Fear Tactics

by J. Randolph Finsel © 2003

Engrossed by my day, the morning has already become a protest. An otherwise empty day, no plans or responsibilities, no guilt or curiosities, and already, there’s protest in the email, protest on the phone. The inbox shows you your options: Joe Trippi from DeanforAmerica.com, Eli Parser from Moveon.org, SUBJ: FWD: Bush’s accomplishments. The phone rings five times this morning and stops. Then, later, too conditioned to the ringing to sleep, it’s someone asking me what type of credit cards I have and telling me his company is sending me a diamond watch “with a real diamond at the twelve spot” if I pay forty-five dollars a month for a subscription to five magazines.

“I don’t like to talk about my credit cards to strangers over the phone,” I reply.

Flipping through the free channels, it’s: Jerry, I’m Sleeping with my Uncle; ELIMIDATE; the news “What You Don’t Know About Your Diet that Could Kill You, later at eleven,” scantily clad Spanish women hosting talk shows, something that looks like office building kung fu with English voiceovers mandarin subtitles, and commercials enticing – buy the Lexus or you neighbors won’t like you, buy the toothpaste or the girls won’t fuck you, remain in your homes scared and consume.

I go into the kitchen to fry some eggs and make coffee. I turn the gas up very high to heat up the pan, throw some butter down and scramble two eggs right on the steaming yellow skillet. Kettle on, toast dropped, dog fed, no dishes to be done. Eggs with melted sharp over plain wheat toast, coffee soaking in the press, little black dog chomping in his bowl, I peek out the window. Leaves rustling, parked cars, clouds, a mail woman making her rounds; the world is deceptively quiet.

x x x

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