causes these kids to age faster than normal, no one's done any research into figuring out how to reverse the process, not just in kids with this disease, but in everyone..."

"Hmm...And why is it?"

"We didn't know.  Then we thought about a documentary we'd seen about the common cold where these scientists said we could have cured it long ago, but the pharmaceutical companies stop all the research projects that get anywhere near a cure -- they just want to come up with drugs that treat the symptoms.  If they CURED it they'd be out of a lot of money..."

"So you think maybe there's a conspiracy out there?"

"Why not.  Think about all the researchers working all around the world in universities, hospitals, drug companies, government agencies -- do you know that with millions of scientists working day and night year after year only one disease has actually been cured in the past century!"


"So you wrote about this scandal and it changed the world?"

"That's all we did.  At the end of the story we said we were setting up an organization, LIFE - Living Immortality For Everyone - that would be a central clearinghouse for all scientific achievements.  We invited the world to join together to try to end human suffering by sharing their information and funding the research efforts."

"And everyone accepted your invitation and the world was changed overnight!?"

"Well, basically...It wasn't overnight, but it was much faster than anyone could have imagined! There really was a 'conspiracy' of sorts.  No one person was behind it, but it was sort of a general way of thinking that was keeping any advances from being made. 

“People had grown to distrust science, and drug companies WERE stopping projects that would have led places, and well, basically, it was just because no one had set up any plan or made this an agenda that people could work together on...anyway... what happened was that someone saw our web page and linked it to this underground scientific network..."

"And they had the answers to cure all the diseases in the world?"

"No, but it turns out there were hundreds of scientific networks out there, and LIFE really did become a central clearinghouse.  Someone set up a database for us.  Different groups volunteered to sort out the research and scientists started collaborating and it sort of snowballed... "

"But I thought the drug companies were cutting off important projects..."

"They were, but LIFE was able to change the way projects were funded. The National Enquirer wrote up a story about LIFE and it turned into a regular column, and soon the media was talking about LIFE non-stop.  We incorporated LIFE and once we were a non-profit organization we started getting these huge checks to fund all the research projects..."


"Yeah, it was amazing. I mean once the first disease was cured, people really started listening.  It's all the media was talking about. The possibility and ramifications of living forever was debated on TV and in stories and books and movies.  Everywhere.  And every argument that someone would bring up saying why it wouldn't be good if people didn't die from diseases and aging, well other people wrote about solutions...It's amazing how creative people are, and how much we all have to share, once we're given a chance...

"I mean for all of humanity's existence people have been forced to work at jobs they couldn't stand, just to make a living.  All the talents that were wasted because people had to push papers around or create things that destroyed the environment or simply caused people's lives to be more hectic and more miserable.  Given the chance to focus on ways to make life better for the planet and everyone on it, well, it sort of united the whole know, like how the world joined together in INDEPENDENCE DAY to fight the aliens -- well human suffering was now the enemy -- and because for the first time there was a possibility that it COULD happen, people joined together and worked to make it happen! 

"It was a wonderful time.  There was so much hope and people were so happy to be 'fighting a good fight' -- it's really what everyone had been missing in their lives -- something to really give their all for, knowing that if they worked hard together they COULD do it!  And we did."

"So people don't die anymore?"

"Well, it's not real immortality - we call it 'emortality'.  There are accidents where the person is just too far gone to be saved, but we're working on that.  And oddly enough, a large population has chosen to age naturally, without any illnesses or diseases of course. That's their choice... But the thing is, life is valued -- for the first time really, and that makes all the difference.  Everyone has a chance to do the thing in life that makes him or her happy.  Everyone has hope, which we never had before.  It's really so wonderful to be alive here."

"But isn't the world overcrowded with no one dying?"

"Millions of people live in biospheres floating in space -- little man-made mini-planets. And so far people have journeyed to hundreds of different planets.  We've met intelligent creatures on several so far, and it's only helped broaden our understanding of life and the universe... and..."

"Well, now that the battle's been won, what does everyone live for?"

"What do we live for?  Each day is a new experience to be treasured and shared.  There's so much to know, so many different things to experience.  So much love in each of us to share.  Each of us lives to enjoy life and to share the joy life brings us with everyone around us. It's a wonderful enriching circle of love that binds us all and it just grows and grows."

"Wow, and all that came from just writing a story."

"It did, Bob.  It might not happen as quickly in your world. We've already diverged so much that you might have missed some of the chances for all the 'coincidences' that worked together to make it happen the way it happened here.  But I know that you have to start the ball rolling and that another set of coincidences will lead you back to parallel our universe... 

"So write the story in your world, and see what happens.  I can't wait until your universe experiences the peacetopian joy that we've found.  Good luck..."

And then there was only one DayDreamer in the list of chat names.

"YO BOB, Iz you there or ain't you!" Rad was flashing me.

"Huh!" I gasped and my fingers were sitting quietly on the keyboard.

"HELLO!  HELLO!" he chimed on my screen.  

"Yeah, I'm here," I tapped, and I wrote the group about what happened. 

"COOL STORY!" CranBear wrote. Everyone agreed that I should post it, though obviously no one believed it had happened. 

"{{{{You never know :-)}}}}" NerveAnna flashed.

And so, here it is.  Will posting this story usher in a new peacetopian age of wonder and adventure?  You never know :-)


© 2003 Robert Alan

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