The Paranoia Gap Must Be Closed!


My dander is up! My red, white and blue pride has been pricked and I want some payback toot sweet! We all "know" America is Number One, even though the rest of the world seems to think we smell like number two. Never mind that. We’ve been outdone.

Our loyal merchants of death (in that Special Relationship dedicated to toppling governments, selling arms, and spreading war), the British, have one-upped us. How can this be possible?

Comes the crisis of the Wheelie Bin.

Considered by the Brits to be parvenu gangsters, Yanks prefer to spit out less refined words such as "trashcans." To be more specific, wheelie bins are those trashcans with wheels that Sanitation Trucks can pick up easily without a single human hand getting soiled. Perish the thought of getting one’s hands soiled while doing some dirty business.

Okay so what’s the big deal? I’ll tell you. Great Britain has found a way to impose more and better paranoia and control over Her Majesty’s "free" subjects. Blair has bugged their wheelie bins! That’s right, bugged. Tiny little electronic sensors have been secretly hidden in them to monitor rubbish contents. It’s about time too! We can’t have people tossing out their refuse without some sort of governmental surveillance program.

The problem seems to be that once in a while Andy Capp has one too enough pints of Guinness after the football match. Then in his blubbering inebriated state, he accidentally tosses his two-dozen plus empty cans into the wheelie bin marked "Bangers and Mash" instead of diligently placing them in the bin marked "aluminium" (pronounced al loo MIN eeum). This makes the weight of the wheelie bin much too heavy. Thanks to the secret electronic device, the Sanitation Truck measures the excess weight, and Andy gets a whoppin’ big penalty for his indiscretion. Never mind the fact that as a drunken blithering idiot he’s a public nuisance. That’s culture. Having an extra pound of aluminium in the usual daily household flotsam and jetsam simply isn’t cricket and Andy must go before the magistrate to be ordered to pay his debt to society.

Hold on mate! What’s all this then? I don’t know how that wretched computer chip can tell the difference in weight between a few cans or bottles and, say, a ceramic statue-of-a-lady-that-is-not-art tossed out by Mrs. Capp in disgust. But that’s beside the point. Andy’s headed for the dock.

Supposing Andy Capp refuses to pay up? UK prisons are overcrowded. Victims of real crimes are not getting a fair deal from the courts. Hmmm, well, we here in the US are Britain’s allies aren’t we? We could lend a helping hand by whisking Andy off to a secret detention camp for a few years of detox.

What a great idea! That’ll cut down on his drinking problem.

But I digress. Are we going to let the Brits outdo us in the area of garbage surveillance and monitoring? NO WAY!

Let your fearful mind luxuriate in the multifarious unintended consequences of that itty-bitty wheelie bin computer chip. How about electronic monitoring devices on the john! That’ll make sure you correctly chew your food and eat right. Sorry Mr. Clinton, our telemetry indicates you’ve been consuming too many Big Macs. This is not healthy. You must come downtown for a mandatory Nourishment Augmentation Program. If you are not healthy, you are not free. We are doing this to protect you.

We already have black boxes on our new cars for our… uh, safety. That makes sense. Let’s see, Detroit builds cars with several hundred horsepower, they show us commercials on television depicting how sporty and fast the new V-8 Chevy Sturmtrooper is. We take out a second mortgage to buy one so that we can enjoy the freedom of the open road. And then they stick in an electronic device to bust our sorry asses for exceeding the 70 mph speed limit. That’s logical.

Where else could we install these computer chips — the dishwasher? The laundry? The water-heater? The swimming pool? The dog-dish? How about this? There should be an electronic device placed inside every Television set, which not only automatically turns on FOX News for several hours a day but also will not allow you to turn it off. I think Dick Cheney has a prototype in the works. In fact, he’s been testing it out. And just to make sure you watch, let’s stick a little bug in that old comfy LA-Z-BOY to make sure you’re sitting and watching. Of course you could just pile a couple sacks of potatoes in the chair. The chip would be fooled. Of course if you’re a member of Congress it won’t make any difference.

Does any of this sound familiar? Hmmm… I think I read something like this in a book once during my youth. I’d go check but, I’d be reported to Homeland Security by the Librarian.

So what are we waiting for America? Let’s get a move on! We cannot allow a wheelie bin surveillance chip gap! Let’s get them installed now, while we still have the chance, before our way of life is destroyed. To be sure we do this right, we will also need to create a new federally funded and incompetent, Department of Biodegradables, Recyclables and Indestructibles Surveillance: DEBRIS. That should provide jobs for thousands.

Oh and a bit of advice to my British readers. Take an old screwdriver, locate those bloody little gizmos and jam the screwdriver in hard. Go ahead. Do it now. You have the freedom to do it. Just do it at night when nobody’s looking. Make sure you shoot out that security camera on the street corner first.

Or better yet, switch your wheelie bin with that neighbor across the street, you know, the guy you hate? Did you say you lived at Number 9 Downing Street…..? Do it while he’s not looking. Yeah Baby! Switch with that wanker at Number 10 and go ahead, fill yours with something really heavy! How about some nice well-thumbed Dirty Books?

Elizabeth Gyllensvard edited and contributed to this article.