Tag Archives: satire

Living with Batman Syndrome

Batman, the ride
Batman, the ride

You or someone you know might be suffering from a debilitating condition, one casting darkness over your outlook, attitude, and wardrobe. If left untreated, it can manifest through violence, erratic behavior, and a very specific dance. It can be triggered by life events: the loss of a job, a relationship, or the death of one’s parents. Those afflicted cannot will themselves out, after all, it’s their “will to act” that got them into it.

Symptoms include a loss of interest in socializing, prolonged feelings of guilt, and a fear of flying rodents. Those with the condition may have trouble sleeping, unless suspended upside down. They may feel persistent pain in their overworked glamour muscles, resulting in a puffing of the chest and a broadening of the shoulders. They may experience an overconfidence in their martial arts ability, followed by a compulsion to get into situations to demonstrate it. This is known as ‘restless fist syndrome.’

In worst case scenarios, those with the condition have a death wish involving a spiked wall, a vat of chemicals, or an automated freeze ray.

I’m of course referring to Batman Syndrome.

The condition is often misdiagnosed as asthma, due to the patient slipping into ‘gravel speak’, wheezing through lines from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, often dialogue never spoken by Batman himself. Coughing through quotes like, “Not the hero the city deserves, but the hero the it needs,” they may sound as if they’ve run up several flights of stairs.

Once the condition has gotten this far, the effects may be irreversible. That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms early on.

Mr. Freeze gets the Dark Knight into the holiday spirit
Mr. Freeze gets the Dark Knight into the holiday spirit

Warning Signs

Early warning signs someone may be developing the condition include:

  • Tying a towel around their neck, they leave it long after their hair has dried.
  • They draw abs, and or nipples, on the outside of their clothes.
  • They paint their mirror so only their lips and chin are visible.
  • Their pants are weighed down by an assortment of nonlethal weapons, bundled nets, and shark repellent.
  • Trickling sweat, draws attention to the bodysuit peaking out from their collar.
  • Distracted, they look for grappling points on nearby buildings.
  • Looking away, you catch them trying to disappear in the middle of a conversation.
  • Beating around the bush, they ask if anyone you know has access to any ‘lightweight fabrics,’ for a friend.
  • They refer to you as, “My ward, old chum,” or “boy wonder,” despite your age or gender.
  • They suffer anxiety during public functions, checking windows for sniper positions. They look over every security guard at museum openings. They’re suspicious of large cakes at charity functions.
  • There’s a search for “nearest cave system” in their GPS application
  • Flipping through their wallet, you find they’ve drawn a cowl with pointy ears on George Washington.
  • At the department store, they ask, “Do you have any gloves like this that go up to the forearm, and also do you have any shark toys, preferably with large blue fins?”
  • At the auto dealer, they ask, “Does it come in black? Also, can the fender be retrofitted to conceal a motorcycle?”
Catwoman steals herself a Batman
Catwoman steals herself a Batman

Types of Batman Syndrome

All Batman Syndrome types are not the same. The symptoms of a high-functioning person with the condition may manifest as an occasional reference, while someone with a severe case, might break their leg jumping from building to building.

Batman Beginners

These people are fans of the films, the Arkham Asylum video games, and one of the cartoon interpretations.

They’re unaware there was a Robin after Dick Grayson, let alone an alternate universe where the Dark Knight was played by Thomas Wayne. They couldn’t tell you any one of Harley Quinn’s three separate origins.

They know not of Dark Claw, the amalgamation of Bruce Wayne and Wolverine, of Batman’s face off with the Predator, or of Superman’s stint as Gotham’s protector.

Their symptoms are manageable, allowing them to lead normal lives, hold jobs, and kiss girls.

Atypical Detectives

Keeping their cowls in the closet, these people hide comic books beneath their mattresses. Their action figures are tucked away in the attic. They have most of their symptoms in check.

They slip up every so often, dropping out of context quotes into casual conversation. They tell the manager at Chuck E. Cheese they’re buying the location and setting some new rules about the ball pit area. When someone swears to God, they instinctively shout, “Swear to me!” They tell people not to thank them for small gestures, like opening doors.

An Atypical Detective can go years before they’re ever diagnosed, suffering in silence.

Chronic Caped Crusaders

Referring to their parent’s basement as the ‘Batcave,’ these people wear blue and grey pajamas into their thirties. Drawing Catwoman masks on centerfolds, they make-out with life-sized cutouts of Anne Hathaway, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Eartha Kitt.

