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Tatum: I am not a terrorist...
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But if the government keeps trying to protect me, I might consider it.

Of course, now that I’ve said that out loud, I can probably expect to see strange pizza vans parked on my street and my azaleas wearing fedoras and sensible shoes. After all, the world seems to have undergone one giant mass humor lobotomy in the last few years. Irony seems to be a foreign concept; satire a quasi-religion only for those of us who actually still read.

Besides, it would be far easier to hassle me than actually go after someone interested in bringing down the free world.

OK, I’m just caterwauling a little about the state of affairs brought on by a world too intent on instant fixes and a belief conjuring pages of incomprehensible gobbledygook will somehow lead to instant eradication of age old problems such as greed, intolerance, violence and fear.

More specifically, I’m whining about the hassles of getting a mortgage these days. My beloved and I have been through the process at least three times in seven years. Despite our seeming inability to stay in one place for very long, we are both stable, law abiding, America loving, God fearing, neighborly folks looking to buy what I hope will be our final forever home. We have decent credit ratings, steady jobs, and while we’re by no means rich, we’re pretty unlikely to disappear in the night, leaving a trail of payments for new cars, boats, furniture and appliances in an empty house for which we have no intention of paying.

Yet this time around seems like the first time, because never before have we ever felt so parsed, dissected and scrutinized in our lives.

Then again, neither of us has flown anywhere lately.

I suppose the whole submitting information for a large loan is something of a demeaning process anyway, especially for people who are brought up not to talk about their finances or their sex lives with total strangers. But, apparently, the new federal fad is to scrutinize every single thing in one’s bank account, up to and including babysitting money and coin machine deposits -- just in case terrorist cells and drug cartels are washing the occasional friendly sawbuck or two through your account. I mean, it would be just like the sneaky sons of bachelors to do just that. After all, they’re probably also the ones sending all those herbal Viagra offers and good faith business propositions from the Bank of Nigeria.

On the other hand, while I don’t know this for a fact, my sense is drug dealers and terrorists are not really into the idea of domestic stability -- as demonstrated by their occupations. Therefore, it makes me wonder how and why all this is necessary to the security of the free world, since I happily live on the grid, am relatively easy to find, and simply want to buy a house and not crash a car into the nearest NSA office.

OK, OK, I get it. Our guys have to look for their guys everywhere. And while my personal experience of late is definitely inconvenient, annoying, invasive and a little demeaning, it’s not the end of the world. And it’s a First World problem, which beats the daylights out of having to deal with such Third World problems as wondering whether we will have a piece of moldy bread crust or a cricket for dinner at some point in the next month or if that last sip of water is swimming, pardon the pun, with some lovely life-threatening bacillus of the month. As I said, I’m just belly aching a little -- because much of the process does seem repetitive and largely irrelevant.

I’m guessing the banks, brokers and underwriters feel the same way.

And, yet, it wouldn’t altogether surprise me if my mortgage broker handed me a test tube and a lingerie catalogue and told me the underwriters needed a, uh, DNA sample because of a newly discovered clause buried somewhere within the irritable bowels of the Patriot Act which requires validating the fact I’m not related to Terrorist Leader du Jour.

And that sort of brings me to the root of my problem. That is, every time something happens, we don’t necessarily need to pass another law. Remember, the government, while mostly staffed with competent, dedicated people, largely operates within a politically charged atmosphere of mass incompetence. It is truly an entity which is lesser than the sum of its parts -- anything this large actually produces nothing but more of the same is going to be, whether it’s bacteria or bureaucracy.

My personal inconvenience, irrelevant and insignificant as it may be to the grand scheme of things, is one more unintended consequence of pages and pages of good intentions winding up as the usual hot mess of contradictions and undecipherable, non-specific folderol.

Of course, there is an upside -- I at least got a column out of it.

I might even get more, depending on the shoe sizes of my azaleas.