Friday, March 04, 2005

If You See Something, Say Something

Here in New York, it's difficult not to notice the city's level of caution concerning terrorism and things of that sort. Things like masochism, mannerism, catechism, and other words that end in "ism." I'm just kidding. It has nothing to do with words that end in "ism." Well, except one word. Terrorism. And possibly flatulism. Well, no, I made that up, too.

Now, every comedic outlet everywhere has done some (supposedly) clever ribbing regarding the Homeland Security terror alert level color system. So, I'm not going to go there. I'm not going to, for instance, get a copy of the color chart and do some creative editing, use wacky characters for "Severe," meaning that what I have to say is too aggressive to be spelled out with letters, like this...

It's an easy laugh, and I just won't sink to that level.

Anyway, there's a campaign in New York called, "If You See Something, Say Something." Basically, if you see something suspicious, tell an authority figure. But the word "suspicious" has an entirely different meaning for those of us not from around here. So, let me clarify for the non-New Yorkers.

Now, I don't want to make light of an important safety matter. It's important that we're all safe. But not too long ago, there was a suspicious bag found on the block where I live. The whole area was taped off and we weren't able to get into the building for some time. Again, I want to be safe, but when they told us that someone had spotted a suspicious bag, I must say I didn't feel much safer standing behind that yellow tape. Let me explain further, but in dialogue form...


What seems to be the trouble here?

Somebody apparently saw a
suspicious bag on the street.

Well, where is it?

It's right over there.

That one there?

No, no, the one over there.
See, it's right next to that New York city
street filled with nothing but garbage bags
and old junk which would never resemble
or be confused with suspicious bags.

And... scene. See the dilemma?

So, given that, I went to the nearest police officer and asked him if it was strange that there were so many suspicious bags lying on the street, all of them filled with some sort of refuse, and all of them labeled "Hefty." Instead of laughing, he went to his superior, and I can only guess at what was said in that conversation. So I will...


Chief, isn't it strange that there
are so many suspicious bags lying
on the street, all of them filled with
garbage, all of them labeled "Hefty"?

My god... it's been under our noses this
whole time! So that's what Bin Laden has
been up to! It's all so pungently clear now!

What do you mean?

Don't you see?! They're bringing all their
garbage over from Al Qaeda-land and
very gradually stinking us to death!
They're using our olfactory nerves against us!

Chief, do you think they use "Hefty"
bags in Al Qaeda-land?

Kid, these terrorists are a cunning
bunch. They could be using "Glad"
bags for all we know. But they
aren't. No, these terrorists are
definitely "Hefty" bag people.

See, looking for suspicious bags or packages in a city like New York seems difficult, because there is so much random debris lying all over the place. If somebody wanted to, they could easily shove dangerous materials into a pile of garbage on a busy street and no one would know the difference.*

Don't misunderstand me. I don't want to seem as if I dislike New York. I like New York. It's fun. More so if you've got a lot of money to spend. And also no olfactory nerves.

But, anyway, we were all eventually let back into the building and peace was once again restored to the galaxy. The end.

*For those of you who are members of Al Qaeda, this is a lie.
*For those of you who are not members of Al Qaeda, this is not a lie.


At 5:39 AM, Blogger Edna B said...

I just have to laugh at this homeland security thing. As a recent visitor to the USA I was astounded at one of the questions on the US immigration card for visa-waiver countries. I wish I had the correct wording. It goes something like "Do you intend to do anything subversive or illegal while you are visiting the USA?". I felt like ticking yes just for the hell of it. Or maybe saying "undecided at this point" or "depends how drunk I get". I also found the varying levels of security at LAX very amusing. I managed to get through about four levels of security with a boarding pass printed in the wrong name (airline error), but couldn't get through the metal detectors without being frisked and having to take the majority of my clothes off only to find that the underwire on my bra was setting the thing off. Hey my boobs aren't that big! Wow. I could have used the underwiring as a weapon! Just flicked it out, and hey presto - brassiere bravado!

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Influx said...

Very interesting, I enjoyed your post and I shall be back. Not only do you provide insight to every day life in New York, but you are also witty as well. I enjoyed the post.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger X said...

Here in London, Mr. Blair and friends tried to do the whole "wrap the city up in cotton wool in case anything explodes" so they wouldn't feel left out of the big fight against the imaginary terror.