Shaving the bat-insignia into their chest hair, with Prince’s Batdance blaring in the background, they practice their fight regiment in Bat-symbol underpants.

Preaching the gospel of Gotham, they are evangelists of the Knight’s quest, arguing the series cannon in public. They have a screenplay waiting for the Nolan brothers to green-light.

Beware of the Batdog
Beware of the Batdog

Major Dark Knightification

This is someone who wears dark eyeliner, anticipating a need to pull down their mask at a moment’s notice. They hoard a colony of bats in their apartment. They drop smoke pellets to conceal bodily emissions.

Loosing their grip on reality, they see phantom Bat-signals during the daytime. Their world has gone ‘full-Gotham.’ They see gargoyles where others see smokestacks. They see art deco statues where others see street signs. They see the Wayne Tower on every skyline.

Someone suffering from full Dark Knightification will get into fisticuffs with birthday clowns, knock umbrellas out of the hands of affluent gentlemen, and stop their car at cornfields to tear scarecrows off their stands.

Those who are this far gone, enjoy normality only one night a year, on Halloween.

Treatments

Although there are several effective treatments for Batman syndrome, or Dark Knightis, there is no known cure. Flareups will occur during high crime periods, prolonged darkness, and the summer movie season.

If you’re concerned someone you know suffers from Batman Syndrome, offer support and understanding, without enabling their behavior. If they pressure you to make them a bat suit, make sure to use rainbow fabric. If they get confrontational, just say, “That’s what he wore, in 1957, so that’s what I’m sewing.”

Never ignore comments about mail-order masks, vigilante justice, or comic book conventions. These are cries for help. Your loved one has a Batman on their back. You can be their Joker with a crowbar ready and willing to pry him off.

For the millions afflicted with the condition, there is hope. Director Joel Schumacher, offers an effective treatment plan: weekly viewings of his film Batman and Robin will lesson a person’s appreciation for the character. The cartoon Beware the Batman is also available. This should tide those with Batman Syndrome over while Director Zack Snyder labors to find a cure.

1957's Rainbow Batman finally gets a real life rendition.
1957’s Rainbow Batman finally gets a real life rendition.

The Esoteric Order of Internet Service Providers

1. The Look

Net neutrality is the principle that all internet data should be treated equally, that no service provider should sell preferential treatment to the highest bidder, and that no company can discriminate what sites their users see. It prevents wealthier sites like BuzzFeed from being the fastest things on the net. It prevents Comcast from charging WordPress more to reach their readers at a decent speed. It prevents streaming services, like NetFlix, from passing these new expenses to their customers. It evens the playing field for established corporate entities and promising young entrepreneurs.

Over the course of two elections, this administration ran on the platform of preserving net neutrality. So, how could the President’s appointment for the chairman of the FCC propose its end?

If you’re like me, you suspect secret societies and Satanic rituals are somehow involved. The following is a dramatic reenactment of how I think the whole thing went down.

The Esoteric Order of Internet Service Providers

From the stairs, the underground lair looked like a wolf’s den. The pack was positioned with their fur to the ceiling. They knelt in a circular formation around the podium. With pelts quivering in the midst, they looked like beasts digging, but it was fingers, not claws that held their sacred rings.

Stepping onto the floor, the Alpha broke the fog, dragging a fur robe behind him. The silver mange of his wolfskin hood blended into his hair. Its frozen ears were raised in a permanent state of alarm. Its furrowed brow framed the rubies in its eyes. With its snout jutting out, its canines cast shadows down the Alpha’s face.

The Alpha’s flesh glistened, a pallid mask of skincare products. A pair of black, sunken eyes, hid behind his spectacles. When he looked to his followers, they skittered back with their tales between their legs.

The plumage from a flock of cardinals lined his robe, clasped together with fragments of antlers. Peacock feathers shot out from his shoulders, casting shadows on his snakeskin sleeves. His was a technicolor coat of death and nightmares. Standing over his followers, he was an apex predator.

The Alpha approached the podium, to find a wolf’s paw. A remote stuck out from the amputated limb. Looking to a projector on the ceiling, his gaze followed the beam to a towering curtain. Pinching the paw until he felt a click, he watched a blood red moon flash onto the screen.

“Arise my brothers.” The Alpha’s voice boomed with seasoned authority, a refined tongue that had no qualms with giving orders.

The pack did as instructed.

