SATIRE:

Operation TIPS Hotline Transcript, as Overheard on the line at the Jones Household

by N.Z. Bear, to the best of our knowledge and belief

Hello and good day to you, fellow American! You've reached the automated voice response system for TIPS.

Please choose from one of the following options:

- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by a co-worker, press 1
- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by a friend, press 2
- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by a family member, press 3
- If you'd like to report suspicious behavior by yourself, press 4

*3*

Thank you! You've chosen to report suspicious behavior by a family member. Please select from the following options the one which best describes the behavior which you wish to report:
- If your family member is stockpiling fertilizer and you don't live on a farm, press 1
- If your family member describes Bill Maher as a "great American", press 2
- If your family member refuses to accept that President Bush's business
practices have been fully investigated and are a dead issue, press 3
- If your family member refuses to accept that Vice President Cheney's business practices have been fully investigated and are a dead issue, press 4
- If your family member is performing Google searches such as "build atomic bomb how-to" and "WMD where to buy", press 5
- If your family member greets each appearance of President Bush on television by shouting "You will perish soon, infidel!," press 6
- If your family member has expressed doubt in the fundamental strength and decency of the American System of Capitalism, press 7
For all other suspicious behavior, press 9

*7*

Thank you! You've reported that your family member has expressed doubt in the fundamental strength and decency of the American System of Capitalism. To help us better understand your family member's behavior, please select from one of the following options:
- If your family member doesn't accept and understand that their 401K losses are simply a part of the genius of capitalism, press 1
- If your family member has made comments such as "Maybe that Marx character was right" or "God bless the French", press 2
- If your family member refuses to accept that if they don't buy consumer goods, the terrorists will have won, press 3

*3*

Thank you! You've reported that your family member does not accept that if they don't buy consumer goods, the terrorists will have won. To help us better understand your family member's behavior, please indicate what kinds of consumer goods they are reluctant to purchase by selecting from one of the following options:
- If your family member is reluctant to purchase food, press 1
- If your family member is reluctant to purchase clothing, press 2
- If your family member is reluctant to purchase household goods, press 3
- If your family member is reluctant to purchase properly-licensed digital entertainment, press 4
- If your family member fails to recognize that not watching the commercials on network television is a form of theft, press 5
- If your family member is reluctant to purchase the latest movie-tie-in games and toys, press 6

*6*

Thank you! You've indicated that your family member is reluctant to purchase the latest movie-tie-in games and toys, some of the finest products that our American System of Capitalism has to offer. To better understand your family member's behavior, please select from one of the following options:
- If your family member refuses to purchase the joint Minority Report/Office of HomeLand Security Junior PreCrime Investigator kit, press 1
- If your family member refuses to purchase the joint Austin Powers / CIA /FBI Master of Disguise Makeup Kit (including Austin Powers Teeth and J. Edgar Panties) press 2
- If your family member refuses to purchase the joint Lilo & Stitch /Immigration and Naturalization Service video "Welcome to America, Now Assimilate, Little Alien!", press 3

*3*

Thank you! Although failure to purchase the Lilo & Stitch / Immigration and Naturalization Service video "Welcome to America, Now Assimilate, Little Alien!" is not yet a crime, hopefully it soon will be, after the passage of the USA-BUCKS (United Senators Advocating Buying Unlimited Crap in Key States) act, sponsored by Senator Hollings.

We already know where you live, of course, but to ensure we question the correct family member, please enter your name using the letters on your phone's touchtone keypad:

*W* - *E* - *N* - *D* - *Y*
Thank you, Wendy! Now please enter your family member's relationship to you:
- Press 1 if the family member you've described is your sister
- Press 2 if the family member you've described is your brother
- Press 3 if the family member you've described is your father
- Press 4 if the family member you've described is your mother
- Press 5 if the family member you've described is your child
For all other relationships, press 9

*4*

Thank you! You've indicated that the family member behaving suspiciously is your mother. Finally, one last question: please enter your age on the keypad:
*5*
Thank you, Wendy, and congratulations on joining the TIPS team! We'll be sending a friendly agent by to check in on mommy soon. Have a great day!

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This story was published on August 7, 2002.