Bob's Links and Rants

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Thursday, December 26, 2002

Big Brother (the FBI) is watching ... (from a letter to the editor in the Bellingham (Washington) Herald)

The FBI now can get our list of library books, e-mails, telephone records and so on. When I was worried about an overdue book after the library closed, I called the FBI for help.

"Please check on a book for me, will you," I told the agent.

"What? Do you think we work for you?"

"Is Bernard Lewis's book on the Middle East overdue?" I pleaded.

"Well, okay, I'll look it up. Hey, you've also checked out 'Lawrence of Arabia.'"

"It's a great book," I protested.

"Did you see the movie, too?"

"Yes," I said.

"Have you checked out the video - never mind, I'll check. Yeah, just last week."

"Honest," I replied, "I wanted to see the restored version."

"A doubtful story. And, yes, you're overdue on the book."

"Darn," I said. "I guess I'm not getting my mail on time."

"Mail? Well, let me check. Nope, no card from Bellingham library, but your long-distance phone bill shows you've called Mahoud's Diner. Who's Mahoud?"

"He's a great cook and what are you doing with my phone bill?"

"Just checking. By the way, you are behind in the phone payment. Want me to pay it from your credit card?"

"You've got my credit statement?"

"Of course. There, I charged it on your card."

"Thanks," I said. "What a service."

"Saved you a penalty. Anything else we can do for you?"

"Yes," I replied. "Did my neighbor pay cash for his new car?"

"What! Do you think we spy on people?"

Lyle E. Harris