2. Bound Hands

The Alpha pinched the paw. Spinning, the moon shrunk into the dot of a question mark. Continue reading The Esoteric Order of Internet Service Providers

A Modest Proposed Bill

I should front load this post with a big fat disclaimer. I’m not sure who it will offend more: its intended targets, or the backhanded villains of the metaphor. At the risk of being controversial, allow me to make a proposal for Arizona. If you legislate the right to discriminate something like the following will happen.

A Modest Proposed Bill

Left and Right

There’s a powerful lobby imposing a sinister agenda on my family. They want to restructure our classrooms, make trouble at the drinking fountains, and put different tools in our teacher’s hands. They want to indoctrinate my children into believing their lifestyle is normal. When my family, with our traditional values, points out the error of their ways, we’re accused of bullying. We’re signaled out for our beliefs.

Running a mom and pop restaurant, I’m in charge of hiring. Since I can’t ask for certain personal details from our applicants, I have to check for all the signs: how they shake hands, the way they’ve tied their tie, and what direction their belt buckle is facing. I can’t have these types of people handling our utensils, going limp on our corkscrews, cutting their fingers on our can openers.

Tending to our garden, we hire our share of day laborers. I’d hate to find I’d invited one of them into my home. They’ve got their own way of doing things. Call me old fashioned, but I shouldn’t be expected to have to support their decision.

I’m, of course, referring to left-handed people.

I’m trying to bring my children up right, as in right-handed. I don’t want them to come home with stories of awkward encounters at the pencil sharpener. I don’t want them in the same class as the kid with the spiral notebook line down his wrist. What if my son comes home asking why his friend has two writing pads? Suddenly my son is ambidextrous-curious. Pretty soon he’ll be asking his coach if he can try on the special glove at baseball practice.

As a small business owner, I don’t want Uncle Sam telling me how to run my kitchen, making me stock up on special tools to enable heathens. I will not be made to embrace your alternative knife style, or your choice to fillet. Adam and Eve knew with which hand to cleave. It’s not my fault that your perverse hand orientation has you looking at the metric side of the measuring cup.

Playing in the backyard, I shouldn’t have to tell my children why one of the gardeners has a queer way of using our hoes, pruners, and potting trowels. Watering with the wrong hand is simply unnatural, yet I’m the bigot for pointing out something that’s factual.

Scissors

This bias against traditional right-handed values is nothing short of discrimination. These lefty leftists are using tolerance to take away the rights of righties. Demanding special treatment, they want us to shift door knob placement. They want us to redesign desks so the boards align with their twisted viewpoints. The government claims to uphold the constitution, but when it comes to religious freedom, it seems like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

In the United States, all pillars of society are under attack. Changing traditional marriage, husband’s offer the wrong hand to their wives. Infiltrating the boy scouts, they teach our sons a left handed hand shake. In our courts, they swear on the bible with the limb they use for libel. Mainline churches are put upon to serve the southpaw over the north when they give communion.

Invading our calendars, they claimed August 13th as their day, soon they’ll want their own parades. Even as I type this, there’s a lefty occupying the oval office.

I’m drawing the line down the center of the road. I’m an American, I drive on the right side of the street. Changing gears, I define traditional leverage as the bond between one hand and one minivan. On one side I turn the ignition, on the other I flip the bird.

I’m tired of these people getting stuck at the checkout counter, stretching the cord for the pen attached to the credit card machine, clogging up my subway turnstiles with their two left feet. I’m sick of scraping their boomerangs off my rooftop, because they don’t know how to throw them right. I’m sick of my tax dollars going to ER visits, for frequent power-saw accidents.

Sorry if we don’t want them in our restaurant, but they nudge the other guests as they bite into their croissants. Sorry if my country club doesn’t swing that way. We hold our putters the correct way. Sorry if we don’t welcome them into our neighborhood, but we had a show of hands and voted for the public good.

Yes, I check my children’s friends for ink on their palms. Children are impressionable. I forbid mine from listening to Cobain, McCartney, or Hendrix because of the way they held their guitar picks. I won’t let them watch anything starring Tom Cruise, not for his religious views, but for the way in which he ties his shoes.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home, but don’t go waving those reversed digits in front of my kids. Keep your left-handedness in the closet with all your wrong facing garments.

