A friend emailed me via Facebook to let me know that someone called her to ask about me.
I don’t get the point of Facebook email. She has my email address and can use it. Why send an email that sends a message to my email account telling me to visit a webpage so I send a message that sends her an email that sends her back to a webpage to look at the message? Does anyone else find it mildly ridiculous?
But anyway, her message was startling because (1) she hasn’t been an official reference for about a year and (2) I wasn’t aware that I was being stalked at the moment.
It feels like being in a spy story, but without the thrills. Really, I ought to receive this message in a telephone booth. She should have a towel over the phone to disguise her voice and whisper, “They’re closing in on you… I got a call. Gave them complimentary misinformation but be careful!” click.
Shouldn’t it be disconcerting to know that perfect strangers who you don’t know and may never know are asking about you?
It’s really too bad the Muslims don’t have a shidduch system in place. The IDF or CIA would have no trouble tracking down suicide bombers. All they’d have to do is make random phone calls to a suspect’s friends and relatives. Nobody would suspect a thing:
Agent: Hello, can I ask you about Yussef? He’s interested in my daughter.
Ibrahim: Oh, certainly. He’s a wonderful young man.
Agent: Religious, I hope? I only want a very religious man for my daughter.
Ibrahim: Never misses a prayer. Studies the Koran. Makes Allah’s will his will.
Agent: Yes, but would he give up his life for Allah?
Ibrahim: Just between me and you, he’s very high on Hamas’s suicide list. He’s been isolating himself and meditating a few hours every day to prepare. Yussef is the best bomber in the madrassah. A real catch.
Agent: That’s really wonderful! My daughter is quite partial to suicide bombers. Particularly rich ones. That’s the key to a happy marriage, don’t you think?
Ibrahim: Oh, absolutely.
Wired magazine ran an article once about a Bangladash-born professor Hasan Elahi who was on the USA’s surveillance list. His response? Go transparent. He keeps a blog, a YouTube account, a Twitter account, a MySpace account, etc, and keeps them all stocked with moment-by-moment information about his life. If he buys a coffee, he uploads a photo of it. If he goes to sleep, his webcam recorded it. If he waits on line at the grocery, he makes sure to post it to Twitter while blogging about it through his smartphone. He figures he might as well make it easy for the Pentagon, since he has nothing to hide. Indeed, their IP address frequently visits his various pages.
From me to Halahi (a la FAO Schwartz toys): Welcome to our world!
Except, of course, that he has it easier. Imagine what sort of bad rap we’d get if we tried simplifying the research process like that. Life just isn’t fair.