The new story of Marcelo Birmajer: A world of 20 years

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First of all I will have to ask the kind reader to keep the title he has just read (also praying that the singular reader is not literal, or even that at least that improbable reader actually exists); whose reference to the dearest and soon lost Claudius Levrino it’s not random at all.

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It happens recently, in the ninety-year-old’s brand new book kisser, command, one of the famous people advises: “To understand a person’s perspective, ask yourself what the world was like when that person was 20 years old.” Not how he thought the subject when he was twenty, but what the world was like when that subject was twenty.

Worth repeating to clarify. Here I should note that I am a 20th century man, that I still function the way the world functioned in my twenties – not the way I thought at that age, of which I am largely simply ashamed – and that it is very likely that anyone who understands the following story has also understood the relationship between the title and Claudio Levrino.

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The guest is a slave to circumstances. I mean that if an individual pays on his behalf, he does what he wants (generally disasters with his own life); but if a benefactor pays for travel, accommodation and per diem, the guest is at the mercy of the guest. When I was invited to the event in the neighboring Latin American country, the ticket arrived in the form of a QR.

Several difficulties accompanied this gift whose barcode I shouldn’t look at: my cell phone is the result of the conjunction of a school calculator, a transistor radio and the orange tube of an Entel public telephone. The screen is damaged and the keyboard must be pressed with a force close to that of a touch.

I explained to my benefactors that I was unable to scan a QR code -as well as being completely unaware of its meaning-; They replied that I should download the application. Not only do I not know what an application is, much less how to download it, but I’ve never been a candidate. Neither in primary nor secondary, nor in the rest of my life: in fact, I didn’t even finish tertiary education. The only thing I applied in recent years was the first 122 vaccines against the coronavirus, however, refusing the dose on leap days.

Downloading an application is to me what the moon landing was to humans; a man who wasn’t Armstrong, for example: one small step more expensive than humanity’s giant leap (quote interpreted in its entirety only by those born around the 1970s).

The beloved colored glossy paper ticket or airline ticket, the cardboard boarding pass, if you like with its QR for connoisseurs, why not, is my only sure way to reach a good airport. Strictly speaking, the delay of QR carriers on their latest generation mobiles is much higher than in the happy past when we used the card. But even if the delay were less, I still don’t know how to do it.

The check-in clerk, a Chekhovian character who has become more sophisticated than her current status as interplanetary marketing manager, with a prodigious bib, in the anatomical sense of the term, warned me that without QR I would not be able to board the flight.

‘Miss,’ I specified, even if the nickname of matron, perhaps madonna, suited her much better (it didn’t suit her any more) -. Peace among our Latin American peoples depends on my ascent on this ship. Give the Indian your hand. Already in the past history of our nations we were on the brink of war with Chile, even Uruguay. The country to which I am addressing was in the past the scene of a bloody clash for which we still sympathize. For peace, for hope! Habemus alunque.

It’s not that the person in charge of checking my passport and assigning me a seat took pity, but somehow, amid the din of my proclamations, she ordered me to telephone the company. I was answered by a voice that said: “I am the replica of a human being: infinitely more ineffective than the original. Make your request in the target language, it will be rejected immediately. For complaints: check with the prison authorities”.

What I then performed, I confess without pride: I sneaked in. As in the final of the 1978 World Cup. The recontra espionage operators have become so accustomed to the QR, to virtual work and to tactile Pachamama that anyone, with a minimum of audacity, can show a digital clock like those of our secondary red numbers which sparkle on black background, space invaders style, you can pass as a hot dog in the house.

I showed them my ’82 electric magic board, which I always carry with me in case I want to jot down some forgettable idea, like this one in the works. They asked me for my full vaccination card and I showed them the calendar of the Don Fulgencio, Viamonte and Riobamba pasta factories, open all year round. They also greeted me.

As I had no designated post, they admitted me into the First Division, after locating a small remaining lamp from the Magic Brain, which I light by rubbing like Tom Hanks in Shipwrecked.

I was drinking the cocktail without tac, with fresh adobe proteins and ethyl alcohol, without gender or quantity, when I noticed the ship’s steward walking towards me. I wasn’t alarmed.

“He will come to greet me from the crew, probably commissioned by my guests from across the border”, I consoled myself in silence.

“Sir,” the flight attendant explained, her tone calm but stern. We scanned it. We performed optometric, facial, muscle tone, and sexual stamina recognition. We cannot detail the latter out of respect for passenger privacy, but the results are unfortunate. Not only were you not allowed to travel first class: you couldn’t even board this plane. You have to retire.

“With pleasure,” I agreed, relieved. Now I transfer to economy class, or the bathroom, whichever you prefer, until I land. Subsequently, I will no longer choose this airline, even if they give me the ticket, even if the pilot, upon landing, suggests repeating the experience.

“You don’t understand,” the flight attendant unabashedly postulated (I wrote it without correction!). There is no place for you on this plane. You should parachute right away.

– But I have never used a parachute in my life! -I appealed- Much less to jump out of a plane.

“Don’t worry,” he reassured me. Download the application in flight and you will understand everything before landing. The important thing is to bend your knees when landing.

Now you can congratulate me that I never got rid of my old Olivetti, ideal for writing in free fall and without Wi-Fi. If you receive this note, say hello to the surviving Rookie Skydiver. Or maybe it will still come to them: what the wind held. See you.


Source: Clarin

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