Sunday, June 16, 2013

Relax. You're Not That Interesting!


Maybe Rockwell had it right?
http://youtu.be/7YvAYIJSSZYY
You know why we are so paranoid about "Big Brother"?
Because we're stuck on ourselves. I mean, really, who cares what I am doing besides me and a few scattered people that share my DNA or real estate?
Evidently, Google, Apple, Facebook, WalMart and Amazon care.
According to the news this morning, they are all "following" me and they are pretty good stalkers. They watch where I shop, what I buy, when I visit grandma and how often I go to the beach. Never mind the government! The government not only watches--following me with "eye in the sky" type cameras and undercover surveillance, it listens in on my phone calls, or at the very least keeps track of them. They know when I call my sister. My Mom. My doctor. And if I ever say the words: "Islam", "Jihad", "CIA", "FBI" or "Hillary" they scramble to hit the red record button. Knowing this, if I do happen to say one of these words while talking on the phone, I quickly follow up with, "Hi guys."
I'm not worried.
At all.
Look, I know some people are paranoid about our information being sold, used against us or that big businesses or people in power could use what they've learned about our traveling, eating and buying habits to manipulate or control us, but I am just not that paranoid. I guess I just don't think I'm all that interesting. I figure there are several hundred million people ahead of me on any list with the title: "People of Interest."
Not that I don't have fascinating moments at times.
Sometimes, I get up later than 4 a.m.
I've been on Romper Room.
I saw Kobe Bryant at an IHOP.
I am lactose intolerant.
Go ahead. Use any of that against me. Just keep in mind Big Brother, I was only ten when I was on Romper Room. So what if I put the wrong hand over my heart when I led the rest of the kids in the Pledge of the Allegiance?  It was a honest mistake. I love America. Really, really, REALLY love America. Can't you see the flag outside my door? Oh that's right, you can.

Yesterday, I almost bought Stephen King's new book at WalMart. That would have really thrown off WalMart's tracking system! I never buy horror books, but I saw an interview with King on the Today Show and I was curious, so I almost bought it. Can you imagine what would have happened if I had? I bet alarms at corporate headquarters would have gone off as I swiped my credit card and authorized my transaction. A technician manning the Monitor, Oversee & Manipulate (M.O.M.) system in a hot, crowded warehouse in Bangladesh would have shouted into the intercom: "Red Alert! Red Alert! (or is it Read Alert?) Hope Horner just bought a Stephen King book! We thought she was a Christian! Adjust! Adjust! ADJUST!" Then in a dimly lit back room without ventilation, guys making twenty cents more an hour would discuss the plan of action before taking their twelve minute lunch break. "Let's see. Her last ten purchases were books about faith, Jesus, Cesar Milan, you know wholesome topics. Something is wrong! We must adjust our manipulation tactics if in fact we can determine that her identity has not been hijacked by a horror loving heathen! Quick! See if she ever read Pet Cemetery or Carrie!" Then they would take a collective deep breath, cough into bloody handkerchiefs, then adjust M.O.M.'s stalker settings and place a note on my account: "May be backsliding. Or could be a gift. Stay tuned."
I decided to check the book out from the local library instead, where they track everything I read.
What? It's called the Summer Reading Program. Calm down.

I understand the worry that this is a slippery slope--one minute these companies are watching us buy our 423rd box of super tampons and the next minute we're wearing silver helmets and talking like Yoda while advertisements flash on our retinas. But I just don't think we have all that much to worry about. I really don't. And here's how you can join me in worry free living despite all the tracking and monitoring going on:

  1. Stay boring.
  2. Do not name your daughter Hillary. Or Pentagon. 
  3. If you buy fertilizer or nails and especially if you buy them together online, make sure you take pictures of your child's fort and your new garden and post them both on Facebook. Tweet about how awesome you are at home improvement projects.
  4. Say hi to the government when you use your phone. Be friendly. And speak up! Most of the time they are asleep when you're talking. (Sorry, casserole recipes and who you saw at your son's soccer game in pants that were too tight just isn't that fascinating to anyone else besides you, despite what your family members and friends may say.) 
  5. When on the phone or talking in public, don't use words found in government de-briefing documents like "opposition forces" "military presence" or "politically expedient." Not because you may end up on a government watch list, but because it will bore your friends and family.
  6. Every once in awhile buy a Stephen King book and then follow it up with the purchase of a New Testament. Eventually, the trackers will give up. Or they'll take you off their lists entirely.
  7. Stop worrying. Amazon is our friend. WalMart wants to be helpful. Apple aims to please. Ads tailored to our needs are great time-savers.Custom coupons save us money. Emails from China for male enhancement supplements just means you need to adjust your spam filter.
Everything fine, will be, my friends.
Hello?

-Hope A. Horner, 2013
www.hopehorner.com / Follow on Twitter @HopeNote
For print use, contact author on gmail at hopeh1122.

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