A Scary Barometer

I have watched societies for millennia and there is a barometer I use to determine when it is headed toward its demise. Shock.

When a society is no longer shocked by any news it receives, it’s in trouble. When persecution, corruption, and lies become the norm and are accepted as “normal,” things are not looking good. When inhumanity becomes acceptable, things are looking worse. When the population prefers fictitious entertainment to reality, it means that the people no longer even wish to know what’s going on.

What shocks you?

Turnabout

He’d always hated traveling, but sometimes it was unavoidable. He wasn’t quite certain how he’d managed to be headed away from home this time but chalked it up to getting older. His memory wasn’t quite what it had been–everything about him had diminished with age. Then again, it might have been that bottle of Jack Daniels he vaguely recalled consuming the night before.

Traveling in America was bad enough with the TSA security screening, but many other countries were worse. They did all of the TSA things, and then insisted on conducting interviews with each. and. every. traveler.

So here he was, standing in line, with some old guy (well, older than him, anyway) behind a podium, waiting to be interviewed. The line snaked forward until it was his turn. The old man looked down a list.

“Ah! Here we go. Would you please state your occupation?”

“Damned bureaucrats,” he thought, “always poking their nose into other people’s business.” Then he said, “I work for Homeland Defense, protecting America’s borders.”

“Ahhh,” commented the man behind the podium. “What’s your position on immigrants?”

“If they are legal, educated, employable, and speak English, I can tolerate them,” he replied, surprised that he was so blatantly candid.

“And if they’re seeking refuge from dangers?”

He looked for an ID card or at least a badge so he could complain about this jerk, but all he had was one of those stupid stick on “Hello my name is” labels with Rock written in sharpie. He realized that the man was waiting.

“If they don’t have a visa, they’re not allowed in. That’s the law.”

“What about natural born citizens?” the man behind the podium asked.

“No problem.” he replied, “If they have proof of citizenship, we let them right in.”

“But not the refugees?”

“Right. The law is the law.” He smiled inside, proud of himself for sticking to his values.

“Tell me,” the man behind the podium asked, “were you born here?”

“No,” he replied, irritated at Rock’s stupidity. “I was born in America.”

“So you’re not a natural-born citizen here” Rock replied.

“Of course not” he responded. This guy was a real idiot. The man behind the podium put his finger on a button that was visible on the top of the podium. “Since you are not a citizen here and since you have not completed the immigration process, I cannot let you enter.”

“Where am I going?”

“Some call it limbo, others call it purgatory. You can call it whatever you like.

“Once you complete your application and submit it through proper channels, we should get around to it in an eon or so. Next!” he pushed the button. A trap door opened and the man began to fall.