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Mr. Wrong

A Pain in the Glass

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 10/13/1999

You know, sometimes living in a totalitarian society doesn't seem like such a bad idea. Now, I'm no fascist, or Nazi, or Republican even, but it's like this: I'm sick and tired of getting my goddamn car window broken by some controlled-substance addict who's going around collecting loose change for that next bump or huff or spike or glass lungful or dragon-chasing session or whatever the hip, happening young controlled-substance abuser is calling that which occupies his or her thoughts 99.9 percent of every waking moment.

Oh, sure, this time my representative of the underworld was kind enough to smash the smallest window in the car, the little one in the back door, so I got that going for me. Thanks a lot, controlled-substance addict, for not breaking the bigger window like one of your compatriots did last time in his or her futile search for the ever-elusive loose change. It won't cost as much to get the teeny window replaced. I should thank you, I guess, for saving me some of my hard-earned dough.

And don't give me that helpful advice about not leaving stuff out in plain sight. There's nothing left in plain sight in my car but the fucking steering wheel, and the goddamn window still gets broken. And I ain't gonna leave the door unlocked on the chance that maybe I won't get my window smashed and the criminals will just root around in the car and realize there's no gold, because winter's coming. I'm not setting up a shelter for itinerant change-thieves in my vehicle.

At least we got a new mayor in the hopper who isn't gonna talk that Joe College think-tank bullcrap about legalizing all the shit that everybody's addicted to without a prescription. Great fucking idea. Let's legalize everything so that even more people can be exposed to stuff they might otherwise be kept away from, since illegal shit is generally a little harder to find than legal shit. Even if it's only 1 percent harder. And don't start with the hemp arguments. Do you want your next cab ride or thoracic surgery or submarine sandwich to be executed by someone who's just had a deep conversation with Mary Jane? Well, maybe the sandwich part would be OK, but you get my point.

Anyway, back to brutal totalitarian regimes. Those Nazi uniforms were the shit. All those armbands and wacky hats and leather. I mean, Maj. Hochstetter on Hogan's Heroes had the swankest leather trenchcoat in history, way cooler than the one the black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks had in Shaft, which was like, butterscotch-colored or something. Once you go black with the leather, you don't go back—ask any Nazi. How many armies are into leather, eh? If Hitler's boys had designed their weapons as well as their millinery and coats, the few of us alive by now would be sprechen Sie Deutsch, big time.

A long time ago I saw this movie called Fahrenheit 451. There was a scene where the cops wanted to find this guy who broke the rules. Via wall-sized interactive TV sets, the government directed its well-controlled populace to get off their asses and take a peek out the front door. They got everybody to look for this guy, all at the same time. That's community action.

OK, we're not all home at the same time—some of us don't spend our entire day performing the duties required by those in thrall to codeine or cane-toad sweat or methamphetamine. We work for a living, and we pay the cops to take care of this crime shit, right? No. Cops aren't here to stop people from busting into cars. As annoying and costly as it may be for those of us who get our goddamn window in our goddamn car broken for the fifth or sixth goddamn time by some controlled-substance addict who takes the change and leaves the cassettes in the glove box (as addled as junkies are by their addictions, they still realize there's zero street value for that Whatever Happened to Jugula import and the soundtrack to Blue Collar, which leaves us feeling vaguely insulted), cops actually have higher-level shit to attend to, and I'm more than happy to let Johnny Law handle the armed robberies and grand theft autos and domestics out there.

So who is at liberty all day, besides those controlled by the demonic forces of controlled substances not available by prescription? Old people. No, not all the old people—just the ones who peek out their windows through the shades and stand behind the door and listen to us when we walk in the hallway of our building and stare at us when we change the oil in the car where we're not supposed to. There's an army of eyes out there tracking the day-to-day movements of many law-abiding citizens. We must train those eyes upon a new target. We must marshal this force in the service of the country, and we can also smooth out a big part of the national health-care problem. All we have to do is place all the geezers in the employ of the government as crime-prevention-by-observation specialists and pay 'em off in their legally prescribed medication of choice. It might hurt some of the talk-radio programs as far as being able to get enough phone calls, but other than that, it's perfect. One week of being a busybody equals one week of blood-pressure medicine or insulin or Metamucil. Imagine: an army of eyes, each pair looking for its next government-approved fix.

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