What’s happening, Elijah? You just turned nine months last week. How cool is that?
Yeah! That was last week. I’m home in my crib. There’s no daycare today. I’m scared!
There’s no reason to be afraid, Elijah. Your Mom’s going to work but Grandma’s coming to take care of you today. No need to worry.
Uh-huh! We’re being surveilled, Grandpa! They’re watching us!
Oh my! I’m so sorry you’re afraid, Elijah. But listen to Grandpa. Trust me. No one’s surveilling you. You’re only nine months old. Has Mom been watching “Homeland“?
They are too, Grandpa. We don’t watch “Homeland“. We don’t get Showtime.
Okay. Good. So you don’t watch Carrie Mathieson and Saul Berenson and all that CIA stuff.
Right. Mom likes to read a lot. We don’t watch much TV.
So what makes you think you’re under surveillance?
I don’t just think it, Grandpa. I KNOW it. I’m not making it up. I have hard evidence.
What’s the evidence? How do you know someone’s watching your every move?
There’s a camera next to my crib, Grandpa! Right here. I’m looking into it right now. I can’t even sleep in privacy! You gotta get us outta here! You and Grandma go to U-Haul and move all the stuff out and tell Mom not to come home. We’ll feel safer at your house.
It IS a strange world, Elijah, and you’re right. That camera is a surveillance device. But it’s not what you think. It’s not the FBI or the CIA or ICE. Your Mom put it there to keep you safe when she’s in another room.
I knew it. I have no privacy! Nick Harkaway speaks for me:
“Yes, you are under surveillance.
Yes, it is odious.
Yes, it should bother you.
And yes, it’s hard to know how to avoid it.”
Okay. I get it. I understand why the monitor bothers you. But some things can’t be avoided at your age. Some things really are for the sake of your safety. No one’s spying on you. Mom just wants to watch you so nothing bad happens to you.
You’d better check out your computer, Grandpa! Edward Snowden said the NSA may be watching you right now while you’re talking on the internet. Shut it down, Grandpa! Be safe! And remember. I’ll always be here for you in your old age, if they don’t get me first.
Thank you, Elijah! So happy we can chat like this. Happy Birthday.
— Grandpa Gordon and Elijah, Chaska, MN, Feb. 26, 2018.