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Jack Zaleski, Published October 08 2011

Zaleski: Phases of the moon; phases of the mind

Not much in the crazy file the last month or so. Maybe they were busy like everyone else with the start of school, harvest, raking leaves and the general uptick in activity that comes in September and October. But then, as the autumn moon began phasing to full (it goes all full Tuesday), telephone calls and email messages phased into bizarro-world.

Here’s a sample:

“Read your column about the GPS stuff – you know, them watching us and all – and there’s more, you know,” the caller said.


“Yessir. I know for a fact they put them chips in babies at the hospital so they can track ’em for all their lives, you know …”

Really? I said. Tell me more.

“You makin’ fun of me?”

No, no, sir. I, well, I wonder how you know this.

“I ain’t gonna say because, ya know, they’re trackin’ me, too …”

Who? I asked. Who is tracking you, and who puts the chips in the babies?

“I don’t believe you media people,” he said. “You got a helluva story here, and you think I don’t know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.”

No, that’s not it, I said. I just would like to know how you know all this.

“Can’t say,” he whispered. “My guess is they’re listenin’ to us right now. Right now. So I can’t say.”

But what about the baby thing? That’s very interesting, I said, trying to be serious.

“You check it out,” he said. “You’ll see. Right now there are them babies out there with chips in ’em. Bein’ tracked, you know. And if there’s babies in your family, you better check for them chips.”

Before I could respond, he hung up.

A caller from Fargo began with this:

“I’ve been reading the SheSays section, but it’s not for women, is it?”

Uh, yes, it is aimed at women of a certain age, I said. That’s our target group.

“No,” she said, “it’s obviously for men. Pervert men, of course, who want to read about women for all the wrong reasons.”

I sensed where the caller was going and tried to end the call.

“Now don’t you cut me off,” she said. “You’re a man, so I know you’re part of the problem. I’ve spent years studying this kind of thing.”

Problem? This kind of thing?

“Darn right. We know what’s going on – my friends and I. We’re all educated women, university women; some of us teach and have done research. We see what The Forum is trying to do. Sex columns, of all things! Do you think we’re stupid? It’ll be just like another soft-porn, condescending dirty magazine – right ladies?”

In the background I heard several comments of approval, clapping even.

But, I ventured, if you read the section, it’s not that at all. The topics surely are of interest to women and sometimes to men. I read it myself and find good stuff.

“Good stuff!” she said. “It’s just a subtle version of a Victoria’s Secret ad.” (More cheers from the background.)

Well, I don’t see it that way at all.

“Of course you don’t,” she said, the sarcasm dripping. “You’re one of them, aren’t you? Just another man …”

Couldn’t argue with that, and the conversation ended.

Contact Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at (701) 241-5521.