Friday, March 27, 2009

They're watching you Debra

I think of Deb every time I see one of these articles about the increasing use of cameras to monitor traffic and neighborhoods and in school buses and public bathrooms and the changing rooms at Walmart and such. I'm just kidding about the public bathrooms and the changing rooms - I think. The authorities monitor behavior in public bathrooms with undercover cops, and Walmart probably monitors its changing rooms with geezers too frail to put up front where they might be trampelled in a shopper stampede. But they might be using cameras and we don't know about it because they haven't been caught yet.

I think this camera thing is a good idea; but it doesn't go far enough. Imagine how much more efficient government offices and school classrooms would be if the bureaucrats and teachers knew they were being watched and recorded full time. But we would have to be careful not to hurt the economy. The fall-off of donut sales near police stations would be dramatic and might put Dunkin Donuts out of business; and the sudden rise in demand for gas might drive up prices if all the ghost employees at the various national and state bureaucracies actually started having to show up for work. Also, imagine the stress on the supervisors at the Department of Labor and the Department of Education if they suddenly had to start showing up and also had to find make-work for all the sons and daughters and nephews and mistresses of the various Congresscritters so they would look busy on the videotapes. Claims for disability might skyrocket.

On the other hand, imagine the positive effects on the economy. The feed from a webcam trained on Michelle Obama's new vegetable garden behind the White House, for instance, would probably become an instant hit and generate lots of advertising dollars to help support the government. Imagine the sudden rise in the sales of seeds as everybody rushed out to get what they need to plant what Michelle is planting as she flexes those fine toned arms of hers that the press has been all in a tizzy about.

The public would also learn lots of important information as well if there was a camera focussed on Michelle's garden. For instance, does Michelle use a stoop hoe or a long handled hoe; or does she use those little ergonomic stainless steel trowels and rakes and dibbles that they sell at Smith & Hawken; you know, the kind of tools that look like they were designed by Buckminster Fuller and cost like $39.95 each? And when she picks her vegetables later in the year; will Michelle use one of the baskets that you get when somebody gives you a Harry & David Christmas assortment, the way I do; or will she use a faux Hopi or Navajo basket like those they sell at Williams and Sonoma when she picks her arugula? The boost in sales of gardening equipment and supplies could be immense if the public knew these things.

And then there are the questions pertaining to fertilization and soil amendment. Does Michelle use cow manure or does she use horse manure? Does she shovel the manure into a 55 gallon drum and then fill the drum with water so she can feed each heirloom tomato plant with a little cup of tea, the way Grandpop L used to do? Or does she bury a little fish with each corn seed the way the Indians taught Pilgrims to do before the Pilgrims figured they knew enough and drove all the Indians away? Does Michelle have a mulch heap like I do behind the house, or did the President buy her one of those fancy $179.95 rotating drum compost things that claims to make good compost out of kitchen scraps and lawn clippings in 30 days? Imagine the amount of potential mulch that must be generated by the White House kitchen when they throw those big dinners for all the third world dictators who visit.

And then there's pest control. Is Michelle planning to squish those big green worms between her thumb and forefinger if she finds them on her tomato plants? Will she have a tick can half filled with water like Pop used to have to drop the ticks into if she gets one on her while she's gardening, or if the girls find a fat tick on their dog? Or is Michelle going to teach her girls to gently return the tomato worms and the ticks to the wild the way the PETA folks would no doubt prefer?

These are the crucial questions to which the public needs answers every bit as much as the Limerick police need to know whether Deb comes to a full honest to God stop at the stop sign on Ridge Pike when she goes to work in the morning.

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