After months of data collection and very scientific experimentation, I feel that I am finally ready to assure you that our Diet Coke is not being poisoned by terrorists. Last year, when I began experiencing worse than usual intestinal issues, and no doctor could find anything physically wrong with me, I surmised that terrorists are poisoning our food. This was supported by the additional symptom of memory loss. Whenever I mentioned this theory to my husband, he would raise his eyebrow and suggest that I cut back on my Diet Coke. On second thought, I don’t think he raised his eyebrow. I’m the eyebrow raiser. He is the blue-eyed deadpan starer. It’s very disconcerting.
So, I quit drinking Diet Coke.
Well, that did not help at all. And, now, I have the added side-effect of being drowsy all of the time. But, at least I have eliminated the possibility of a Diet Coke Conspiracy – a feat which I think is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize. Between refusing to
harbor a fugitive immigrant host a foreign exchange student and discovering that Diet Coke is not the cause of my considerable discomfort (thus avoiding an uncomfortable confrontation with suspect enemy nations), I feel that I have done more than my share in promoting peace and goodwill around the world.
Of course, using the process of elimination to root out the precise poison-carrying food in my diet could take a long time. So, I informed my long-suffering husband, Cap’n Firepants, that I was considering quitting eating altogether. He huffed, which is what he does when he thinks I have just hatched a ridiculous plan. He huffs a lot.
Overhearing this one-sided conversation, my daughter chimed in, “You can live quite a long time without food as long as you have water.” (She just read The Hunger Games. And watched a Beanie Baby version of it on YouTube because I won’t take her to see the actual movie. So, I guess this makes her some sort of famine expert.)
Which I already knew of course. But I also knew that starving myself would not have the desired effect of becoming a National Hero who Was the Normal Mother who Uncovered a Terrorist Plot to Poison our Food (or Drink).
So, I will continue this ridiculously slow procedure of removing one item at a time from my meals in order to discover the offending pabulum. And yes, I just used the online thesaurus to learn a new word.
I am a Hero, a Scientist, and a Logophile. This is what they shall proclaim after the Flash Mob performs at my funeral.
Who died from Unnecessary Diet Coke Withdrawal during the Pursuit of Terrorists-Who-Don’t-Kill-But-Just-Irritate-Your-Bowels.
I am convinced that the power of suggestion has much more strength than actual demonstrations of brute force.
When I was a kid, I could not understand terrorism. It made absolutely no sense to me. Why would someone do something considered to be particularly heinous by the majority of humankind, and then send a letter actually claiming responsibility? And, secondly, if they had admitted to it, why weren’t these people thrown in prison immediately? No one explained to me that terrorists like the Symbionese Liberation Army didn’t sit around at registered addresses watching The Love Boat and waiting for the police to politely escort them to a cell in the local jail.
In elementary school, you learn that it’s wise to stay out of trouble. Especially when you go to a Catholic school with nuns wielding rulers that never seem to be used for measuring. You do your best to walk the straight and narrow, and if, for some inexplicable reason, you commit one of the Deadly Sins (which was a much longer list according to the nuns than the Vatican version), then you make darn sure that you never admit to it.
Mind you, I never once saw a nun use one of those rulers, and none of my troublemaking friends ever actually reported getting paddled when sent to the Principal’s Office. But the rumors were prevalent.
However, every time I happened to overhear a news report about a plane being hijacked or hostages being taken, my understanding of human behavior based on my observations at school seemed to become less reliable.
“No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.”
“Well, of course they haven’t,” I would think to myself. Geez. Is that all you need to do to be a news anchor – state the obvious? Let’s think about this. If Mother Superior could paddle you for cheating on a spelling test, what horrible consequences would be inflicted on someone who admitted to planting a bomb in a marketplace?
Then the next day, someone would “claim responsibility,” and I would be completely perplexed. Why would they do that? Especially if they weren’t Catholic and didn’t believe in confession? What was the point? You don’t brag about committing crimes (unless it was to a priest), because then you get caught. Not that I ever committed crimes – or broke any rules for that matter. But I did, according to my mother, have some Mafia relatives dangling off of a distant branch of the family tree. And the Mafia has a whole different approach to advertising its misconduct, if you know what I mean.
Now that terrorism seems even more prevalent – or I just listen to more news – I get the point of the responsibility claims, but I understand human behavior even less. Why do terrorists think they are going to get what they want by making people hate them even more?
Comedian Jeff Dunham’s puppet, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, pretty much sums up the effectiveness of this strategy:
“I can’t wait to see Santa Claus. I sit on his knee, I tell him what I want, then I blow him up!”
And so, I submit to you that a group of women dressed like penguins and about as brutal as Oprah, might have known a little bit more about getting people to behave the way you want. Of course, you might argue that they were merely dealing with 5-10 year olds. And my response would then be, “Have you tried to teach a class of 22 5-year olds lately?” I think you’d rather negotiate with terrorists.
Terrorists are poisoning our food.
How do I know this? Because everyone I know is having trouble remembering things.
At first, I thought it was just me. But my daughter and husband seem to have caught the disease, as well. Since my daughter is 8, I ruled out age-related dementia in her case. Since I am more than eight, but less than, say 95, I decided to rule it out in my case as well.
I got the ceiling material from our house tested for asbestos. Negative. So I can’t blame our popcorn ceiling. Although the list of asbestos-related problems, from what I can recall from the mesothelioma commercial that I hear every morning, (pretty much the only thing I can remember) does not include memory loss.
If it were just my family, I would seriously consider genetics. But I notice it in my friends and perfect strangers as well. I called someone the other day to schedule an appointment, and he said he would call me back. When I didn’t hear from him, I tried again. “Oh, yeah, I remember you,” he immediately assured me when I mentioned I had called a couple of days ago. Pause. “What was your name again?”
That may not sound so bad. People forget names all of the time. But do they forget the most repeated names in history? Like Paul Revere? So, uh, who was Paul Revere warning about what exactly, Mrs. Palin, former vice-presidential candidate? And, while we’re at it, can you clarify for me again when North Korea became our ally?
So, when I conducted my highly scientific study of the possible causes of this obvious plague of memory loss, I concluded, mostly based on the fact that a flooring contractor, Sarah Palin, and I have pretty much nothing in common other than our nationality, that this is an especially insidious (and ingenious) form of terrorism.
I haven’t pinpointed, yet, the actual culprit behind this grand, slow-acting plan. But when I do, I’ll let you know.
What was your name, again?