NSA Calling

Hello Connie?  This is the National Security Agency.  Relax-- you’re not in trouble.  You’ve done nothing legally wrong.  This is simply a courtesy call to let you know that your so-called best friend, Dana, has been dating your ex-boyfriend.  That’s right -- Alan.  No, they haven’t slept together yet.  She wants to wait.  But he HAS technically stayed overnight at her house on at least one occasion.  At this time we are unable to confirm why Dana's roommates haven’t told you about this.  They've switched to a new carrier we haven’t cracked yet; it could be a few weeks.


Yes, Dana is aware that you’re so not over Alan; that’s why we felt it was urgent to contact you directly.  Never mind how we came by this information; it’s not important—what’s important is that you need to do some serious thinking about the people you choose to spend your time with.  We know you’ve had some reservations about Dana -- after all, you’ve been telling Karen for months now that you were going to stop hanging out with her, but every time she calls, you’re all, “Sure Dana, whatever you want to do,” and then you just drop everything for her.  Karen keeps telling you to wake up, Connie.  Why won’t you listen to her?  The girl has a good head on her shoulders.  She calls her mother every week!


In short, we at the National Security Agency feel that you’re seriously disrespecting yourself, Connie.  We suggest you take some time to figure out your own needs and get your life back on track.  You've been treading water the last few years, and you know it.  What happened to your dreams of pursuing an acting career?  You haven't been on an audition in months.  Did you really think you'd still be waiting tables at this point in your life -- and at that shabby diner?  We’re not even sure how you’re able to afford the Verizon data plan you’re using on your meager wages -- and you’re on, what, your third replacement smartphone?  It couldn’t hurt you to be a little more careful with your possessions, while you're at it.


Speaking of which, if you’re still not over Alan, why are you stringing Don along?  Our reports have not yet conclusively established what he looks like, but he sounds like such a great guy.  There are not many fellows out there like him, that’s for sure.  If we may be blunt, Connie, the NSA is concerned that you may have some serious emotional hang-ups when it comes to men.  If you’re not interested in pursuing a relationship with Don, it’s time to stop returning his phone calls only when it suits your needs, and then inviting him over just to watch Project Runway marathons with you -- which, by the way, several of our confidential sources have confirmed he doesn’t much enjoy.  If you’re really just not into Don, you need to be up-front with him about it; you owe him that much.  Full disclosure: the NSA has taken a shine to Don, and would be happy to take him off your hands.  You may be too self-centered right now to realize this, but we have needs, too.  We can’t even remember the last time we had a relaxing evening and shared a laugh with a good friend that was aware of our presence and talking directly to us.  A lot of people don’t have a very high opinion of our Agency lately, and we could really use the kind of comfort, intimacy and understanding that Don has been patiently offering you for months—and which you’ve been turning down cold!  It’s time to set him free, Connie.  If you don’t appreciate Don, the NSA does.  We know what he likes, too.  We promise we’ll take good care of him.  No need to give us his number, thanks -- we’ve already got it.


All right, Connie -- we'll let you go; we've said our piece.  It's up to you now whether you want to listen or not.  We just thought it was time for a little heart-to-heart conversation about the direction your life seems to be heading in and the choices you're making.  If you don’t appreciate our hard-earned insights, that’s one of the few things we can't control.  We may know a lot about you -- A LOT --  like what’s in your bank account, your refrigerator, and your medical files.  But what’s in your heart, Connie, only you can know that.  Well, maybe you and the FBI.


Molly Schoemann is a writer and editor from New York. You can find more of her humor at http://mollyschoemann.com or follow her on Twitter @iheardtell.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

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Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.