We were en route to nowhere on one interstate or another, lost in disparate musings about Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, mulching the garden, how one might get out of mulching the garden, how many Oreos are left at home and who will get the most.
We came upon an electronic message board, the kind that typically warns that up ahead you soon will be in the goulash because of a lane closure. Maybe it’s your lane, maybe it isn’t. The message never says, though I usually ask, as politely and loudly as possible “Well which lane is it, you rat bastard?”
[An aside: Given the gross proliferation and anti-intellectual nature of rats, there are probably more rat bastards out there than any other kind of bastard, with the possible exception of those rat bastard bastards in the vote wheedling business—not to be confused with good old Wheedling, West Virginia.]
“Don’t be shouting at the signs,” K-Mac typically advises in her soft, angelic put-the-gun-down-you’re-scaring-the-bastard” voice.
On this occasion, however, the electronic sign was not warning about a blocked lane, a washed-out bridge or washing up before goulash. It’s message was simple and straight out of the “newspeak” in George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984.
It might have said “Big Brother is watching you.”
It might have said “We’re onto you, pal. Yes, you. And we use the term pal very loosely.”
What it did say, in Orwellian doubleplusgood duckspeak:
“If you see something, say something.”
I turned to K-Mac and said “I see something the color of orc flesh.”
She said “I don’t think that’s what they mean. By the way I think we need 38 bags of mulch.”
You see, the message presumes we are smart enough to know that once we see something we know who we should go to and say something. And, as much as I love her, we now know that someone is not K-Mac.
But I’ll tell you who that someone is. The guy next door. Think about it. He looks solid. He drives a truck. With a trailer hitch. He’d certainly know what to do about something.
Caution: if he does something about the something you told him about and you see him doing it, then you’d have to say something again. Most likely to someone else, because the guy next door has a lot on his plate at the moment.
Ah, but that is why God made another guy who lives next door on the other side of your house.
So, what happens when we go to someone and say we saw something and the someone says that’s not something, that’s nothing? And you know he wants to say “you idiot,” but, because he is your neighbor, he stops at nothing.
You know what I think? We need more information on our electronic signs. They could easily flash a clarifying follow-up message. For example:
If you see something, say something…
You know, something strange. Think weird.
No. Banjo playing is not something strange.
Well, strange, yes. But not, like, scary strange.
Okay, sometimes a little scary, but not like president The Donald
Come on, you know what we mean.
Who are we? That’s classified. Trust us, though.
Suggestion: see anybody with beards, funny hats, swinging deadly weapons?
No. Not baseball players.
How about somebody driving a truck with a trailer hitch but no trailer? Eh?
Or someone hauling a suspiciously large number of bags of mulch?
You see that, give us a call. Ask for The Ministry of Truth (mintrue.)
Oh yes, our number is unlisted. For your safety, naturally.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2016, all rights reserved.