Cork Screws

I’m proposing a bill to protect my right handed values by allowing me to post this on my shop window:

WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO LEFT HANDED PEOPLE

I’m doing this because Left-handed people pose a substantial burden on my sincerely held religious belief. They challenge my faith every time they make a mess with dry erase markers, flip the contents of a clipboard, or change the screen orientation of a video game.

Does the bible not teach us that, “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart is at his left.” Ecclesiastes 10:1-3

The good book is quite clear about the lord’s preference.

“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand and the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:33

There’s a reason the Angel Michael sat at God’s right and Lucifer sat at his left. There’s a reason left-handedness was considered sufficient evidence that someone was a witch. It was seen as a mark of the devil. There’s a reason Catholic schools used to whip pupils into right-handed values.

Here they want to spit in the face of our cultural heritage and our tradition. They want special treatment for their perverse preference. They want to change the way I run my staff promotions, seeing as how they’re decided with an arm wrestling contest.

There is no furtherance of a compelling government interest to impose left handedness on my business, to make fashion designers invert zippers, to make banks change the placement of pens around deposit slips, or to make tech companies shift the number pad to the other side of the keyboard.

Instead of laying on the right guilt, rallying against “right privilege,” lefties should work to improve the way they trim the hedge. There are options, they don’t always have to feel marginalized at the margins. Left hand conversion therapy is filled with positive success stories. All you have to do is let God convert you into the person you were meant to be. Rather than live a life of sin, have you tried being a righty?

Can opener

(Special thanks to http://lefthanded-problems.tumblr.com and the hashtag #LeftHandedProblems on Twitter for inspiring many of the references here)

If you haven’t been following the news out of Arizona (or Kansas) then all this might seem like it came out of left field (so to speak). I rarely take stands on polarizing issues, but I decided to write this to put one into perspective. If you support legislation that would deny rights to gay people, please reread this story, because it’s how you sound to me.

The NSA Took My Baby Away

Sometimes love comes from the place you least expect it, like surveillance equipment. What if the NSA agent building a profile on you wanted to get intimate too? Do you have a secret service secret admirer? Scan the Missed Connections on Craigslist and you might happen upon an entry like this.

Resized Heart Eyes

A Missed Connection From Your NSA Agent

Twinkling brighter than any other star, you stood out in a wall of monitors. Your features made all the more striking in black and white. I remember the day the lid fell off your Chapstick. It smeared across your phone. It made your selfies look like vintage head shots of Lucille Ball. When you spoke, the crumbs in the microphone made your voice crackle like Lauren Bacall. Through the fiber optic lens embedded in your bathroom mirror, I could tell you had that it factor. Your presence lit up a room, especially when night vision was turned on.

Star struck, I tuned all of my surveillance in on your apartment. Putting you on my watch list, I had to have you to myself. The agency gets every station you could ever dream of, but you were the one I stayed on. When I saw your fingers moving down the guitar, singing David Bowie’s Big Brother, I knew my channel surfing days were over.

You were so cool, silk screening stencils of yourself with your chin up like a revolutionary. You were my kind of geek, reciting the tongue twisting monologue from V for Vendetta, down to the last V. You were mesmerizing, dancing the lambada solo, rubbing the air like a space for me.

You were my must see TV. My nights were spent watching a marathon of you, falling in love with your rebellious antics.

When you were so tired you put the coffee on without a filter, I provided the laugh track. When your supporting cast of cats entered, I provided the applause. When you talked to yourself, I tried to fill in the other half of the conversation. When you said your “Damn the man,” catchphrase I tried to say it in unison.

When you popped in a romantic comedy you were my favorite thing on TV. I loved watching your reactions, how you’d go through such a range of emotions. You went into each lovelorn speech rolling your eyes, but you always came out sobbing, hugging the pillow beside you. You recited lines like they were your thoughts at the time. As your sole audience for each performance, I couldn’t be more grateful.

You introduced me to my new favorite bands, kept me hip in the eyes of my friends. You taught me how to cook exotic new meals: potato pancakes, vegan chili, and avocado salad. You taught me which wines to pair with which vegetables. You broadened my palate. You impressed my dinner guests.

I took up crocheting, so we’d have something in common, but I struggled to keep up with your master level patterns.

Your workout regiment kicked my ass. I threw my back out mimicking yoga positions, but I stuck with it until I could feel my toes in my hands. You increased my flexibility with your full body origami. If only I could show you what you’d taught me.

I wanted to break the forth wall, to be a walk on role on your show, to see if I fit into the scenery. I wanted to patch into your speaker system, to make sure that no sneeze went unblessed. I wanted to do some undercover cosplay, to knock on your door and come inside. I was afraid my opening line would come across like a porno fantasy.

