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Monday, Apr 21, 2014
Steve Otto

Otto: Sacrificing sanity for national security

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To be honest I was a little miffed when I pulled up into our driveway and saw the black van with the antenna on top.

The Frau is never happy with the cable company and every few months wants to switch back to the other guys who end up being just as bad as the first company. This time I figured she must have ordered a satellite dish.

Sure enough, as I walked in the door there were two service men over behind our TV, running wires somewhere.

“Honey!’’ I called and she came out of the kitchen.

“Did you order up a satellite dish? I wish we could at least talk about these things before ...’’

“They just showed up,’’ she said. “They said they were from the government; I think they said National Security Agency and were working our block this week.’’

“Yes sir,’’ said one of them as I walked over to the TV. “We’ve just about finished with your TVs, although we still have to hit a few more of your appliances and then we will be out of your hair.’’

“What are you doing to our TVs?’’ I said. “And what do you mean you need to do something to our appliances?’’

“I’m glad you asked, Mr. Otto. We are dedicated to transparency and think you have every right to ask what we are doing, which of course is protecting you in the global war on terrorism.

“Let me show you. You know that for years we have been able to track what shows you and your family are watching at any given time. Now, with this new G40 Rationalthinking Adjuster, we can select the programs for you. Say, for example, you are watching one of those news shows that doesn’t fit our current thinking. The G40 will automatically switch you over to a station with more clear-thinking news.’’

Tracking Fido

It was then that another man in black coveralls emerged from our bedroom.

“I think we got everything covered,’’ he said to the other man. “She had more shoes than usual so I had to get some more Peditrakkers from the truck and a couple of minicameras for the dogs but I think we have everything else.’’

“Peditrakkers and minicameras?’’ I asked.

“Well, just to be sure, we like to have Peditrakkers on every shoe in the family, just so we can always find you on the ‘Goodneighbor’ satellite. And we’ve found that cameras attached to the dogs are also good for keeping track of you in the house. We tried to do the same with cats but for some reason they didn’t seem to care where you went.

“Oh, and would you be kind enough to sign this receipt. Your new American Home Security kit is actually only a rental, except for the food pods attached to your can opener and refrigerator that inject tracking pellets into what you eat so we can better monitor your dietary habits and make modifications when necessary. You will need to bring them down to your local county center every three months for servicing.’’

“Wait a minute,’’ I said. “Maybe I don’t want all this stuff in my house. Who can I call to have something done about this?’’

“Not to worry sir,’’ said the first man as they headed out to their van, “anytime you are on your phone just say, ‘I am having a problem’ and within minutes we will have a drone circling your house. Have a nice day.’’

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