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Programmed For Happiness
I am a robot. Program me as you wish. Stab at my buttons, yank at my wires. Plug me in when you need me; unplug me when you’re done with me. Twist my knobs till I can’t breathe.
At 7:05 A.M. my alarm clock goes off. I slap at it, scream at it, and beg for it to silence. I beg for it to stop waking me up each day. I beg for it to stop initiating the torture. But it won’t stop, and I’m convinced it won’t ever stop. So I am forced to crawl out of my bed and prepare for the pain. But I have learned that you’re never actually prepared.
My mom begs for me to get up and start getting changed, but she understands my lack of enthusiasm. She understands that school has hurt one of her children. She understands, but still, she watches as it begins to break down another child.
I put on my uniform and stare in the mirror. I stare at that logo on my sweater. That logo that I had always been so proud of until it decided to hurt me for no reason. I think of the suffering that school has done to all of us, and still, I put on the uniform and represent a school that has created a bunch of robots.
My dad drops me off at school after a silent car ride. He fakes a smile and tells me to “try to have a good day,” but we both know that will be unsuccessful.
I enter the school’s doors and instantly feels the controllers program me for that day. I feel them looking at me. I feel them operating on me. I feel them whispering in my ear, telling me what to do. Telling me how to live.
I walk down the halls but feel like I’m not even walking at all. People stare at me, but I just see through them. They think I’m just walking alone, but I’m not. I’m walking with him. Me and my enemy. Me and my controller. I hold back the tears because the water would damage my equipment.
I look at that student next to her. That perfect student who gets straight As. That student who I envy because it always seems to come naturally to him. I watch as the teacher hands back a B that he receives on his paper. I stare at him because he’s about to cry. He is about to explode because failure is not an option. That is not how he was programmed. I worry because I see his wires getting pulled. I see them hurting him. I see them operating on him. He is going crazy. And now I don’t envy him. Now I am scared of him.
He needs to be re-programmed.
Weeks go on like blurs. Stairwells. Students. Stress. I don’t choose to remember it. That pain, that agony, that torture, always remains a blur because the blur somehow makes me pretend like the sadness isn’t real. She tries to pretend like she can escape their control but she can’t. They won’t let her go. They won’t let her be.
Why are they forcing a perfection that doesn’t even exist? Why do they think it is okay to make me go crazy? Help me. Heal me. I can’t live in this chaos anymore. My head hurts; my mind is racing. A bug is trapped in my brain, biting on my wires. Attacking my insides. Someone is controlling me. Get me out of here. Let me go. You’re hurting me, can’t you see it. You’re making me scream. Listen to me because I can’t yell any louder.
They finally heard my cry but they didn’t actually listen to the reason why I was crying. They connected some wires. They added some new controls and got rid of some old ones. They pulled here, and they pulled there. They fixed me so that I would always feel the same as everyone else. They programmed me so that she could be happy living in this hell.
Everyone knows that this system is wrong, but we don’t say anything because we are afraid of what they’ll do to us. They will destroy us.
But no matter what, the controller always re-programs us so the system runs smoothly. Failure is unacceptable.
I know you hear me, Mr. Controller.
I know you enjoy operating on me.
But I beg you to listen, just once more:
Let my battery drain, and please don’t ever charge me again.