For those who don’t know, it’s recently been leaked that the National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to track, record, and store every phone call, text message, and email we send. Not only that, but they’ve been doing it. In secret. Nobody told me, at least. As with most current events, I found out about this a week or so after the story had surfaced and it ruined my day in a way that not even chicken pad thai (extra spicy) could remedy, though it never hurts to try. And despite the fact that the woman behind the counter seemed more interested in whether or not I wanted chop sticks than all her personal correspondences being the property of the federal government threw me a bit, I came to the conclusion that she and I were here at Lemon Thai on Highland St. for the same reason. We didn’t want to think about it today. Thus, we’d go about our daily routine — her, making thai food and me, eating it with a fork.
As it turns out, no amount of sugary noodles is sufficient to make me feel peachy about surrendering all my privacy to Big Brother. I say this as someone with an amount of pathetic emails to ex-girlfriends and sorta-ex-girlfriends embarrassingly disproportionate to the amount of women I’ve actually dated/sorta dated and as someone who has–one time–purchased hand cream online, though isn’t particularly proud of it (figured I’d preempt that little secret before it ends up on the CIA’s twitter page with the hashtag #handcreamisforgirls).
I calmed down after a few days. I realized it’s doubtful that anyone in the Federal Government cares enough about me to listen in on me ordering Papa John’s or arguing with an Indian Bank Of America employee about ten-dollar overdraft fees for forty-five minutes. Although, given the sheer chutzpah of my text message activity, it wouldn’t surprise me if, in the interest of national security, my texts have been red-flagged with some frequency. Examples (continue at your own risk):
Me: hey did i leave my sweatshirt at yr house?
Other Person: is it green?
Me: blue. check behind the dvd thing
Other Person: i don’t see it
Me: nevermind i found it
Other Person: what do you wanna do for dinner?
Me: how bout like a pasta thing
Me: what wuz the name of that bruce willis movie you liked?
Other Person: the whole nine yards
Me: is it playing at coolidge?
Other Person: nah that movie’s like twelve years old
Me: hey did you get my txt last night?
Other Person: no
Before you report me to whichever terrorist activity hotline you frequent, consider the fact that, even if I were a terrorist (which I’m not), I’d be terrible at it. I have virtually no sense of direction, for one thing, and maps freak me out. Combine this with the fact that I get extremely nervous under pressure and it’s as sure as anything I’d miss whatever attack I was supposed to carry out in lieu of taking more than the recommended dose of anxiety medication, overeating, and vomiting in my hotel bathroom (do they give you a hotel room?). I’m less the grievanced, politically-motivated type than the sweaty, nervous one.
So why, exactly, does the NSA need my personal correspondences? Because we have to get the real terrorists. Because they’re coming to get us. Because the rules have changed. Because 9/11 and fuck you, that’s why. It’s a classic response–I still get a kick out of it every time. It’s kinda like when the Ninja Turtles would yell “cowabunga!” at the climax of every episode before downing some pizza and beating up the bad guys. It never gets old. Except instead of busting into Shredder’s lair, we bust into Iraq, allow warrantless searches and wire-taps, maintain an extra-legal prison/torture camp in Cuba, detain people without charges, assassinate American citizens, and collect everybody’s private information in secret. Cowabunga, dude!
But unlike those dastardly terrorists, I’ve got nothing to hide, so I’ll be fine. In a way, it’s kinda empowering to know that the only two dickpics I ever sent could sit framed in the oval office at this very moment. Not that their quality is particularly presidential. And I’m not so deluded as to think that, given his pick of every dickpic ever sent within the United States, President Obama would choose my unshaven, circumcised mess to keep on his desk. The possibility is tantalizing; that’s all I’m saying. If that’s the worst I have to endure to bring terror to its knees, then I’m a soldier for the cause. I’ll start CCing the Pentagon on all dick-related correspondence.
You might roll your eyes, You might say “hey, what about that whole Fourth Amendment thing? Doesn’t it say something like ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized?’” To that we say 9/11 and fuck you. Terrorist. And don’t be surprised if you end up naked in a jail cell whining about miranda rights and fair trials. We’ll probably give you a wet willy too.