Home > My Favorites > Day One Hundred and Thirteen: Dear Diary

Day One Hundred and Thirteen: Dear Diary

September 11th, 2011

Dear Diary,

There are some days you just want to leave alone. You want to step quietly and not raise a fuss, and wait until it’s over. I guess this is one of ’em. All those months of planning, working out the bugs and getting my ducks in a row, I guess the time just slid by me. I was all ready for the Big Day, my day to shine, and then I actually turn on a TV for once and…

Ah, well. Could happen to anyone, I guess.

You would think that it wouldn’t matter so much, even to a guy like me, but it does. It really does. I mean, all you see on TV are those videos of those towers falling and people screaming, and you know – you know what’s going to happen next, and it just Breaks. My. Heart. The whole country goes nuts and empties its coffers chasing shadows around the globe. Civil liberties get bent and twisted into granny knots. Hell, that halfwit President actually managed to get re-elected, and if I were a betting man, I would never have put money on that. Nuh-uh. But I guess you can’t underestimate what kind of dumb shit a frightened populace will pull, when its back is up against the wall. Something to remember, I suppose, for all of us in Tha Biz.

And you know I wasn’t the only one taking notes on that day, right? The blogs were just humming with activity – screen captures, photographs, and theory after theory after theory. There were at least two guys actually down there taking air samples and trying to figure out if some kind of hallucinogenic chemtrail gas had been released and the towers were actually still standing. Dumb idea, that. Mind control gasses don’t work through TV cameras, I told one of ’em, but he wouldn’t listen. The rest of us just started spinning out scenarios whenever we were able to tear ourselves away from the news.

Here’s the weird thing about that day: the people who remember it – i.e. everyone – don’t remember it the way they think they do. Did you know that there are people out there who honestly and truly believe they saw the first plane hit the tower on live TV? I know, right! Even Dubya thinks he saw it, and unless those nutball Truthers are right, he’s retouched his memories just like the rest of us did. And that’s what really amazes me about humans, you know? That we can take something real, an event that truly, objectively, measurably happened, and just… change it! Just like that! We have the power to utterly alter reality with that little three pounds of  meat between our ears, and that’s without any kind of ESP or alien mind control rays or time-lost mental manipulation helmets. Utterly fascinating.

That probably explains why Charlene broke up with me. Hey-yo!

Well, that, and the arrest, but I think she really overreacted to that. It’s not like anyone died, or anything. Well, not died. You look back on it, and it’s a funny story. It would have been great for the grandkids, but no – little miss Law and Order doesn’t want to have grandkids with a convicted felon. Fine. ExcUUUUUUSe me. I’ll just take my clone army and go home, then.

After three to five years.

Where was I? Oh. Yeah. That day. The whole re-making of reality thing aside, that day taught me so many lessons. The more you step back and really look at it, you really see how the world works, you know? I mentioned the Truthers before, right? They’re brilliant – I love ’em. I wouldn’t want to sit down to dinner with one of them or anything, but they are a classic example of how people can believe what they want to believe, no matter what actually happened. They see fire acting in a way they don’t expect fire to act, and they connect the dots themselves. BAM – thermite. They see a building fall the way they don’t think a building should fall. BAM – controlled demolition.

So that’s trick number one: find out what people already believe, and reinforce that belief. Then they’re all yours. In the palm of your hand, as it were. So if I were to, say, spread rumors about a certain political figure that he was secretly associated with the nation’s sworn enemies, well… There’d be a population of folks who’d believe it, right? Even if the “evidence” was a picture I’d drawn in crayon and pulled off a refrigerator, they’d swallow it whole! Put a little money into a nice video presentation, hack into the screens around Times Square? One maniacal laugh and I’d have their hearts and minds before you knew it.

And why? Because they’re scared. You watch thousands of people die and two huge buildings just crumble to rubble and see if you don’t have to go change your shorts. I had thought that movies and video games had really inured people to violence on a massive scale, but it turned out not to be the case. People are just as capable of succumbing to utter mindless terror as they ever were. The fact that it was a freak, one-off occurrence? The fact that your chances of dying in another attack like that were essentially zero? The fact that twice that many people die in the United States every day, just by being there? None of it mattered. People were terrified.

Which is why they call it terrorism. Duh.

But the best part was that even people who were nowhere near New York and Washington were scared! There were folks down in Taint County, Arkansas who were utterly convinced that the tehrists were going to fly a plane into their municipal waste treatment plant any minute now. The whole country was completely controlled by fear, and they let it happen. The government took advantage of it to try and remake the Middle East, the media used it to boost ratings, and that ol’ devil Bin Laden used it to stroke his own ego. Resources that could have gone to helping people were poured into a financial black hole, and everyone was so focused on that one little thing that they didn’t see their entire economy curling up and devouring itself. I just think about that and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

That one act – that one, simple act utterly changed the world that day. Nineteen guys with box cutters, for god’s sake. Not an unstoppable giant robot or a moon base from which to rain destruction, or even a canister of horrible neurotoxin attached to a dirigible, the way they used to do it in the good old days. Some half-trained zealots with sharp implements and all the conviction in the world.

Man. There’s no way I can top that.

So I’ve powered down the robots, left the internet unhacked, and set my orbital space laser to standby. Oh, don’t worry, diary – I haven’t given up just yet. My undersea dome has escaped detection so far, probably because it’s not sitting on an oil field or anything. And before you ask, no – I had nothing to do with that quake in Japan. That was probably someone else, someone too dumb to claim responsibility for a perfectly good tsunami.

It just wouldn’t seem fair, is all. I know, I know – when did I ever care about fairness? True. But still, even in the world-domination profession, you have to have some standards.

Besides, Bin Laden would probably just take credit for it anyway. I swear, I put that man’s brain inside a robot body as a favor, and suddenly he thinks he’s just King Terror. I guess some people’s standards are just a little bit lower than others.

Well, diary, I gotta go. I may not be conquering the world today, but that doesn’t mean I have to sit on my hands. That army of lava men isn’t going to train itself.

See ya.

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