Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brown Is The New Red

As we have all been instructed, September 11, 2001 was the day everything changed. We went from a state of innocence to worrying about each other's underwear, and we rolled out a five-color terror warning system in which the cooler colors are purely nostalgic. Now, after nine years, Homeland Security has announced that the well-known markers of green, blue, yellow, orange and red will be replaced with a new system sometime over the next three months. To avoid disruption, the current system will not be yanked away outright, leaving the public without a measure of how frightened to be, or what to wipe, but rather it will be phased out. Beginning next week, the code will be mint, aqua, ecru, peach, and pink. The final replacement system is still under development.

Big Day for Pootie
The Physicists For Scientific Literacy, for its part, proposes a new spectrum of up, down, charm, strange, and bottom. But many experts in the field of public-panic generation question the move away from a simple color code, pointing out that it follows a model with which Americans have already grown comfortable: the fire danger threat in the national forests. Those familiar signs also use the color system and, unlike the terror warnings, suggest concrete behavioral modifications, from green (campfires may be doused with gasoline) through yellow (cigarettes should be stubbed out before being flung out of the car window) all the way to red (no corduroy pants).

Officials at Homeland Security bristle at the suggestion that the color-code system was not helpful. "On the contrary: it issues clear protocols for first responders and people in the security industry," a spokesman said. "Green: lounge comfortably with one thigh draped over the x-ray equipment. Blue: sit upright and cut eyes from side to side. Yellow: bounce lightly up and down while muttering hummina hummina hummina. Orange: assume crouch position with hand on holster. Red: retreat to luggage locker and whimper."

Still, this does not satisfy critics who contend that the general public is poorly served by the system. "Not so," the official retorted. "With the terror warning system, the public is able to adopt a precise degree of dread, from qualms and willies all the way up to a dead faint. Any time we change the code level, the American people will have the opportunity to make adjustments in their travel plans, pharmaceutical usage and sphincter response. This is news they can use. What we hope to accomplish in the new system is more clarity, with the removal of nuance."

The final system is still in the planning stages, but sources inside the HSA have divulged themes: warm milk, butterflies, that little queasy feeling, rapid heartbeat, and explosive diarrhea. Accompanying graphic depictions, if available, have not yet been leaked.

20 comments:

  1. Gotta love Barney Fife, who loved nothing better than a good panic. Your opening sentence says it perfectly. "Big day for Pootie." What a great way to start the day. Thanks, as always.

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  2. Loved it! My sphincter response was "Two thumbs up!" Oh, wait a minute, I didn't mean - well, you know. I mean I enjoyed your post. Oh, wait. I didn't mean that the way it sounded either. Let me just say that this was good.

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  3. Isn't our system ALWAYS been orange? I don't remember anything else. BTW, Murr, I always wonder a little about your labels. I haven't seen one yet that didn't include "humor" which is totally appropriate, of course. I usually have a smile on my face before I even open the blog!

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  4. What I really want is a color-code system for the level of rights being stripped by Homeland Security. Green= constitutional rights intact. Red= Mr. TSA-man still has Viagra in his system this morning.

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  5. I like Ron White's two level system:
    Level 1 - Get a helmet.
    Level 2 - Put on the damn helmet.

    Never a question of what to do.

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  6. Yeah, I've been gaining weight ever since they did away with the government messed with the Food Pyramid.

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  7. All I can say is: Praise friggin Jaysus they are dumping that damn Terrah Level Crap. We will get a NEW fearmongering method.

    Happy happy joy joy.

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  8. Living in Canuckistan, I'm sort of lost here. Do you Amurcans have a colour coded system that lets you know how scared you should be if, um, poop happens? Is this for real? You're kidding me, right, Murr?

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  9. I'm with Kat. And everyone else who loved this!

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  10. For real:

    The new system "is built on the common-sense belief that we're all in this together and that we all have a role to play."
    "The new plan calls for notifying specific audiences about specific threats."
    "When officials think there is a threat the public should know about, they will issue an announcement and rely on news organizations and social media outlets to get the word out."

    Oh Murr, thank you for shedding a new spectrum of light on this. Gawd, I was so concerned...

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  11. I can barely figure out which letter on a package of tights corresponds to my thigh mass, now this? I would much prefer, instead of color, which is kind of subjective, substituting facial expressions that would depict: Asleep, Just Awakened from a Deep Sleep, A Look That Says "I'm Late for Work," and Head Under the Covers.

    Another fine post - so beautifully written. I gave you an award in my today's post. Check it out.

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  12. I had a Terror Alert chart in my cube at my old job that had muppets in corresponding colors on it. The only flaw was that you had Oscar at the bottom and Elmo at the top and I think it should have been the other way around.

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  13. The new colors sound like a great idea for a quilt....

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  14. The one perk of growing older is knowing my exit from this increasingly insane place will hopefully happen before it all becomes "explosive diarrhea."

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  15. I'm sorry, I haven't gotten past Bill and Dogs' comment yet. Somebody send oxygen.

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  16. The one perk of growing older is knowing my exit from this increasingly insane place will hopefully happen before it all becomes "explosive diarrhea."

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  17. Yeah, I've been gaining weight ever since they did away with the government messed with the Food Pyramid.

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