dinsdag, februari 11, 2003

In the Land of Terror and Code Orange

Ever since last Friday afternoon, when the flunkies in Homeland Security announced the decision to increase the threat condition designation from elevated to high (yellow to orange for those of you interested in color perception theories), I've been slinking around my apartment, ferreting out odd smells, odd people, unusual weather patterns and of course, odd "chatter".

Chatter, you see, is a euphemism for terrorists talking among themselves about blowing us up or poisoning us, etc. Well, they don't actually say they're going to blow us up or pour poison in our water supplies or rip out the eyes of our kitty cats with rusty pliers. They're too clever for that. That's why we have the Department of Homeland Security: to interpret their chatter and give us a rough idea when we're going to be blown to bits or at the very least, to give us plenty of time to be able to worry about being blown to bits.

In fact, not only do they interpret chatter and give us a rough idea of when we're going to be blown into little teeny, tiny pieces, but they also are nice enough to give us advice about how to prepare for these kinds of terrorist events. For example, they advise us to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal up windows and doors. Thank you Homeland Security. Without this advice, I might have been trying to seal up my windows and doors with papier-mache or silk scarves. I might have used glue or masking tape instead of duct tape to seal it and then where would I have been? Dead, that's where. This sort of advise is invaluable. Life-saving.

Yes, I know that the total US military spending next year will head well over $400 billion, not including the billions it will cost for a war with Iraq. And I know that it seems a little insane that the best advise and protection we get for that $400 billion is duct tape and plastic sheeting but let's be real folks. How many of YOU would have thought up that duct tape and plastic sheeting all by yourselves? Can't you see how indispensible Homeland Security is?

As if we weren't already rich with information and advice, they even advise us to stockpile "disaster supply kits" with enough food, water and medicine to last for three days. Sounds more like we're preparing for the Super Bowl Weekend than a terrorist attack. If we're being attacked by terrorists and its a disaster, wouldn't I want some sort of firearms or other weapons to protect myself with? I doubt they're sending troops off to combat with just enough food and water and medicine to keep them going while they slaughter the infidels. No, I'll bet they get all sorts of neat, million dollar weapons to protect themselves with.

By the way, one question I have for Homeland Security is whether or not my "disaster supply kit" left over from the last hysterical, Chicken Little warnings of our impending doom are still good. Remember Y2K? Six months of canned beans and bottled water all for naught.

As part of its Orange Alert, the feds have also sent an advisory to utility operators to warn them how to sniff out terrorists making weapons of mass destruction. Part of a government information bulletin sent nationwide Friday cited unexplained and unusual odors on a list of potential indicators of weapons of mass destruction threats or incidents.

"Smells may range from fruity/flowery to sharp/pungent, garlic/horseradishlike, bitter almonds, peach kernels and new mown grass/hay," the joint FBI-Homeland Security Department bulletin advised.

This doesn't really narrow it down as far as the scope of smells goes. NYC is filled with millions of immigrants who have brought all sorts of funny smelling ethnic cooking over with them. The hallways of everyone's apartment buildings are filled with them. And what about the everyday sort of body odor people carry with them in crowded, closed places like the subway, for example? How do I tell the difference between some bastard who hasn't had a shower in three days and a real, live terrorist attack? And what the hell do peach kernels smell like? How the hell am I supposed to know peach kernals when I smell them? Run around to fruit markets ripping open peaches and sticking my nose in them, inhaling deeply? What about egg salad smells and gastro-intestinal emissions from people who stayed up late eating goulash and sauerkraut all night? What do they count for?

The memo, billed as a homeland security update with a section on potential indicators of weapons of mass destruction, did not say what the odors could indicate. Just that they're indicative of something. And there's probably alot of chattering going on. These terrorists are full of chatter. You'd think they were all off somewhere playing pepper, giving each other that kind of unintelligible encouragement you hear from shortstops and third basemen as the pitcher is winding up to throw a strike. Maybe terrorists are all closet baseball fans. Chatterboxes. Terrorist baseball chatterboxes: Is this the kind of chatter they're overhearing? If so, we'd all better don our protective chemical suits because that sure SOUNDS like people plotting to blow us up and gas us into the 22nd century. "Swingbattahbattahswing!"

And believe me, most of all, I'm learning quickly from the Bush Administration and Homeland Security that if I don't know someone and they're chattering, or if a smell is out of place, or if the weather is not to my liking or if even people I know just SEEM to act suspicious then by God, chances are, they are terrorists or they are plotting secretly to be terrorists and I'd better kill them now before they have a chance to kill me.

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