02x29 - The Obsolete Man

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.

A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.

That's the signpost up ahead. Your next stop, the twilight zone.

Wordsworth, romney.


He's waiting, chancellor.

Order him in.

Wordsworth, romney.


You walk into this room at your own risk because it leads to the future, not a future that will be, but one that might be.

This is not anew world.

It is simply an extension of what began in the old one.

It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time.

It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom.

But like every one of the superstates that preceded it, it has one iron rule:

Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace.

This is Mr. Romney wordsworth in his last 48 hours on earth.

He's a citizen of the state, but will soon have to be eliminated because he's built out of flesh and because he has a mind.

Mr. Romney wordsworth, who will draw his last breaths in the twilight zone.

Wordsworth, romney. Field investigation finding: Obsolescence.

Do you know why you're here, Mr. Wordsworth?

Yes, sir.

I'd ask you to speak up a little, if you will.

Yes, sir, I know why I'm here.

You've been under investigation for the mandatory period of one year and 11 months. You're found to be obsolete.

The purpose of this hearing is to make a finding in the matter and make a sentence accordingly. Do you understand that?

I understand that.

Your occupation, mr. Wordsworth?

A librarian, sir.

A what?

A librarian, sir.

Has this man had counsel?

Yes, sir, he has.

Are you sure he knows his rights?

He's been given orientation, sir.

Mr. Wordsworth, I'm told that you've had coun... stand back in the light, Mr. Wordsworth!

I'm told you've had counsel and been given orientation, mr. Wordsworth, but I'm still not sure in my own mind that you understand the purpose of this hearing.

The field investigators in your sector have classified you as obsolete.

This finding carries with it serious implications.

Do you understand that, Mr. Wordsworth?

Now I'll ask you again your occupation.

I am a librarian, sir. That /s my occupation. That is my profession.

If you people choose to call that "obsolete"...

Request clarification of the term.

Yes, the term, Mr. Wordsworth, "you people", you make reference to the state?

I make reference to the state.

You persist in declaring your occupation as being a librarian. Is that correct?

That is correct, sir.

A librarian.

Having to do with books.

Yes, sir, books.

But since there are no more books, Mr. Wordsworth, there are no more libraries.

And, of course, it follows that there is very little call for the services of a librarian.

Case in point: A minister.

A minister would tell us that his function is that of preaching the word of god.

And, of course, it follows that since the state has proven that there is no god, that would make the function of a minister somewhat academic, as well.

There is a god.

You are in error, mr. Wordsworth.

There is no god!

The state has proven that there is no god!

You cannot erase god with an edict!

You are obsolete, mr. Wordsworth.

A lie. No man is obsolete.

You have no function, mr. Wordsworth.

You're an anachronism, like a ghost from another time.

I am nothing more than a reminder to you that you cannot destroy truth by burning pages.

You're a bug, mr. Wordsworth, a crawling insect.

An ugly, misformed little creature who has no purpose here, no meaning.

I am a human being.

You're a librarian, mr. Wordsworth.

You're a dealer in books and two-cent fines and pamphlets and closed stacks and the musty insides of a language factory that spews out meaningless words on an assembly line.

Words, Mr. Wordsworth, that have no substance and no dimension.

Like air, like the wind, like a vacuum that you make believe has an existence by scr/bbl/ing index numbers on little cards.

I don't care. I tell you I don't care.

I'm a human being. I exist!

And if I speak one thought aloud, that thought l/ves, even after I'm shoveled into my grave!

Delusions, Mr. Wordsworth, delusions that you inject into your veins with printer's ink.

The narcotics that you call literature.

The bible, poetry, essays.

All kind, all of it an opiate to make you think you have a strength when you have no strength at all.

You have nothing but spindly limbs and a dream, and the state has no use for your kind!

You waste our time, mr. Wordsworth, and you're not worth the waste.

Instruct him.

Romney wordsworth, step back to await the finding of this board.

Yes, sir.

How do you find, ladies and gentlemen?



I concur.

Romney wordsworth, step forward.

The board finds you obsolete.

Your rights are as follows, Mr. Wordsworth:

You are to be liquidated within a period of 48 hours, but you have an option as to method and precise time.

There are several prescribed methods, mr. Wordsworth.

Pills, gas, electrocution.

And it can be done immediately, or an hour from now or any specific time that you request.

I am a very rich man.


I merely said that I was a very rich man.

I have such a luxury of choices that I choose the following:

To be given an assassin to whom I shall tell the method of my execution.

This is unheard of.

Mr. Wordsworth, we don't understand the nature of the request.

Simply that you are to assign me my assassin, but only he and I will know the way that I'm to die.

That will be acceptable, mr. Wordsworth, provided your liquidation is accomplished within the 48-hour period.

Just one final request.

I should like to die with an audience.

Ah, Mr. Wordsworth, that can be arranged, indeed.