Tony's solution was to have men with guns on the streets. The police generally don't carry guns around here, so the policemen assigned to armed duty were as uncomfortable holding the guns as the general public were to see the guns.

Considering the crowded street, a more effective strategy would have been to route the pedestrians all to a bottleneck and ask them all, one by one:

"Are you a terrorist?"

"Are you sure?"

"If you're lying, we'll find you. Have a nice day."

Also, Central London has no litter bins in the street. Because someone might insert an explosive chocolate bar wrapper.


At 10:36 AM, Blogger Mimi in NY said...

Hmm, you sound like you have your shit together Mr Intern. Check out the new blog 'Mimi in New York' and share some New York survival skills with me. Please? Before I get eaten by a massive cockroach....

At 12:10 PM, Blogger centuri0n said...

In spite of your non-funny comments about Satan, your footnotes to al-Qaida are funy in a "I hope my joke doesn't turn into a terrorist act" kind of way.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger jenn see said...

my favorite anti-terror tactic now are those huge light-up boards on the highway--TP specifically--that say "placarded cargo banned". it started during the republican nat'l convention.

what the hell is placarded cargo?
what, no sandwich boards or boxes of protest signs?

At 2:53 PM, Blogger doob said...

yours is an awesome read. i could go on and on about your writing but i'd be wasting precious finger time on precious school equipment.

suffice to say that your chinatown in ny makes me think of latino fashion district in la... and chinatown sf. i laughed out loud.

what, no windows of skinned roasted animals on hookd with anti camera signs?

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Neil said...

I saw something so I'm saying something... thank Christ for a genuinely funny and original blog at long last. I hope your employers know what an asset they have on their books.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger SerenDip Man said...

May the universal spirit bring you infinite joy and peace

Swami Shyamananda

At 6:11 PM, Blogger indj said...


At 6:13 PM, Blogger indj said...

Intern: as a former immigrant (hmmm...does US citizenship cancel out the perils of Alien-ness?), I had to laugh and applaud your observations and insights. I'll be frequenting your blog.

Jay --

At 8:46 PM, Blogger NY Party Shuttle said...

I can't resist telling this story...
A friend of mine, who's from India, grew up in Texas but was living in Boston on 9/11. He lived in an apartment building. About a month after 9/11, when the anthrax scare was running rampant, he got home from work, picked up his mail from the communal mail room, and went up to his apartment. He made his wife a great Tex-Mex dinner, complete with homemade guacamole. While cooking, he went through the mail. He noticed a letter that had been mistakenly put in his mailbox that was for another apartment dweller. He later took the unopened letter down to the mail room and set it on a table near all the mailboxes. A few hours later, 10 police cars and 3 fire trucks showed up at the complex and a huge crowd gathered. He went down to find out what was going on, and someone said they found a letter in the mailroom with "anthrax on it." Being a good samaritan, he went up to the nearest officer and asked him if the offending letter had a green substance on it. He was immediately whisked to the commanding officer (remember, by looking at him, you couldn't tell if he was from India or Pakistan or Afghanistan). It took nearly an hour to confirm that he was not a terrorist and that the offensive smudge was, in fact, guacamole. Too funny.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger 123-I-Love-You said...

I shall return.

Come on by and visit. I think you'd really enjoy yourself.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger The Beautiful Disaster said...

I love your point on this issue! It's purely hilarious.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger brokemon said...

on the buses in san francisco there are signs that say...
"see something suspicious? say something." accompanyed by a picture of a person looking scared or like they are made entirely out of explosives. I was riding the 14 in the mission when i saw this for the first time, and it was a picture of a white lady wearing a scarf and librarian glasses.
i wonder how many times someone has gone up to the bus driver in soma and said
excuse me sir, but theres a white person on the bus.

At 12:31 AM, Blogger marisse said...

Hello Mr. Andy!
I just have to say that I enjoyed reading your blog. U're witty observations about the security issues assures me that not all Americans are that paranoid. And answering the preacher on the subway was such a laugh!
Here in the Philippines, we have those too that preach their "wisdom" inside buses, and yeah, annoy the shit out of the people. One unique characteristic we have with our preachers is that they have this "Love Offering" money bag that they try to shove in the nose of every passenger. So when one already looks like he's going to talk about "The Glories of Being Saved Against the Torments for Unbelievers" inside a bus, most people just pretend they're sleeping or get off the bus.
We've a Chinatown here too located in Binondo, Manila. Don't worry, I think it's really in their nature, the Chinese really do sell everything.
Haha. U're blog makes me wonder if you've anything to say bout Filipinos and their tendency to haggle for the lowest price always.
Have a great day Mr. Andy!

