Smile, You're On
by Roz Warren
I just read
about an apartment complex that requires dog
owners to submit a Q-Tip swab of each
poochs saliva, so if somebody fails to
scoop their dogs poop, it can be collected
and sent to a lab for DNA analysis so that the
culprit can be identified and its owner punished!
know about you, but Im all for this kind of
ludicrous hyper-vigilance. I only wish it could
be extended to people who toss their cigarette
butts on the ground and folks who return library
books with their pages covered in yucky food
stains. A world in which these miscreants could
be tracked down and punished is a world Im
eager to live in.
Lucky for me,
as surveillance techniques improve, its
clear that were headed toward just that
world. Pretty soon there will be no secrets.
Everyone else will always know exactly what
youve done, and where, and to whom.
Well all be able to view the footage of
your misdeeds on Youtube and share them on
As a nice
person who would never dream of failing to gather
her Yorkie-poos tiny turds into
biodegradable plastic bags and dispose of them
properly, or of not cleaning my table after
I eat at the food court, or of throwing my
cigarette butt out the car window (In fact I
dont even smoke. Im just that perfect.),
I welcome this wonderful new world in which all
of you will have to act more like me.
I am a mild-mannered
librarian, and I fit all the all stereotypes. I
am exceptionally nice to everyone at all times. I
never raise my voice. I obey the rules. Even the
stupid ones. Even when nobody is looking. I
dont cut the line. I dont take
advantage. I dont drive in the breakdown
lane or over the speed limit. I dont cheat
at games or when filing out my tax return. We
librarians are the living embodiment of the
Golden Rule. And soon youll be just like us.
In that fast-approaching
utopia where everyone uses their turn signal,
nobody drives faster than the posted speed limit
and no newspaper goes unrecycled, we will all
treat each other with respect, speak quietly and
obey the rules of grammar.
a stop sign? Thanks to cameras at every
intersection, your ticket is in the mail!
Refuse to pay
a library fine? The government will be happy to
deduct it (with penalties and interest) from your
sexually harass that new co-worker? Better think
twice -- she has a cell phone with a camera. So
does everyone else in your workplace. Make that
unwanted pass and itll be on Youtube within
an hour and your job will be toast.
leaving a blistering rant on your estranged
wifes phone? The more over-the-top it is,
the more entertaining it will be for the rest of
us. Especially after that clever animator puts a
backbeat under it and recasts you as a deranged
cartoon chipmunk. Soon the whole world will be
laughing at you. And youll lose custody of
your kids in the divorce. (Deranged cartoon
chipmucks never get joint custody.)
See where this
is going? Surveillance is inevitable. Privacy is
kaput. Resistance is futile. So -- take a deep
breath. Get in touch with your inner librarian.
Then relax and enjoy the ride. Its going to
be great -- the meek are finally going to inherit