Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Getting Scary Out There

It appears now, because it’s so dangerous Out There, that the census is going to take a lot longer to compute than the Department of the Interior originally projected. We enumerators were recently advised that it simply wasn’t good enough to leave three Notices of Visit at a particular address and then admit defeat; we are now required to implore neighbors to inform on the residents of the addresses in question. If none was around, we were to ask passers-by, people walking their dogs, mowing their lawns, or reaping what they’d sowed. We were to remind anyone who balked at violating their neighbors' privacy that the law forbids the disclosure of informers’ identities — and that America doesn’t torture some prisoners and toss others into prison for years without trial, and that we invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein was about to unleash fearsome weapons of mass destruction, and that it’s imperative we ascertain exactly how many people are living where so every state will have exactly the number of highly principled, eminently competent congresspersons to which it’s entitled.

I will pause to reveal that my three favorite moments in any Miss USA competition are when the contestants stumble, when the contestants give spectacularly inane answers to questions designed to demonstrate how level-headed and well informed they are, and when they’re revealed to have behaved sluttishly in the recent past (this year’s winner, Rima Fakih, won a pole dancing competition in 2007). I always enjoy the sight of Donald Trump’s hair, though I regard him as tied with Gene Simmons for Most Obnoxious Living Americans Other Than Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, or Michele Bachmann.

Six days ago, the head of one of my fellow census enumerators was found mounted on a stake on the corner of [withheld] and [withheld] with a sign, written in blood, attached reading, “I told u I filled out you’re [misspelled expletive deleted] questionnaire.” Police are looking for someone who sends a lot of text messages, and who doesn’t understand the difference between your and you’re, though a few minutes on Facebook or YouTube makes clear that there are only a couple of dozen living Americans who do anymore.

In any event, after the discovery of [withheld’s] head, we were ordered to canvas in groups of at least three, of which at least one was to be a male with either large biceps or tattoos suggesting a taste for mayhem and pockmarks suggesting an adolescence that might dispose him to violence. That worked fine for a couple of days, until it was discovered that a whole trio of enumerators had been waylaid by one of the gangs of heterophobic lesbian folksingers that’s been terrorizing southern Dutchess County since Hilary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State.

So now we’re going out in groups of five, accompanied by a West Point cadet in dress uniform. There’ve been a couple of shootings by locals who mistakenly think we’re there to trample their Second Amendment rights and confiscate their firearms, but neither has been fatal. The problem is that the process has been considerably slowed. I don’t know if I’m supposed to reveal this, but completion of the 2010 Census is now expected no earlier than 2020. Blame it on people’s irrational fear of government.

Incidentally, I’m beginning to have my doubts about Glen Beck. What if he in fact is one of the most brilliant satirists of our age? If you were to insist on condemning him for the paranoiac rage his loony comparisons of Obama to Hitler, for instance, inspire in the very stupid and gullible, are you not morally compelled to condemn Sacha Baron Cohen with comparable fervor for getting roomfuls of rednecks to sing about throwing Jews down wells?

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