Be afraid. Be very afraid. (It's the law.)

Those of you just back from vacation might need a quick reminder about the state of the world. It's not good. But you wouldn't know that, would you, since you were away on that annual orgy of beach-related self-centeredness, ignoring our wounded planet and wallowing in the unearned privileges of the American leisure class.

I know I did.

Well, there's a lot more to be afraid of now that you're back (and no, it's not because you're back— please, this isn't about you), and the government is making darn sure we don't forget any of it. Turns out, over the past few months federal officials got a little lax in warning us about the many threats to our way of life, and I'm not just talking about the brain-dissolving toxins recently discovered emanating from Menthos commercials.

No, these are SERIOUS threats, the kind that make President Bush talk publicly about being "firm in our resolve" and "resolute in our strength" and "Hey, I had to cancel the barbecue because of this!"

Now the federal government is taking every threat seriously, and has ordered that citizens caught having a good day are to be immediately stopped and reminded that, at any moment, SOMETHING REALLY BAD COULD HAPPEN!

Paper cut? CIA: "Told you so."

Funny noise in the bathroom? FBI: "Made you look."

Tummy ache from that second tube of Pringles? Department of Homeland Security: "Hey, if you want to live life on a razor's edge like that, don't blame us."

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2002
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