Response to Karl Taro Greenfeld's "Howard Stringer's Vision", an article published in Wired magazine about Sony's gamble on 3-D televisions.
Hideki could handle a 2-D world. Even natural 3-D was fine. Virtual 3-D brought the shakes on, the harrowing stomach seizures and bone chills that rattled his skull and induced pain that started in the temples and slid back along his skull like skin drying crackling tight until his spine spewed pain like a monkey hammering mallets upon a xylophone but no sound coming out just the throbbing pain that caused Hideki to roll up into a ball.
Hideki waited in Doctor Kabuki's lounge with his black glasses that hid his eyes and more importantly blocked his view of the three 3-D televisions each blaring a different channel with the audio shaping so patients could choose which program they wanted to watch by where they sat in the room. Perhaps, there were even more, but Hideki didn't dare doff his glasses. In the early days, it would take a quarter hour or longer before he'd react to the sets, but now it just took a glimpse and he didn't even need the 3-D stereoscopic goggles.
Hideki shuffled towards the nurse looking underneath the bottom edge of his glasses where he watched the chair legs. The nurse bumped her arm against his and he grasped it has she led him back to one of the patient rooms. He heard the electric hum of the video display and knew that even here it wasn't safe to remove his spectacles.
"How long have you been blind?" asked the nurse.
If only it had been as simple as blindness, not this debilitating affliction. "Not blind, I'm allergic to virtual 3-D."
"I've heard the virtual 3-D displays caused some subjects to have feelings of vertigo, but the research showed that with time the effects went away."
"Ten years." And all of his friends, even his family. Virtual 3-D was a drug and withdrawal symptoms set in when the display didn't hover somewhere on the edge of their vision.
"I'm sorry. Well, Doctor Kabuki is an expert ophthalmologist and I'm sure he'll have you cured."
Six weeks passed and everyday Hideki woke up hoping to hear a reply from Doctor Kabuki, but no messages came.
A knock at his door.
No one visited him, the knock repeated itself and a muffled voice shouting his name. Hideki opened the door and stared at the white slacks over faux-alligator leather boots.
"Hideki, why didn't you answer my e-mails?" Concern laced Dr. Kabuki's voice as he shuffled on the flat's black mat in the hallway.
"Can't." Hadn't Doctor Kabuki listened to him. "They don't make 2-D displays anymore."
"Well, no matter. Do you mind if I come in?"
"No... no." He watched the doctor's legs walk into the apartment and then he closed the door. "Did you find a cure?"
"We looked at the blood work, it was amazing. We have never come across a specimen quite like you and the genes consist of the perfect collection of combinations to result in an adverse concoction that creates that effect that you feel when you see the 3-D displays."
"There is nothing you can do." Hideki wanted to swallow a finger of scotch.
"No, but I had an idea. If you just read your e-mail, it would have been a lot faster. But never mind. Have you ever thought about being one of the astronauts to Mars? So far, they haven't found anyone fit enough for the journey."
"They get sick from sensory deprivation?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
Hideki didn't need to think about it, he realized he'd be a perfect specimen. He needed that sensory deprivation. "I'll do it."