It's not unusual that we televise executions.

It has an educative effect on the population.

I have no doubt.

Now, as to the time of the liquidation, mr. Wordsworth.

Midnight, tomorrow.

And the place?

In my room.

Agreed, Mr. Wordsworth.

We will choose your liquidator and send him over to you.

He will be duty bound, just as you prescribed, not to divulge the method you've decided upon.

That will be all, mr. Wordsworth.

You may leave and return to your room.

An odd one, and with very bizarre requests.

Bizarre, yes, but to our advantage.

We'll show the people how this obsolete man, this librarian, dies.

Come in, chancellor.

Thank you for coming.

Very irregular, mr. Wordsworth.

Do you know why I've come? Do you?

Well, I invited you.

By all means, you invited me, but why would I honor such an invitation?

A cryptic note from a condemned man asking me to visit him in the last hours of his life.

Hardly the norm, mr. Wordsworth, hardly what I'm accustomed to.

And somewhat suspect, too.

How do I know I wasn't invited here for that last pitiful gesture of vengeance on the part of the condemned?


Yes, I'm somewhat responsible for the finding in your case.

Your demise in less than an hour can be attributed at least in part to my decision.

I'll tell you why I came, Mr. Wordsworth.

Perhaps to prove something to you.

And that is?

To prove to you that the state has no fears, none at all.

No, you will forgive me, chancellor.

That has all the elements of a joke.

I mean, you come to my room to prove that the state isn't afraid of me?

Oh, what an incredible burden I must be, to have to prove that the state isn't afraid of an obsolete librarian like myself.

No, I'll tell you the reason you came.

I'll tell you the reason, though you won't admit it to yourself.

Now it's my turn to ask, what might that be?

I don't fit your formulae.

Somewhere along the line, there's been a deviation from the norm.

Your state has everything categorized, indexed, tagged.

You are the strength. People like me are the weakness.

You control and order and dictate, and my kind merely follow and obey.

But something's gone wrong, hasn't it? I don't fit, do 1?

Oh, yes, you fit, mr. Wordsworth.

In a few moments, you'll be cringing and pleading just like they all do. Oh, yes, indeed, you f/t.

You've got a worthless, miserable little life, but you've got an instinct for survival.

And in a few minutes, when you feel life slipping away, when you feel your survival is just a question of minutes, we'll see then which is the stronger, Mr. Wordsworth, the the state or the librarian.

I take it you've had a talk with whoever is assigned to your liquidation.

Yes, I have, indeed.

Midnight, isn't it?

Yes, in about 40 minutes.

See, they brought this equipment here early this afternoon.

These two men put that up in less than 15 minutes.

It's remote control. Very efficient.

Well, we're being televised now.

It's not unusual that we televise executions, mr. Wordsworth.

Last year, in the mass executions, we televised around the clock.

Thirteen hundred people were put to death in less than six hours.

You never learn, do you? History teaches you nothing.

On the contrary, history teaches us a great deal.

We had predecessors who had the beginnings of the right idea.

Yes, hitler.

Hitler, of course. Stalin, too. But their error was not one of excess.

It was simply not going far enough. Too many undesirables were left around, and undesirables eventually form a core of resistance.

Old people, for example, clutch at the past and won't accept the new.

The sick, the maimed, an the deformed.

They fasten onto the healthy body and damage it, so we eliminate them.

And people like yourself, they can perform no useful function for the state, so we put an end to them.

What a charming room you have, Mr. Wordsworth. Have you lived here long?

Over 20 years. I built that furniture myself.

Yes, so I understand, mr. Wordsworth.

That, incidentally, has kept you alive, that particular talent.

Carpentry, you see, is a skill, and the state provides considerable leeway for people who possess certain skills.

Unfortunately, you went as far as you could go, which was insufficient.

So, in a few moments, it will be the end of a rather fruitless life and Mr. Romney wordsworth, librarian, goes to his own nirvana.

That's what they call it in your books, isn't it, Mr. Wordsworth?

You aren't facing the camera, Mr. Wordsworth.

You're cheating your audience. They want to see how you die.

Please, Mr. Wordsworth, turn around, face the camera. That's right.

Don't stifle your emotions. If you feel like crying, go ahead and cry.

Or if you want to plead, plead, by all means.

Some high state official might take pity on you.

Yes, that would please you, would it? Alittle abject hand-wringing, chest pounding, falling down on my hands and knees.

Suit yourself, mr. Wordsworth.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to be entertained by them when they do come.

I have another appointment this evening.


Make it brief, mr. Wordsworth.

You have plenty of time. You're not going anywhere.

How's that?

I'm afraid I haven't been very fair with you.

I invited you here for a very special reason.

Would you like to know the method that I've chosen for my liquidation?

Well, in a very few moments, here in this room, a bomb is going off.

Very thoughtful, mr. Wordsworth.

Relatively quick and painless death.

