Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How (not) to end up on a government watch list

If government watch lists really exist, that is. I don't know for sure because I've heard about these watch lists from conspiracy theorists, and therefore they are unverified (Note: I'm about to make a lot of completely satirical comments about conspiracy theorists and the government. If you are a conspiracy theorist and are easily offended or were born without a sense of humor, you should probably stop reading here. Although you may want to look into another line of work, because being an easily offended conspiracy theorist is probably not for you. They get made fun of and/or called crazy nutso lunatics a lot. Just a heads up. Though now that I think about it, conspiracy theorist-ism probably is more of a hobby than a profession.)

The long arm of the law
I feel like I'm going to get myself in trouble sooner or later with the overarching governmental authorities solely because I have an innate inability to take things seriously. Yes, they tell you not to joke around about hiding bombs in your panties when you go through airport security. But somehow I always manage to make at least one inappropriate bomb-in-bra joke. It's bad, I know it's bad. Lots of people have real true post traumatic issues and it's really sad and they should receive all the help and benefits and stuff because I know it would be awful to have a bomb go off anywhere near me, ever. I am not brave, and I would like to pretend I am a super ninja bad-ass, but I'm not. I'm actually really patriotic when I can be serious for two seconds, and very grateful for people serving and fighting and stuff. Bombs are serious and not to joke around about. But I can't help picturing those giant bowling ball looking ones with the fuse on them, the kind Wile E. Coyote tries to drop on the Roadrunner all the time, in a person's bra where their boobies should be. And in my head they go through the X-ray scanner and the picture comes up and there's these bombs with the fuses burning and the security guys come a-running.

 But anyway, back to the point. Me. Trouble. Big-mouth. I could probably end this post right here and the people who know me would completely understand. My husband [who I feel like I should give a title to, so he can remain anonymous in case more than six people read this blog. I mean there should be a disclaimer, like "The following blog is a paid program and in no way reflects the ideals, values and beliefs of So-and-so Blank, Julie Simmons-Wixom's husband." Although I guess putting my own real name on there makes it hard for him to stay anonymous. Still, I should call him something cool, like the Captain or Mr. Spock. Sometimes I call him the Marine, because he used to be a Marine and he still sometimes gets all stern and Marine-like and sexy. I could call him Rocketman, because that was his nickname in high school (but not in a dirty way). He was a really fast runner on the track team and stuff. Okay, I'll call him Rocketman for today. Because he should be exempt from any connection with my crazy, except the whole legally-bound-to-me-for-life thing. But that shouldn't make him land on a watch list just because of guilt by association. This is the longest parenthetical aside ever.] is kind of a conspiracy theorist himself, so I hear all these weird ideas about Planet X and the zombie virus and aliens and secret government projects and whatnot. It's exciting to live with the possibility that there is all kinds of wacky stuff out there that could possibly invade or infect us all. I like the adrenaline high of living on the edge.

So the other day my sister-in-law (she gets a secret identity too-- codename: Special K) and I were at the Target checkout counter. And the kid asked to see my driver's license, which they scan every time you buy certain items (cold medicine, alcohol, machetes). I asked him if he could just not scan it, because I'd heard from someone that when they scan your license they track you and I didn't want to government to know how much cold medicine or machetes or ninja throwing stars I purchase on a regular basis. The manager kid was right there-- totally adorable 20-something kid-- and he got in on the conversation too. He said whoever told me that was a conspiracy theorist and I shouldn't worry about it. But then I said how do I know you aren't a secret undercover government agent just trying to fool me into scanning my license? 

And I told him if he was a secret government agent, I had a few questions for him. Like maybe he could clear up the thing about voting, because I also heard that people shouldn't vote because if you vote Republican (which I'm not saying I do but this is what that guy said) then they track you because you probably own guns and they want to keep an eye on you. Which is silly because ninjas are way deadlier than guns when used properly, and no one can track the number of ninjas you have. But anyway. A different conspiracy theorist told me the thing about voting. I hope I’m not outing all the CT’s in my life (I had to abbreviate because I’m tired of typing out “conspiracy theorist.” Although I just typed it again plus the extra word explaining said abbreviation). And before everyone gets on my case about mocking politics and stuff, since voting and elections are such a hot button issue right now, remember the point of this post. How me running my mouth can and probably eventually will get me into trouble. I think it’s unfair though, that there’s all kinds of comedians out there making inappropriate jokes about whatever they want, in public, on a stage, and you never hear about them getting hauled away for questioning in a room with a two-way mirror thingie where the guys sit on the other side making monkey faces. I don’t believe for one second that they’re standing back there analyzing and profiling. No, that’s just how they do it on Law and Order. They are totally back there making faces.

The Target guys were laughing for the most part, but they did get kind of serious at the end because my diatribe kept going and going and I think they started to worry that I was serious. When we got home Special K was still laughing pretty hysterically because she knows me well enough to know that I am never serious, but the Rocketman said I was lucky they didn't call Target security on me and hold me without cause and send me away to Gitmo for running my mouth. But did I listen? Did I learn? No. I never do. Because the very next day I was actually in a government office answering some official questions (on a totally different matter unrelated to my cold medicine and machete purchases) and the lady was asking all these questions off a clipboard. And one was ethnicity, and she asked if anyone was Native American. I said, "I don't think so but even if we were I don't think I'd tell you because we’re staging a coup. The government owes my people some buffalo. But I don’t think I want to be listed as any ethnicity in case the government doesn't like my kind of people and gets all internment camp on us, like if you're Canadian. Although with Canadians they probably just throw them out of America on their butts. But then again, people are kind of down on being white, too. It's not like back in the day, you know, before 1865 and stuff. Now it's probably better to be some ethnicity. But I can't decide what would be the safest. Probably best to just put us down as Canadians."

I tend to keep talking if no one stops me. And of course I know that there are no Canadian internment camps and Canada is just a really nice but very cold country where they say 'eh' a lot.  But the lady clearly couldn't tell that I was joking because she looked at me like I was completely insane and then made a little note on her clipboard. And I'm pretty sure I made it on a government watch list, just like that.

And now I’ve done it once more, but this time here on the interwebs for all to see. I feel like the guy they’d assign to watch list me would be an overweight bald dude with jelly doughnut on his shirt named Ralph (sorry to those named Ralph, but that’s just the name I picture him having, because let’s face it, it’s unfortunate to have a name that doubles as an euphemism for the act of projectile-ing a bodily fluid). I’m just saying. They’re not going to put James Bond on me. I kind of wish they would. Although I guess he's not a government agent and also he's British and I don't think they'd do an intercontinental agent transfer thing just for me. Plus I'm kind of fuzzy on the James Bond franchise but I feel like he's more of a freelancer type in some ways, because he mostly seems to ignore whatever Miss Moneypenny says and just does whatever he wants. 

And then I went home and wrote the outline for a short story about getting on government watch lists. Because by then it was all I could think about. I get on a tangent about something and sooner or later it turns into a story, with characters like Ralph and a song and dance sequence. And to Ralph, who may be reading this at this very moment: thanks for protecting the world from loonies, but I am not out to get the government. It would take way too much effort and focus and besides I really like voting and roads and military protection. No, I am just a writer. Freak.

Julie Simmons-Wixom lives in a bunker high atop a mountain far far away. If you are looking to put her on any lists, email her here as it is her only way of communicating.

 Like, share, and/or leave a comment if you think this post is wackadoo and the person writing it should be tested for insanity. 

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