Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Am I a "Person of Interest" ?

Something's been bugging me for about a week or so. Triffling, perhaps. And maybe it is because I've been up in these hills too long-I'm out of touch with the rest of the nation, i.e. the heavily populated big city regions. So I'm not hip to the evolution of our language until something pops up in the media and suddenly these new words and phrases get crammed down your throat with every story relating to the subject.
It started with "person of interest". I can't recall which major news story it was, as it was a couple of years ago, but I can recall hearing that being used in reference to a suspect and thinking "Ah Jeez! That's P.C. taken too him what he is- A SUSPECT! Criminy...what's wrong with you people?" Person of interest- Heck, that could mean someone like The Amazing Kreskin or your quirky Aunt Flo, who can tell really funny jokes when she's had a few and is double jointed at the knees-now that's interesting!!
Now that stupid and banal phrase has pretty much filtered down into even the simple rural police departments as part of their vernacular. It's silly.

Now we got a new one: disposible cell phone.
What the frig is that?
This popped up prominently in a story recently about "disposible cell phones" being purchased in massive quanities at a Texas Walmart, and is now worming it's way into the buzz word category.
Through no choice of my own, I shop at Walmart-it's the only thing really available to us in the hills, aside from Dollar General- let's not get into the politics of that here, the Chinese slave labor producing all those delightful cheap goods and all that crap, that's for another time and place.
In all the times I have got their sales tabloid in my mail box never once have I seen that phrase used with a sale. I've never seen, say like : "Nokia Disposible Cell Phones....10% Off!!"
Never has a sales associate used those 3 words grouped together as we talked about cell phone choices at the Home Electronics counter. I have never heard my friends and family use that phrase when referencing a phone they bought. So I was initially left wondering, "What the hell do they mean?!" Disposible? That brings to mind something you use once (or twice, if you're a tightwad like me) and then toss. Are they made of cardboard? Do they run on a watch battery with just enough juice for one 40 second call? What are we talking about here?

I finally figured out that they meant the "pay as you go" type phones. At least that's the best I can, in my humbly ig'nert mind, figure out.
These phones have been around for quite sometime and it's a great concept! Heck, I have one.
Like alot of folks, I just couldn't justify paying 60 bucks a month for a service I MIGHT use 2 or 3 times a month, if that. But I would spring 60 bucks, initially, for a phone that I could use for emergencies (like when the head gasket blew on my car the other night out in the middle of nowhere.) and pay in advance for the time I might use on it every other month or so. I always buy the lowest increment of time, about 20 bucks and it rolls over-I have now about 3 hours worth of talk time on my phone-that gives ya some idea of how much I use it, which is nearly zip...but I'm glad I do have it if the crap hits the fan, or if the power goes out here at the house, etc. They're handy, but disposible? Man, ain't no way I'd get rid of mine! It's just like the fancy-schmatzy cell phones big city folk use, it's slick...even has a color screen. Disposible? No way.

Anyway, so this story breaks about massive amounts of DCP's being bought at a Walmart (I have just gone ahead and made that phrase an acromyn, because, let's face it, someone will eventually!) and naturally, the first thought is TERRORISTS. Sure, I'd make that connection.
Any rational person would. Afterall, why else would anyone with an accent, who his buds call Akmed be buying about a 100 or so of these babies in one whack? I don't think it's because he has a very extensive family or Christmas gift list. All these phones usually come with about 20 minutes worth of time, gratis, upon activation. That's enough time to commit who knows what kind of mayhem.
Now when I activated my phone, I had to give up all kinds of info-all the usual stuff, even a c/c number. But I'm an honest person and the info I gave was accurate-naturally these guys wouldn't. BUT you do have to enter the actual serial number of the phone in so that which ever company you bought the phone from can activate it. So at least there's a record of it somewhere, that could be tracible. But that won't really matter, I guess, if the phone is already in a pile at some urban landfill after detonating a dirty bomb somewhere in a highly populated region.

I guess what is bugging me is the insinuation... that DCP's are now an instrument of EVIL. That if you have one or bought one recently, you could be a "person of interest". Dearie me!
The Powerline story that I linked above brings up whether the report of this is even kosher to begin with. I must admit, when I first heard this news story, my first thought was about another chicken little type story about UPS uniforms being bought on eBay in large quanities.
But either way...real or contrived, the damage is done. The simplistic, pretzel logic will follow and become part of the mindset of this country- I have a disposible cell phone, terrorists use disposible cell phones, therefore I must be a terrorist.
Soon it will a point of uncomfortable shame to even admit you have a Simple Freedom phone or TracPhone.
I could be "person of interest".


Anonymous Shirley said...

You always have been a person of interest.

1/18/2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Silly, you're a libertanianish Republican, living in the hills. You've obviously got something to hide therefore you're obviously a person of interest.

I bet you have a copy of Mein Kampf. ;-)

1/19/2006 11:19 AM  

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