“I’m hear to fix the pizza. I mean, package the pipes. I mean, do you know how fast you were going? You’ll have to stay after class.”

Instead I surveilled from the shadows, a secret admirer with full access to your computer. I had my eagle eye on you. I’m the reason your laptop ran hot. You’d be surprised by how much random access memory was taken up by me. I’m the reason the battery in your cellphone never lasted. I put your location services to work. I’m the reason your alarm clock didn’t go off when it was supposed to. Maybe I thought you could use the rest, maybe I just liked watching you.

Commandeering your reminders app, I let you know when you were out of toilet paper. Intercepting envelopes, I crammed your mailbox full of gift cards for all of your favorite stores. While you were away for the holidays, I ordered covert cleaners to eliminate half your chores.

When you were pulled over for going over the limit, I issued the Amber Alert that got you out of it. When you parked on the wrong street during a snow emergency, I’m the one who switched the days for the entire city. When a jealous coworker made fun of your pink highlights, I made sure she got a pink slip that night.

I was your estranged luck, the director of your destiny, the authority behind your serendipity. I was the hand of fate, keeping you under my thumb. I was your guest login guardian angel, your wiretapping wooer, your backdoor lover with backdoor access. I didn’t want to leave anything up to chance. Fortune favored the controlled. Still, you had needs I couldn’t fulfill.

You know how you told your mother there was a curse on your love life? It seems like I might owe you an apology. I may have rendered your account invisible on OkCupid. I may have told your entire eHarmony inbox that you weren’t interested. I may have informed Match.com that you were dead.

I can tell you with good authority the guys creeping on your profiles had nothing on me. These were bearded bachelors who wore scarves indoors, loft dwellers with piss poor credit scores, and tallboy drinkers with student loans galore. If anything I was doing you a favor.

Too bad I couldn’t stop them from asking you out in person, from inquiring what you were reading, from getting bold at bar close, or biking beside you at a Critical Mass event. I took my jealousy to the DMV, modifying the database, hitting your dates with whiskey plates. I had their art cars repossessed. I revoked their motorcycle licenses. I listed their fixed gears as stollen, but still they came.

On date nights, I recalled every taxi to the garage. I shuffled bus routes, and closed bridges. Canceling your dinner reservations, I narrowed the scope of your plans. Shifting some money around in the Caymans, I bought out theaters to keep the two of you from going in.

When one of your suitors stayed the night, a team was ready to black bag him by morning. I have to admit, I was a little liberal with where I applied the taser to your boyfriends.

The real shock was to my heart. These bastards were beneath you. You could’ve landed a husband with a Masters of Science degree in Defense, good grooming habits, a great career, and an excellent 401k plan. You could’ve had so much more space to stretch, without having to relocate your coffee table. You could’ve had so much more space to cook, without having to put your cutting board on the couch.

There’s a two story house, in a nice neighborhood full of good schools. Its rooms are empty, despite some furniture covered in sheets. It sits there waiting for a family to come fill it with love.

After everything that happened, I couldn’t control my emotions, so I took control of your life instead. I put limits on your accounts to keep you from going out. I voiced your turn by turn navigation to keep you on the grid. I put you on a no fly list to keep you from slipping out of my jurisdiction.

You must have felt me watching.

Brushing your teeth in the bathroom mirror, you stopped abruptly, oblivious to the line of paste running down your sleeve. Pressing your finger to the glass, you discovered that tiny point where the light bent a little differently. You stared at the mirror, like you could see me. You looked at your smoke detector differently. You saw my all seeing eye in the ceiling fan. You froze in the middle of your apartment. You could hear my lenses focusing.

One day you left the office and never came back. Your car was found sitting in the lot, the windshield wiper bursting with flyers. Your bank accounts were cleaned out. Your social media profiles had been deleted. Your digital footprint had been scrubbed clean. The trail went cold. You’d gone underground.

Bear Lenses

What gave me away? Was it the U-Haul permanently stationed outside of your building?
Was it the Google Street View car following you to work? Was it my anonymous Valentines Day gift, the Teddy bear with the telephoto lenses where it’s eyes should’ve been?

I might have taken things too far. Not sure why I hacked your garage door clicker, I guess you just had a way of pushing my button. Not sure why I had to hijack your clock radio, if only to whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Not sure why I installed a remote control in your vibrator, if only to play a small role in getting you there.

