Are you a Terrorist?

I read an illuminating article about how to spot a terrorist. The article told me that if I saw somebody buying hydrogen peroxide at Home Depot, I must follow him and make sure he buys gas or garbage butoxide that are all elements in making explosive. If I am certain, then I must inform the police. This left me wondering on so many levels as to what these informative articles are supposed to achieve.

Aa far as the terrorist is concerned, he is given a checklist to steer clear of. This reminds  me of the time, one Senior Assistant commissioner of our town gave a talk that was designed to instruct and aid.

There was an increase in the number of robberies about town and the Assistant Commissioner’s sense of duty beckoned him till he could ignore it no more. He came on television. What we really expect  a man with a large moustache and formidable stomach wearing a police uniform to do is of course, just twirl it (the moustache I mean, not the tummy) impressively and hearten our souls by saying the whole police force is stumped by the problem and are working round the clock in solving it. Why? Even yesterday, three of his constables had tea at 3 a.m. in the neighborhood that the most recent robberies took place in, along with some men of questionable intentions. More tea stalls are being constructed in the vicinity to aid the robberies. That was all he needed to do.

Instead what did the gallant man do? He came on television and said, “I am going to give you some tips on how not to get robbed.” He started light – “Lock your door”, “Close your windows” kind of instructions and swiftly moved onto juicier topics. “Do not leave your valuables in steel cupboards under lock and key. That is where robbers look first. Take them and hide them in the kitchen. That is the place they will not think of checking.” he said and beamed rather freely at the audience. I don’t whether the man was expecting all television viewers to stand up in honour or what, but he beamed for a full minute after this gem.

This man, because of the graciousness of his position, was allowed to come and make a statement like that instead of being muted out of office. There was an uproar, because of course folks were hiding their valuables in the kitchen or elsewhere before this man came and told the robbers where to start. Even the extra tea stalls were quite unnecessary since the robbers just made themselves comfortable in the kitchen during the quest.

The intention as always is good. If only his force had asked the men at the tea stall whether they were robbers, he could have come on television a victorious man, a man who knew what he was facing. Please head on over to this link to see what I mean.

This article about security checks in Israel interested me. Reminds me that we often forget the direct and obvious. Very few people can lie convincingly when posed the question, “Are you a terrorist?” Turns out that Israel has been using this simple method to weed out potential terrorists with remarkable results. Full body scans can reveal articles of questionable intent, but not the intent. People to people questioning can expose intent.

Santa’s Lap for Leopards

When you visualize somebody sitting on Santa’s lap, who do you visualize? I imagine tiny tots, the wonder of seeing a surreal grandfather doling out laughs and asking what they’d like for Christmas. Most Santas I’ve seen ask loudly what they would like for Christmas, then liberally spot the answer with “Ho Ho Ho”s so the parents wouldn’t miss the crux, and repeat the child’s wish. That’s just what this veteran Santa was doing for twenty years every Christmas outside Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square.

What must happen, but this year, the fates deigned otherwise and he was fired because he cracked a joke to a couple who took offense when they sat on his lap. Now reading parts of this story had me wondering – why do adults want to sit on Santa’s lap?

I looked it up and it turns out the average weight of a adult man equals that of a leopard that has spent more time eating than exercising his muscles – the higher end of the scale in other words. The obese leopard. The one huffing and puffing after a bison in the forests, while looking wistfully at the deer and the zebras. Would this man who plonked his weight on Santa be willing to carry an obese-leopard everyday as part of his job and not even joke about it? Come to think of it, Santa might have been better off having obese l’s on his lap, as they would not have take offense to this joke:

When the couple asked why Santa’s jolly, he reportedly responded by telling them he knows where all the naughty boys and girls live.

Why people with no sense of humour would want to sit on Santa’s lap beats me.

Santa Sharpens Memory

The past week has been a busy one for Santa. He was supposed to fly to India to meet the President from Finland. On the way, he decided to see all the good children of this school in Dubai where the niece and nephew study, because they have been so good and reward them. There has been much excitement and chatter. The maps have been consulted multiple times by even those allergic to  Geography teachers to route the map from Finland to India via Dubai.

Seeing Santa in the corridors of your own school must be exciting. I can still remember being about a knee high with no front teeth sitting in a hall waiting for Santa to come. What? After he visits the President of India, he takes a detour down to the South and graces the Lena School corridors for those children have been good too. Duh. I remember sitting around waiting eagerly for Santa to arrive – I was seated along the corner, and this particular Santa, came strewing chocolates and sweets all around to general mayhem. Thinking back, I think he bore a remarkable resemblance to the woodcutter of the school. Anyway, the point is: while he was creating joy all around and throwing sweets, he also poked my eye, which had my eye watering, and my little mind up in moral chaos.

You see, all my life up until then, I’d been told that if you lied, or did not eat, or did something that was to discredit the name of the honorable clan from whence you sprout, God will poke your eyes. It was true, I had borrowed a sharpener from a boy in my class, and promptly lost it. I was in the process of honing several lies to tell him, one of the options being stout denial, another feigning surprise at the existence of sharpeners and the like. Still wondering how to break the news in short, for this boy was known to have attained fame by eating a worm. What if, his revenge was shoving one down my throat?  I hate worms not considering that they aren’t particularly esculent. Technically, I hadn’t lied yet, but maybe God knew that I was thinking of lying and sent Santa as a precaution.

I don’t know how the world rates North Korea allegedly having an arsenal of nuclear weapons and attacking South Korea and the world waiting to see how US would react, but it was definitely not as serious as the problem I faced. Soon after Santa left, a hurried meeting was called for. My best friends rose to the occasion as usual, and we all agreed that it had been a sign. The best thing to do was tell him the truth, and if he runs after me with a worm, one friend said she would take on the task of bringing a teacher on the premises by any means known to her.

I don’t exactly remember the end to this story – I just remember it being a huge anti-climax. It was all quite simple really. I was not chased down corridors with a worm in his hand, I know that for sure. So, it may be that Santa gave him a new sharpener as a gift and he forgot about the one I lost for all I care. But I do remember asking my father if I could have a sharpener for my very own in the sweetest tone I could don, simply fluttered with ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’.

I am sure it tickled the parent to have such a polite request for a sharpener, but these moral epilogues drained one.

%d bloggers like this: