It has to be some elaborate Home Depot plot. There’s no other way to make any rational conclusions explaining what the nation has been put through the last couple of weeks.

Recently, the federal government elevated their kindergarten-inspired color-coded terrorist warning system to Orange (which also happens to be the name of a delicious fruit, but that is beside the point), signifying that there was a high chance that some terrorist activity would be undertaken. Of course, the media in Washington immediately began to whip the public into a near panic by executing their “Show All Fatal Examples of Terrorists Yakking” plan. Nicknamed S.A.F.E.T.Y., this plan seems to be used whenever something imminently destructive is going to happen. Apparently, the newscasters feel it is their duty to keep us “safe” by reminding us every three seconds that there is a threat to all our lives. We are threatened by our friends and neighbors, by water, by planes flying above, by gas, by terrorist-induced snowstorms. Even our own pets may be plotting against our lives.

One would think that we have a right to be scared since we inhabit the nation’s capitol and are therefore legitimate target for people who want to bring down the oppressive government system (I’m only talking about terrorists, radical leftists would never try to bring down our government . right?). But it’s even worse in New York City. Harbors were closed down during the Super Bowl – 3,000 miles away – because authorities got “information” that a water attack might be forthcoming. Every holiday since then, one part of New York City or another has been closed down due to “information” from shadowy sources that turned out to be false. Because Washington and New York were the two cities targeted in the Sept. 11 attacks, it can be accepted that residents will become very terrified at any mention of the word terror.

So explain to me why I have friends calling me from Miami, Gainesville and Tallahassee telling me that the people and officials there are going crazy with concern over a possible attack? Canned foods have been snatched up so fast that you’d think the supermarkets of the nation got together and decided to put a nugget of gold in all the canned foods they stocked. It’s been much the same way in hardware stores across this vulnerable land of ours. The possibility of attacks may seem real, but reality no longer seems to be playing a role in the lives of many people. From the smallest town in Kansas to the biggest metropolitan areas, everyone is scared out of their minds that the terrorists are not just after the big wigs of government, they are after each and every one of us personally, and will not stop until we are taken out of the picture.

Which bring me back to my first point: Home Depot. Amid the hysteria of preparing ourselves for any possible situation that could arise, America has inexplicably developed a strong affinity to duct tape. Ever since the government issued a warning for Americans to be wary of biological or chemical attacks, a nationwide shortage of duct tape has occurred. Send me a letter and correct me if I’m wrong, but I never knew that in addition to plumbing and automotive repair use, duct tape prevents exposure to anthrax, resin and other chemicals, protects bodies from volatile explosions and purifies tainted drinking water. I have seen a smaller version of this duct tape phenomenon in Miami whenever a hurricane is supposed to hit us and people get duct tape to protect their house. Never in my life have I seen it reach to the levels it has these past few days.

So, it must be a sinister plot by Home Depot to raise sales in a sagging economy. Somehow, they got a shady character to give false information to the government – in case you don’t know by now, the information that led to the raising of the warning level to Orange was most likely false – and this character must have then told a few people that the only way to save themselves was to go to Home Depot and buy rolls upon rolls of duct tape. Thus, we have the situation as it stands today; another holiday passes with no incidence and the populous is stuck with a bunch of non-refundable duct tape. It’s a possibility that my theory is completely off the mark, but I think it’s based in just as much reality as the theory that duct tape can save your life if a bomb goes off. Either way, now all we can do is sit and wait for Easter and then Memorial Day. If I were you, I’d go to Home Depot now and beat the rush.

Chenel Josaphat is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service and can be reached at The Last Spoonful appears every other Tuesday in The Hoya.

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