I was this close to having the perfect life, but the Random Check wrecked everything.
My name is Jimmy Ridge, and for almost nine years I lived on the dark as well as the bright side of life. Most days, I was a near-perfect husband, father and business executive: dependable, consistent, capable. You needed something, I was there for you.
Do this too long, and eventually you burn out. Folks will tell you otherwise, but such a life is too predictable, too deadening. You can’t be there for others if all the life has been sucked out of you.
I’m not the only one who feels this way, so eventually I found a sexy ball of energy named Laura. One thing led to another, and 3-4 times a year we’d sneak away for a wild romp: partying in Mexico, gambling in Vegas, or even just finding a cabin in the woods and shutting off the world.
Talented as I am at many things, I truly excel at deception. Being detail-oriented and disciplined, I can construct perfect cover stories and stick to them. Laura is even better.
So for eight wonderful years, I had a free pass to use every quarter. Leave responsibilities behind. Cut completely loose. Come back a new man (but not too new, that would invite scrutiny.)
It kills me that I never heard about Random Check, that no one told me it was a glorified trap for cheating spouses, lying employees and common criminals. I thought it was just a toy, nothing more.
Here’s how it went down.
One night, my wife and I were relaxing in the family room and she showed me Random Check, which she explained as one of our teenager’s latest games. It was just a headset connected to a game on her tablet. She told me the game could detect when I recognized something personal, and dared me to beat it.
The game pulled images from our family photos and mixed them up with scores of others. So I’d see photos of eight different kids, then one of our son. Bingo! Every time, the PERSONAL light would glow, sometimes even before I consciously realized it was my child.
Same thing happened with my dog, my house, my car. I could never conceal my reaction. The pesky thing was reading my mind.
You can guess what happened next. Photos of a bunch of women flashed by, and then one of Laura. PERSONAL flashed. I could hear the air punched out of my wife’s gut. She’d had suspicions – I still don’t know how – but wasn’t sure. Now she was. That was the end of my marriage, my perfect life.
I may be saying this wrong, but it turns out there’s something called a P300 potential in our brains. When we recognize something, it shrieks, “Aha!” And there ain’t a damn thing we can do about it.
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