Installing a full body scanner in your entry way was a bit much, I’ll be the first to admit it.

I broke protocol telling my mother about you. I showed my father a picture and he congratulated me on my good taste. They assumed we’d been together for sometime, based on my intimate knowledge of you. I told them that you’d taught me how to be a good listener, which is partially true.

Now you’re gone, vanished without a trace. I have undercover operatives embedded in communes, still no sightings. I have satellite cameras combing tropical islands, still haven’t spotted you working on your tan. I have an agency algorithm searching for your cyber shadow, still you haven’t logged in.

Next time you pass through a major city, could you please do something for me. Put your sunglasses away, take off your baseball cap for just a few seconds, and look straight into a security camera. I realize that all the facial recognition software in the world won’t bring you back to me. I just want to know that you’re okay.

How to Get More Hits By Baiting the NSA

How far are you willing to go to gain new readers? My plan for getting on the bestsellers list through the watch list.

Tinthumb Proper Formatting

As an aspiring author, I’ve done some shameful things in the name of self-promotion.

Convincing someone I dropped a capsule in his drink, I told him the recipe for synthesizing an antidote was on my main page. Of course, the crucial ingredient was blacked out, until he signed up for my mailing list. One fifth degree felony later and I’d scored a solid hit. Not too shabby.

Calling in an anonymous tip, I said there were glitter bombs planted throughout the city. Thousands of citizens would have to explain why they looked like they had just come from a strip club. I said the only way to find my powder kegs of pixie dust was to listen for clues hidden throughout my podcasts.

Breaking into the morgue, I slipped letters under corpses’ fingers. I kept reloading my stat counter, waiting for the pathologists to spell out my web address. Shopping for a lawyer, I hoped to drag the trial out with the old “alternate reality game” defense. Spending the afternoon with my mother, we put together an outfit we felt a jury would really like. Alas, there was no arrest, no national news coverage, no excuse to model my fancy new duds.

Desperate for a retweet, I played Russian Roulette with one of my followers. Too bad I didn’t realize a victory meant he couldn’t deliver on his side of the wager.

Okay, maybe I didn’t do any of those things, but those are the claims I need to make to attract my target audience.

I’m drawing out people who scan for keywords like lives depend on them. There’s more than one way to grow your SEO. That’s why I’m baiting the NSA to investigate my blog, in the hope of gaining new readers. The patriot act guarantees me a captive audience of inadvertent promoters, provided I use just the right words.

Pie Chart

Sure none of my threatening language has any teeth, but it’s not like the government’s surveillance has produced any solid leads.

Isn’t it about time someone found the rainbow at the end of the PRISM program? Isn’t it about time someone gave those agents a break from playing World of Warcraft all day? Isn’t it about time someone Rick Rolled the government?

Getting on their radar is phase one of my master plan. I’ll have to hook them with national security-centric stories. I have a number of social media shorts in the pipeline. If I can get them to comb through my words, a few might find my writing compelling. If a small fraction of the agency starts following me, I’ll skyrocket to the top of everybody’s WordPress feed.

Most bloggers would think I’d be better off putting out quality work, but they’re just jealous because they didn’t think of this first.

Many Ties

With the explanation out of the way, I’d like to address those of you who are members of the National Security Agency directly. Before you go crying, “Obstruction of justice” remind yourself who’s stepping on who’s fourth amendment rights here. Now that I’ve got you searching and seizing, I might as well show you something. I’m not committing a crime. I’m not wasting your time. I’m taking the initiative. I’m thinking outside the box. Way outside the box.

I figure, if you’re sifting through everyone’s emails, then you’re bound to know a few publishers. Could you put in a good word for me? Sure, I believe that speech should be free, but I’ll leave a PayPal donation button incase you feel like paying a fee. Check out my Amazon wish list while you’re at it. When you’re done transcribing my posts for the record, don’t forget to hit “Subscribe” while you’re here.

If I can turn my pursuers into promoters than I’ll have a street team with more reach than anyone.

I’m taking the tape off my webcam, the gum off my microphone. I’m dialing the operator and leaving the phone on. Talking to myself, I’m letting you in on the plot. I’m waving “Hi” to my Playstation Eye. See anything that you like? Ignoring the flashing red light in my shower head, I’ll strut around naked wearing nothing but a smile and a tattoo of my web address. I’ll leave my iPhone on my pillow in case anyone wants to watch me sleep.

