You wake up unable to feel anything because your nerve endings have all simultaneously died overnight and you can no longer register the sensation of touch. At first, refusing to believe that your body could betray you so callously, you continue to caress other people. You hug and cuddle and kiss your loved ones like crazy, desperate for things to revert back to normal. But your efforts prove fruitless. The activities that once brought you immense pleasure are no longer effective. Robbed of your inner joy, you reduce yourself to gawking creepily at strangers as they engage in public displays of affection, hoping to experience the rewards of human contact vicariously. You also start watching A LOT of porn.
2. Quality Time
An asteroid strikes Earth and as far as you know, you are the only living being left in the rubble. There isn’t a single person for you to hang out with, but a modicum of hope that you’ll encounter another survivor keeps you going—one brutal, severely lonely day after the next. As you sleep, your mind teases you with dreams of the world you once knew, but you wake up every single morning to the depressing realization that you might never spend quality time with another person again. You travel as far and wide as you possibly can in search of company, but never meet another soul on any of your journeys. Instead, you start talking to cockroaches, eventually adopting one as your pet, whom you call Fred.
3. Words Of Affirmation
After being wrongly convicted of a very serious crime, you are sentenced to life in complete silence. No one is allowed to speak to you, let alone say positive, reassuring things to you. It doesn’t matter how well you behave or how kindly you act towards others because everyone is barred from flattering you with even a hint of verbal affirmation. All of your frenzied attempts to interact with others go completely unacknowledged. Eventually, because everyone tires of your pouty face and your increasingly pathetic attempts at communication, you’re forced to wear a muzzle in public. Bit by bit, the universal silent treatment eats away at your once mirthful soul.
When several horrific events across the world are traced back to well regarded, pillar-of-the-community types, everyone becomes highly suspicious of those who try too hard to be kind. The entire world agrees that “generous spirits” are a threat to society, and that those who thrive off of doing nice things for others are not to be trusted. International leaders declare that there is no such thing as a truly selfless gesture, and declare acts of service punishable by death. In the name of preventing further deceit and disaster, strict policies are instituted banning everything from holding doors open for strangers to cooking dinner for friends and picking up your significant other’s laundry. Starting at age 16, you must do everything for yourself and yourself only. If you attempt to help another person out by easing their burden somehow, you will be jailed and/or executed immediately, depending on the severity of your misdeeds.
5. Receiving Gifts
You are beamed to a parallel universe that looks exactly like Earth as you know it, with one key difference: Every single inhabitant has the power to conjure whatever they want with a snap of their fingers. You cannot present anyone with an object demonstrating your affection and/or appreciation because everyone literally has everything they want and need in life. From birth, people are trained to meet their every whim within seconds. Not even a DIY gift stands out in a place where even the most nuanced thing can be replicated within seconds. No one wants for anything on this planet, and no one is capable of recognizing the meaning or thoughtfulness behind any gift.