My key chain is suddenly loaded with little tags. It must have happened overnight; I was looking for a key and couldn't find it because it was lost in a sea of tags that magically accumulated.
I have a tag for everything. Tags are now the thing to have to save money or get special deals in the appropriate store. I think it started with supermarkets and quickly spread to drugstores, gas stations, oil change facilities and wine shops (which is a good thing.)
You don't dare go into a store without a tag today. The clerk will ask, in a deep tone, "Got your tag?" Heaven forbid you don't have one, because you will then be required to stop everything to answer 20 questions that will entitle you to a tag. I think the clerks get a bonus for every 10 tags they foist on customers.
My co-worker even has a separate key chain just for tags. "It's easier to use and you can always find your car key," she said. The fact that it weighs five pounds does not stop her from lugging the tags to every store she visits.
The tags are swiped across some secret device revealing who you are, where you live, your age, your sex, whether you are a smoker, what you purchased for the past five years, your medical and military records, family information, the last time you had your oil changed and your next of kin.
All of this information goes to TAG Headquarters located under some mountain in the middle of nowhere and "tag analysts" pore over this information to determine how they can get you back in the store to buy something, see what you have been up to and eventually draft you into the military.
Of course, the FBI and CIA have access to the TAG info and if you have been purchasing gallons of witch hazel, expect a visit from the lads to see what you are doing with it. They ignore purchases of vast amounts of Bull's Blood wine, though.
Now the TAG organization has added "things" (my tech friend said they are called QR codes) on printed material like magazines and newspapers that your cellphone can read, allowing TAG HQ to send stuff to your phone. It probably reads your phone records to see who you have been calling and who is calling you. This, of course, goes directly to TAG and is added to your file. J. Edgar Hoover would have a field day today.
All of this surveillance has spread to the Internet and your home computer or laptop or iPad or whatever else is out there so your Internet travels and email can be recorded.
Now you combine tags, QR codes, cameras in every store and on most streets, devices in your car that can track you, cellphones that talk back to you, GPS and the Internet, and you know the Orwellian society is on its way or has already arrived. Soon the television will be watching you.
The positive aspect of all this information-gathering is that it leads to jobs. A huge bureaucracy like the Department of Energy will be necessary to keep track of billions of bytes of information on the world's population that will flow in volumes. The new department will be called TAG. Like the DOE, it's doubtful officials will know what to do with it, so nothing will be done.
Each town across the country will have a satellite TAG office, employing a lot of people so the economy will grow, folks will be working, unemployment will fall and all will be well.
We know it will be well because all those tags will tell us so.
D. John Bray, of West Seneca, was last seen at a beer store answering questions to get a tag.