Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

November 21, 2013

VALLEY: Eye spy 'November' on my page

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Maybe it’s just me. But too often I feel as though I’m not on the same page with other people. 

Several years ago, I made a plywood scarecrow, which we use in the front yard as a fall lawn-ornament. At the foot of this scarecrow, I made interchangeable parts in the form of a jack-o-lantern and turkey for their respective holidays.

It was the first week of November when my wife suggested that I replace the pumpkin with the wooden bird. Halloween had just passed and even though Thanksgiving was still 3 weeks away, I acquiesced. What the heck?

It was dark out when I tackled the project, but thanks to the glowing lights from my neighbor’s porch, I could see fine. Those lights? Christmas lights. Their front porch was already decked out for the Yule season.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re good neighbors and the lights look nice, but, do you see where I’m going here? I’m taking down Halloween decorations several days after that holiday by the glare of Christmas lights. Is it just me? Did I miss something?

Another thing I can’t wrap my brain around: The term “Big Brother” — as in “Big brother is watching.” I take issue with it. George Orwell’s iconic term doesn’t sit well with me. It never did.

I guess it’s because I have always regarded my big brother as good – not something to worry about. Having my older brother, Mike, watching over me has always been a sense of comfort. I don’t know — that’s just the way I roll. I can’t relate to the negative connotation. Am I on the wrong page? 

And somewhat related to Big Brother: This schmuck Edward Snowden. He’s the narcissistic punk who leaked over 200,000 classified documents to the press, causing a tidal wave of serious repercussions.

Some hailed him as a hero. Not me. I think he’s a treasonous egoist who believes he’s right and everyone else is wrong. And if he thought the United States was abusive, I wonder how’s he’s making out in his new homeland of Russia?!

But the point is: why are so many people surprised that the National Security Agency was spying? Duh! The world seems flabbergasted that basically a “spy” agency spied? Wow! Am I just more cynical than most? Am I on the wrong page again?

Didn’t society lose its naivete even before Nixon was caught spying on people in his own country? And it’s not limited to politics. Even in baseball, pitchers and catchers shield their faces in fear that the opponents are stealing their signs by reading lips. In football, coaches mask their mouths with clipboards for the same reason. 

Paranoia, probably justified, is rampant in a society filled with high-tech spy equipment. Everyone wants to know everyone else’s business. The paparazzi industry is a perfect example. Tabloid journalists will literally stand on their heads to get a scoop. They can suck up more dirt than a J. Edgar Hoover vacuum cleaner.

Why is it surprising that countries keep an eye on each other, when there’s so much more at stake? Give me a break. 

By the way, that scarecrow I built and put out front? Behind its eyes are cameras. The feed goes to a monitor at my big brother’s house so he can watch over and take care of me. 

But then, I’m sure everyone does that. 

Or am I on the wrong page again?

That’s the way it looks from the Valley.




Tom Valley is a Medina resident. Contact him at tvalley@ rochester.rr.com.