Privacy is dead. We live in public. I’m not hiding my shame, I’m inviting you to look at it.

You can listen to me sing If I Only Had a Heart in my tinfoil hat. Watch me try to fashion my tie into a pinwheel knot. Watch me lip sync Lorde’s big single. This is your intelligence empire, and we’ll never be royals in it, but maybe you could grant an audience to one of us commoners.

In the graph

Waiting at the bus stop, I expect to see well dressed men, reading newspapers, constantly itching their ears. I expect to see reel to reel equipment carted into the neighboring apartment. Watching the ceiling, I’m waiting for drill dust to fall into my hand.

I hear snapping, but I don’t see a fiber optic lens.

I expect indiscriminate delivery vans all the way up the block. Peaking through the blinds, I expect to see red dots on my chest. Taking the dog for a walk, I expect to see drones circling the apartment.

If you can’t be bothered to break out the surveillance scope, then I’ll get the megaphone. If your satellite doesn’t have a clear view, I’ll bust out the chainsaw and make one for you. If you can’t put a tail on me, then I’ll give you FourSquare updates for everywhere I’ll be. This is the information age people. How hard is it to stalk someone?

Come on! Haven’t you been reading my search history? I’ve been looking up, “How to turn napalm into orange juice concentrate.” Why isn’t anybody investigating me? My mom says I’m surveilable.

I’m calling in an anonymous tip on my sparkling wit. How many Guy Fawkes masks do I have to order to get some attention around here? How many times do I have to say, “Snowden” in front of the mirror to get an audience to appear? I’m yelling “Crowded theater” in the middle of a fire. I’m threatening bombs with wire cutters. The president and I, are threatening Death with his own scythe (the bald personification of Death as seen in The Seventh Seal and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, not the condition).

If that paragraph doesn’t get your algorithm’s attention, nothing will.

Good Numbers

Come on and get your snoop on. I’ll even give you a reason. The First Amendment has limits, and I’m skating on the edge of them. The time has come to settle up my tab with the Bill of Rights. My stories meet all the requirements for my freedoms to be regulated. Watch I’ll prove it.

I direct hate speech, at colorful adjectives and purple prose. I show religious intolerance, to warlocks from parallel dimensions. I issue true threats, to fictitious characters. I use inflammatory language, to describe the swelling of their limbs. I bring about a condition of unrest, as a plot device. I use words that wound, beloved supporting cast members. Treasonable talk, comes from my villains’ tongues. I use sexual harassment, as a cheap trope to get my audience to root against underdeveloped men. I use slanderous, obscene, fighting words, in my dialogue. My verbal attacks, often come without character attribution so I don’t have to break up the pace. Imminent lawless action, gives me a great cliffhanger to end my chapters on.

I’m exactly what the Supreme Court had in mind when they rendered that decision (for those of you who didn’t major in Constitutional Law and English Literature, the preceding paragraph had a lot of inside jokes in it).

Tinthumb salute

I will wave to my oppressors. I will link bait Big Brother. I will troll the secret service. My path to the bestsellers list will start with the watch list.

I’m putting in a surveillance request on my novel, bug that thing inside and out, and then tell me which parts you liked the best. You can be the Gawker Media to my Quentin Tarantino. Take a sneak peak at my first draft. You have the technology to give some feedback to me. I mean, what else are our tax dollars paying for?

May my review section light up with glowing endorsements like, “This book is a clear and present danger to your free time.” I aspire to write intelligent stories for the intelligence community. Something so good, rogue agents will prefer it to stalking ex girl friends.

Many of you intelligence operatives are artistically inclined. You can be my legion of ghost writers. If you can take over my keyboard, I’m open to suggestions for my Highlander fan fiction. If there’s a copy editor among you, feel free to correct me when I use “heel” for “heal” or “decent” for “descent.” Hunt down my adverbs, and take them out with extreme prejudice.

Maybe I harbor a fear that you might take me up on all this, broadcast my shower cam, and send in Seal Team 6 to wash my mouth out with soap. Maybe you’ll have my citizenship revoked, and ride me out of town like Jonathan Swift, just for few modest proposals.

That may be the case, but I say satire that doesn’t take risks is ridiculous.

So to my fans at the NSA, who might black bag me for a private signing, I might go and cry on the shoulder of the ACLU, but at the end of the day you know I love you.

Besides, if you do detain me that could be great publicity.