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Federal Officials scouring Internet’s vast wasteland

Features Column

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

We now live in the enlightened age of electronic wonder, which means I can look you up on Facebook and find out that Publix no longer has the cheapest steaks and you messed up and bought them there before realizing that they were 40 cents a pound cheaper at Food Lion.

I’m not sure who invented all the little micro-whatevers that allow computers to deliver millions of pieces of information every fraction of a second, but somehow I doubt they had this type information in mind when they invented it. We now know more about each other than ever before without really knowing each other at all. It is sort of like online dating services — as long as I control the information about who I am, I am pretty damn impressive if I do say so myself. It is when someone actually meets me that it is a little bit tougher to live up to the hype.

With this advancement in information collection comes also the hand of Big Brother as it has now just been revealed the government has been data-mining emails and text messages of, well, just about everybody.

I do not know exactly who is doing the mining, but I pity the poor fool who has to review my emails and text messages. For one thing, he’ll find out that FrontGate apparently has a sale every day of the year and twice on Father’s day. Dillard’s and Target are not far behind. (Note to self, never again give a sales clerk my email address. I don’t care if they promise to register me in a drawing for $12 million or discount my next purchase by $50, don’t do it.)

A sale at FrontGate, by the way, means that a pool lounge chair that is normally six times as expensive as any other pool chair sold in America will only be four times as expensive during the sale period.

They’ll also determine that none of my friends have an actual job that requires them to do anything. They can determine this by the number of emails I get telling me about every subject under the sun. There are the obligatory cute puppy and animal emails, inspirational messages — which, by a law passed in 1846, must be forwarded to 10 other people, lest one fall upon bad luck, be labeled a non-believer or marked as unpatriotic — and miracle cures for everything from impotence to skin tags. If the government would simply pay attention to my emails, there would be cures for cancer, obesity, baldness and big toe fungus. Then, we’d no longer need Obamacare.

The government could also hone up on misquoting every important figure in history since Adam. I’ve discovered Obama told “60 Minutes” he once enjoyed burning U.S. flags and the national anthem should be “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing,” that Andy Rooney said some stuff even whacked out and crazy for Andy Rooney, and Jane Fonda once belonged to the Manson gang. Who needs the National Enquirer when you’ve got my email?

Whatever happens, I hope the IRS does not put me on their surveillance list. They’d find out I inherited $40 million dollars from Nigeria and there is no telling how much I owe the government for that.

They’ll also discover that some women do not wear all their clothes and I have no idea why anyone would send me documentation of this fact, other than they are probably just as shocked as me about this discovery.

No telling what joke may pop up, but rest assured some group, person or organization will be offended. This fact gives me great pleasure, as most of America sits up at night waiting to be offended.

What they will not find is any meaningful work in my email or texting. This electronic wonder that is supposed to increase my proficiency instead costs me three hours a day responding to and, yes, sending my own useless bits of information.

Here’s hoping the government is enjoying themselves sifting through it all. Be sure to send the one about the little boy who beat cancer around 10 times or the government will have 10 years of bad luck.

Hmm, looks like they may have missed that one at least once already.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.