Homefront security comes home

October 20, 2001|By Rob Kasper


To: Family.

From: Dad, Czar of the Homefront.

Subject: Increased Security.

Following the events of recent days and the examples set by various branches of government and industry, I have taken it upon myself to draw up a five-point plan to tighten security procedures at our home, hereafter referred to as "the structure."

1. IDs: Starting in the very near future, family members will be required to wear identification badges anytime they are in "the structure."

This step will cut down on the likelihood that "outsiders" will sneak in "the structure" and steal our valuable stuff. Need I remind you that my treasured wool baseball cap, the one with a leather brim, has recently disappeared, that a certain black fleece vest has not been seen since last March and that a Phillips screwdriver has been AWOL for almost a year.

Originally, our homefront ID was going to be our Maryland driver's licenses. The plan was that upon entering "the structure," we would remove the licenses from our wallets and affix them, with really cool clipping gizmos, to our shirts or belts. That plan was abandoned when it became apparent that anytime a driver's license is removed from a wallet, chances dramatically increase that the license will be lost. In the past year we have already made two Saturday-morning trips to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Glen Burnie to replace a lost license, an experience that is best described as "a bummer."

Plans to determine the exact form of the household IDs are in flux. Suggestions are welcome. I am leaning toward using those sticky nametags, the ones used during parents' night at school. Rather than filling up the blank space with a name, we could use that space to print reminders of our characteristic, if annoying, behaviors. Something like "No talking before two cups of coffee," or "Would rather be watching The Simpsons" or "Incommunicado when doing crossword puzzle" might work.

2. White powders: After reading recent newspaper accounts describing authorities being summoned to investigate flour that appeared in the bottom of a frozen pizza box, and hazardous-materials crews being dispatched to public restrooms where they found a white powder used to clean bathrooms, I think it is time we become familiar with our pulverized domestic substances.

Accordingly, I am making arrangements to conduct demonstrations, open to all residents of "the structure," showing them how to make a pizza (yes, it involves flour) and how to scrub a bathroom (yes, it involves a white powdery substance called "cleanser"). The hope is that once residents have become familiar with pizza-making and bathtub-scrubbing procedures, they will be inspired to start practicing them.

3. The mail: It has been determined that the best way to avoid a problem piece of mail is to ignore the lot of it. Henceforth all mail will be allowed to pile up in a mound, inside the front door. This is called the "mound method" and is widely used in business and government. Permission will be granted to occasionally paw through the mound to pull out a magazine.

4. Parking: Security experts say that parking vehicles close to a structure is risky behavior that should be avoided, unless the vehicles in question belong to big shots. In that case, it is OK because big shots should never have to walk more than half a block. In the near future, a status-oriented parking plan will be implemented at "the structure." Those high on the totem pole will be allowed to get the good parking spots and will enter and exit "the structure" with minimum hassle. Those lower on the totem pole will park in the hustings and will have to flash their IDs every 50 paces. That is the way it works in business and government.

5. Duration of security procedures: While these are "extraordinary" measures devised for "exceptional times," once you've achieved this heightened state of vigilance, it is hard to let it go. In other words, don't bet on these measures fading away until the home- front is secure, or until I have found that baseball cap.

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