Yes, isn't it? However, knowing that you're going to be blown to smithereens ina few moments, isn't the happiest thought in the world, isit? 2 is it?

That depends on the individual, mr. Wordsworth.

Indeed it does.

What kind of idiocy is this, Mr. Wordsworth? You've locked the door.

Oh, yes, yes, I've locked the door. Now, question, how does a man react to the knowledge that he's gonna be blown to bits within a half an hour?

Answer: That depends on the individual.

So, for myself, I'm going to sit down and read my bible.

It's been hidden here for over 20 years.

It's a crime punishable by death, so it's the only possession that I have that has any value at all to me.

So I'm going to just sit down and read it until the moment of my death.

How will you spend your last moments, chancellor?

This is insane, wordsworth. Let me out of here.

Let me out of here, someone! Guards, someone, anyone!

You're cheating the audience. You're not facing the cameras.

Guards, somebody down there!

There is no sense in wasting your breath. There's nobody there.

That's one of the rules you made up yourself: Isolate the persons to be liquidated.

That's what you said. Oh, no, no, no, no.

I think that there's no one there, so why don't you face the camera?

It's very important. You said so yourself.

I'm beginning to understand, a shoe on the other foot. That's the idea, isn't it?

It's one thing for someone like yourself to do a little cringing, pleading, but what a choice opportunity to show a member of the state doing likewise.

But you're insane if you think they'll let me stay here.

"they"? I ask clarification of the term "they."

Ah, you mean the state! Oh, I think they'll sit on their hands for awhile.

They wouldn't wanna miss this scene.

Besides, the act of rescue would be very demeaning to them.

To have to break in here and rescue a high-ranking member of the state, to snatch him out of the soup, so to speak.

No, I think they won't help you.

I misuiudged you, wordsworth.

You underestimated me.

You wanted the whole country to see the way that a librarian dies.

Well, let the whole country see the way an official of the state dies, too.

Face the cameras, step into the light.

Let the whole country see the strength of the state, the resilience of the state, the courage of the state.

Let the whole country see the way a valiant man of steel faces his death.

You have a nirvana coming up, too.

Why don't you just sit down? We'll have a little chat.

Just you and me, and the great equalizer, ‘cause death is a great equalizer.

So here you have, you have this strong, handsome, uniformed, bemedaled symbol of giant authority, and this insignificant librarian, and suddenly, in the eyes of god, there is precious little to distinguish us.

We shall see, wordsworth, we shall see.

"the lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

"he maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

"he leadeth me beside the still waters.

"he restoreth my soul.

"he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his namesake.

"yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

"thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

"thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

"thou anointest my head with oijl.

"my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

"defend me from them that rise up against me.

"deliver me from the workers of inequity

"and save me from the bloody men.

"for, lo, they lie in wait for my soul.

"the mighty are gathered against me, "not for my transgressions, not for my sins, o god.

"they run and prepare themselves without my fault.

"awake to help me, and behold.

Then, therefore, o lord, god of hosts."

"the fool hath said in his heart, "there is no god.

"the lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men

"to see if there were any that did understand and seek god."

"out of the depths have I called unto thee, o, lord.

"lord, hear my voice.

Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications." please, please, let me out.

In the name of god, let me out!

Let me out! Let me out!

Yes, chancellor, in the name of god, I will let you out.

Stand where you are. No further.

You have been removed from office. The field investigators have declared you obsolete.


You have disgraced the state. You have proven yourself a coward.

You have therefore no function.

You are obsolete!

But I'm not. I'm not obsolete.

You are obsolete.

Obsolete, obsolete.

You are obsolete.

You're making a terrible mistake, a tragic mistake.

I'm not obsolete. I've worked for the state. I've helped the state.

I helped give the state strength.

How can you call me obsolete? How can you?

Please, I'm not obsolete.

Please, I... please, I'm not obsolete.

I- have a function, I have a purpose.

Please, I... please.

I want to serve the state, please. Please, no, I'm...

I'm not obsolete.

No, no, [-i... Please, please. I'm not obsolete, no!

I want to serve the state.

Please, please!


I want to serve the state.

Please, I'm... I'm not obsolete.

The chancellor, the late chancellor, was only partly correct. He was obsolete, but so is the state, the entity he worshipped.

Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete.

A case to be filed under "m" for mankind in the twilight zone.

Rod serling, creator of the twilight zone, will tell you about next week's story after this word from our alternate sponsor.

And now, Mr. Serling.

I'm about to show you a picture of something that isn't what it looks like.

Pleasant little town? It isn't this at all. It's a nightmare.

It's a chilling, frightening journey of one man into a mystifying unknown.

You're invited to join that man in a most unique experience.

Next week, earl holliman asks, and you'll ask with him, "where is everybody?" here's an item we forgot. A moment for the people who pay the tab.

It's often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, case in point.

Before we meet again, try oasis. You'll know what I mean.