Thursday, April 1, 2010

Strange ...

This morning, bleary-eyed from a deep sleep, belly and other hairy body parts itching, I sat down here at the PC and launched my Internets. One of the first things I do each morning is hop on over to Facebook to see what some of my little "friends" have been up to over night (you'd be surprised).

Nothing was particularly noteworthy except one flippant remark that got my mind thinking back to a few weeks ago. Someone had updated his status last night to read: "Census book was a snap!"

A snap? That didn't fit with my memory.

Oh, sure, there were the usual data questions that are really simple to answer. How many people in your household, what is your predominant race of choice, things like that.

Okay, in some households in America those would not be easy questions, but I found them pretty straightforward.

No, the question that got to me was at the end. It was the lengthy essay question.

I've spoken to friends about this, trying to get their take on confronting such a question at the end of what is essentially a data-gathering document. Some expressed the same surprise I felt, while others expressed surprise at the existence of such a question since they had not confronted it in their forms.

Hmm, this was an equine mammal of a different hue, a plate of vittles for cogitation.

The question soliciting this lengthy essay answer was phrased something like this:
In the unlikely occurrence of an event eliciting a response from the Department of Homeland Security which necessitated the relocation of American citizens to undisclosed locations away from their normal places of domicile, please furnish a detailed response regarding your preferences. For example, what household items would you find necessary to bring with your person to this undisclosed location? (Personal computers, weapons, cigarette lighters, and nail files cannot be considered as indispensable for the relocation process.) What geographical location in the contiguous United States would be most amenable to your personal taste preferences and health status? (Ocean sides are not an option. Those locations have previously been reserved for defense purposes; and Canada is not a part of the United States.) Detail the type of neighbor who would be most amenable to your own outlook, attitude, and lifestyle-choice. (Politically conservative, middle-of-the-road, or liberal; enlightened heterosexual, Bible-thumping illiterate, straight-acting homosexual [male or female], flaming fag or flannel-shirted bull dyke.; families with children: yes or no [disregard if you are Catholic clergy].) Your personal, handwritten answers to these questions will assist us in providing you the best accommodation available should the occasion arise in the very near future for your government to act in your best interests and take control of your existence for your own good.
I found the whole thing deeply thought-provoking.

I'd tell you my own preferences, but that would be against the law. As the booklet went on to say at the end, it was to my advantage that no one be aware of my disposition or eventual outcome.

I will drop this little hint, though. I've always loved that old Rodgers and Hart song Mountain Greenery. A part of me just can't wait.


  1. i wonder if i would have also come across that question had i not left my roommate in charge of doing the census. it would have definitely been something to think about.

  2. Um ... you do know this post was an April Fool's joke ... ?


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