By Noah Burd
No, seriously, you’ve gotta see this movie,” Thomas Welsh, 34, said to a homeless man in a park this weekend. “The characters live in real life, only it’s not real life. It’s a computer simulation of real life. But here’s the thing: who’s to say we’re not all just living in a computer simulation?”
Welsh suffers from a rare condition known as Matrix Delusional Disorder, which causes the sufferer to believe that the Matrix is not merely a popular action film with philosophical undertones, but a very probable reality. People with MDD, as it is called, believe it is the year 2209, in a world where humans are all plugged into a giant machine and suspended in electro-amniotic-fluid-filled pods.
Asked if he would take the red pill, Welsh had this to say:
“Definitely. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish to get that chance. I almost did once, when I saw some black guy in sunglasses and a trench coat in the city last year. He wasn’t Morpheus though. I asked.”
Welsh first saw the Wachowski brothers’ film, which stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss, shortly after its release in 1999. The film has since grossed $463 million.
“I’ve seen the film 241 times since then,” Welsh claimed. “You know, just to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Dr. Patrick Reeves, medical researcher at Johns Hopkins University, has been collecting data on MDD for the last decade.
“The first major epidemic hit in 1999 when the film was released in theaters,” he explained. “The trend went global with various international releases. Almost all cases, however, were cured with time. Every once in a while, there will be an outbreak or two with a special edition DVD release or a cable airing.”
Close friend Dave Vernon doesn’t share Welsh’s obsession for the film.
“I mean, I thought the film had an interesting premise,” Vernon said. “But I read some basic scholarship on philosophy and logical reasoning and I’m as sure as I am of anything that we don’t live in a computer.”
Lately, however, Welsh’s MDD has begun to interfere with his life. His behavior has become somewhat reckless.
“I told him how I felt about the film,” Vernon said. “And he took me up to the roof. He was going to jump thirty feet to the next building to prove that the Matrix was real. I barely talked him out of it.”
Ex-girlfriend Linda Batstone also complained of Welsh’s behavior.
“On our first date, he tried to convince me that he didn’t need a condom,” she said. “He just needed to not believe in pregnancy or herpes. He said, ‘Stop trying to avoid getting pregnant, and avoid getting pregnant.’”
When asked his opinions regarding the sequels, Welsh just shook his head and furrowed his brow before responding.
“They didn’t make any sequels to the Matrix,” he said with a menacing frown. “They didn’t! They didn’t! They didn’t!”
Noah Burd is a freshman biology major who took the red pill earlier today and feels pretty shitty now. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.