Saturday, February 11, 2012

No Terror Threat At All: VISA

The Department of Just Blowing Smoke Security (DJBSS) has over the years, worked tirelessly to keep the general public informed on terrorist organizations. Well, maybe not tirelessly, but they do work hard from time to time at gathering information and assessing relative threat levels where … OK, when we can actually sober up members of the DJBSS or get their heads out of jumbo-sized bags of Cheetos randomly scattered about the attic that we keep them locked in, they do a reasonable job of notifying the public about threats from organizations that nobody's ever heard of before. (And in spite of the disparaging remarks made about them, including by me, they have still proved more effective in threat protection than the TSA.)

It was they after all, who outed the travel nemesis known as the ADL (Anti-Destination League), the electronic threat of TROLL's (Terrible Responses in Otherwise Legitimate Locations) in the blogosphere, the forecasting doomsayers better known as WACKO's (Weather Anticipation Crisis Kibitzer Organization), identified the telecommunication onslaught of SHIT's (Society of Harassing Imitation Telemarketers), they who outed the attempted development of a Super Terrorist (a combination of a socially progressive liberal, a rabid environmentalist, and a religious fundamentalist) and of course they who released the new definition of TERRORISM itself (Taxing Evil Rich to Reduce Obligations Resulting from an Immoderate government Spending Movement).

(If you missed any of these earlier alerts, simply do a search in this blog with terrorism as the key word.)

This weekend however, an alert was slipped out from under the door of the DJBSS research center (the aforementioned attic) that was a bit of a surprise. It's a group that has not been hatching plans for lighting the fires of dissent in the nation (and in fact has trouble both lighting fires and making plans), has committed no overt acts against the general populace (though many of them should perhaps, be committed), and poses no risk to anyone's safety (well, other than themselves maybe). More surprising to me however, is that it's an organization that I belong to: the Village Idiot Society of America.

First, let me say that VISA has nothing to do with the credit card company using the same name, and we have been around far longer. (There's a rumor that the card's slogan "we're everywhere you want to be" originated with the Village Idiots of VISA, who've said for years, "we're everywhere, whether you want us there or not". No copyright infringement charge for the name or slogan usage has ever been filed however, possibly over concern of interfering with non-member Idiots in the legal profession.)

For those of you who may be concerned about VISA, let me say first that whether you realized it or not, there have long been Village Idiots in each and every community in this country, with larger municipalities having multiple members in proportion to their populations (and some who will remain unnamed, with staggering numbers in proportion to their populations)Having been a card-carrying member in good standing for longer than I can remember, I am pleased to find that I have been welcomed by local Village Idiots and had my membership updated after each relocation that I've made over the years. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that membership is not defined through the actual possession of a card as such, but something more like an old grocery store receipt with a secret code word scrawled illegibly on the back. You'll never get me to get me to reveal the nature of this word to you however, even under torture.  This is not out of a sense of blind courage, but more that I seem to have misplaced my sales slip somewhere; and even when I had it ... I couldn't read the word.)

Now many assume that the highest concentration of Village Idiots in the US is in Washington DC, and while such an assumption is natural enough, such information is both misleading and incorrect. While there are certainly more Idiots per square mile in Washington DC than in any other location in the US (with the possible exception of the couple of blocks surrounding the UN Building in New York City), few of those in DC (and none in the UN) are certified members of VISA. All in both locations in fact normally find their submitted applications summarily rejected through regular violation of VISA's first rule, “Do no harm”. (Come to think of it, this may be our only rule. We tend not be very good about making rules and often have trouble remembering them.)

Real Village Idiots are much harder to identify than you might think in fact, and are often little discernible from the general public. They can generally be distinguished upon close examination however, by the rather vague expressions that they wear, their apparent lack of focus on the world around them, their complete
inability to answer simple questions put to them, and their willingness to smile for no apparent reason. (Wow, now I've probably got them even more confused with politicians …. sorry.)

Unlike their amateur counterparts in politics however, the real thing are much like the Ford Dent character describes Earth in Douglas Adam's “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”, “Mostly harmless”. They go their own way, doing their own thing; and occasionally speaking truth to power at the most inconvenient times and in a mostly nonsensical fashion (some of us more than others with that last part). The actual truth and timeliness of such statements often going largely unrecognized until those being spoken to or about get past agreeing that person who made the statement was a rather 'odd sort of person'.

While the position isn't compensated particularly well, we do have some really wonderful Village Idiot conventions, filled with symposiums, lectures, and advanced training in idiotic behavior; interspersed with holding competitions in:

  • Who can wear the most things that don't go with any of the other things they're wearing.
  • Who can hold a vague expression for the longest period without cracking a smile (I've won this one the last five years running, but I think it's because I only have one expression.)
  • Best fall from a sitting position (extra points are awarded for the height of the seat).
  • Best response to the question: “What are you, an idiot or something?”

If confronted by a Village Idiot, please feel free to call us at 1-800-RAT-BUTT (the PC code for saying, "Like I give a rat's ass"). While there is no danger in such an encounter, it's nice for those of us in VISA to know where our membership is these days (especially since they don't often know themselves). In fact, try and get an address or phone number if you can before calling, so we can try and get in touch with these Idiots later.

In spite of the apparently dire warnings of the DJBSS (something that we will discuss with them later while delivering more booze and Cheetos to the attic), the editorial staff at “Just Blowing Smoke” is still leaving the terror threat at pink; since it's the most harmless color we can think of.

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