By John Sammon
Feb 23, 2003

columnist sammon

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Run, hide, panic!

I heard the government had declared a triple-stage, 3-D, Code Ultra, Anti-terrorist Alert, the very top alert that can be declared. That means that attacks by Arab people from small sandy countries wearing turbans on their heads are eminent.

I panicked. I ran to the closet and got the World War I doughboy’s helmet I had purchased at a flea market in Genoa, Nevada, and put the helmet on. I don’t have a rifle, so I grabbed a broom.

I ran outside into the front yard. My neighbor, the yuppie who always complains about my dog barking, even when I never complain about his wife yelling at their son, “Nicholas, quit playing, get out of the street,” was taping his windows.

My other neighbor, Wally, looked over the fence, his face ashen, and said, “I’m afraid of North Korea. North Korea’s going to invade the United States.”

“It’s very bad isn’t it?” I blurted.

I ran inside the house and turned on the TV. There were tanks and anti missile batteries parked around the Washington Monument. The capital of the country that had once defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan simultaneously now looked like a South American banana dictatorship (all we need to complete the scene is Bush and Cheney standing on a balcony wearing fake medals and sunglasses).

I ran outside, and jumped in the car. I had a hard time with the ignition, but my car finally started. I drove to the hardware store, got out, ran in, and ordered 700 yards of duck tape. I don’t know what you do with duck tape, but others were buying it.

Next, I drove to the supermarket. I bought Spam, lots of Spam.

I thought ‘my God!’ What if Iraq attacks us from the east, and North Korea attacks from the west. We’ll be caught in a pincers. And here I was just getting out of debt to the point I thought I might be able to some day buy a run-down house in California.

I got mad at my late father. Sure, Dad! Sure! You had it made. Use up all the good times, and then take off. Leave the rest of us holding the bag. You bought a house back in the old days for $7,000, with no down payment. Back when you could take a two-week vacation on just one income, when you only had to worry about Russia.

I lifted the roll of duck tape out of the car, got in the front yard and started unraveling it. The dog my wife made me buy from the pound and whom I hate because he digs enormous holes in the lawn started playing tug-of-war with the end of the tape.

“What do you do with the tape?” I asked feverishly as I worked. “Put it on the windows?”

“I could tape myself under the bed and hide there.”

I ran inside the house and turned on the TV, hoping to find out what you’re supposed to do with duck tape. The national security advisor, that guy with the pug nose, announced that the Stage-3 Ultra Alert had been lifted; that new information indicated such an alert wasn’t justified.

I slumped down in my easy chair, removed my doughboy helmet, and wiped sweat from my forehead. “Whew!” I thought, thanks a lot…..pug nose (security advisor). “Now, if nothing happens, what am I gonna do with a five-year supply of Spam?”


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