At 12:39 AM, Blogger Belen^_^Sanchez said...

i will be satying in NY for a few months, and actually, your blog does show this city in a great kinda way... you gave my a laugh when I needed one, so thanks... email me your email
and if by any chance you speak spanish :

At 1:27 AM, Blogger cookie said...

great blog. haha... simply entertaining. you have a great sense of homour and good imagination...

At 3:22 AM, Blogger INSWIS said...

grrreaat! I love NY, and you just made a point i always wanted to make ever since all this(911- and onwards) began.

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Jaume S. Regàs Bech de Careda said...

From Barcelona , in the west Mediterranean , my best regards.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Jaume S. Regàs Bech de Careda said...

Very interesting your post .

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Pikkel Weezel said...

Hmmm, I suppose 9/11 was imaginary also X? Maybe next time it will be some outdated palace that gets destroyed or some dirty old building that is near and dear to you and your fellow citizens with awful teeth. Nice way to stay safe X, close your eyes and pretend it never happened always works well. Are you sure your not French? The world has come to expect that senseless line of thinking out of them over the past few hundred years.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

Well, to be fair, you do have a better chance of being struck by lightning within your own bathtub than you do of being killed in a terrorist act.

And, yes, it is a bit egotistical for me to be commenting on my own blog.

By the way, Andy, your blog is coolest blog in the universe.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger RazzleGal said...

I came across your blog while randomly searching for info on interning for the Daily Show.. but I stayed for the clever humor.

Nice work! I'll have to check in in the future to see how things go..

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Moose000 said...

Nice graphics. Did you make them yourself? Oh yeah, the story was funny too.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Zach said...

Funny stuff, man. Love the graphics. Check out my blog sometime if you can. Keep bloggin.


The Frankendick

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Chesty said...

I had a great Spring Break in Myrtle Beach and saw some pretty suspicious things!

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Ruben said...

it is the exact opposite in Chicago. They don't seem to care about anything other than the cubs.

At 3:23 AM, Blogger Rusty said...

Hahaha, I love those alert levels. I saw that graphic on a shirt the other day.

At 4:21 AM, Blogger phucker said...

Hey man, this is one hell of a funny blog. Just arrive in NYC recently myself! Pikkel weezel, get the f- over it. Did Al-Qaeda blow up your sense humour too? Like Andy, this is frikkin' NEW YORK. Please define suspicious in a city where 2 black kids will hop on to rickety old subway and start break dancing. Or where certain people walk around with more body piercings than brain cells. So you're telling me that the 'furriner' with brown skin is more suspicious than the dude with 57 rings going thru his body? Sorry dude, that's just a taxi driver. Suspicious in New York = somebody who speaks English, and walks slowly.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger mrsmogul said...

Its totally crazy...but it's done all over the rest of the world. You're so luck to be picked on the Blogger picks. I was an intern for MTV and Fox TV! How;s my city?

At 11:31 AM, Blogger meems said...

Yes, this whole homeland security thing is a joke. I want to say something about all those stress/personality testing tables everywhere. Those scientologists are up to something, I tells ya.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger scribe called steff said...

I'm as Vancouver, BC, Canada girl.

We have no security.

Everybody likes us. We think.

The other day, there was a briefcase on the sidewalk with no owner in sight. I thought, "Hmm, nice briefcase!" I very nearly took it until I realize that hey, maybe there's a bomb in there.

So, I do not have a new briefcase, but there haven't been any explosions, either.

Sigh. I liked the briefcase.


At 12:52 PM, Blogger Rach said...

Yup Like x said way way up there. London is stupid. You have to carry your banana peal all the way around the underground because of the lack of bins. Our city used to be clean (ok, cleaner).

Its very annoying. I've started eating the core of my apples on the trains.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger jomama said... hilarious is better.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Crestwood_one said...

I like your style! Very funny. I am originally from NY myself. I jusat started a Blog. I have not had a comment yet, I think mine is pretty boring anyway. Hell, I am new at this Blog thing anyway. But, I think you should write for Seinfeld (if it were still making new shows)! Take care.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

"I want to say something about all those stress/personality testing tables everywhere. Those scientologists are up to something, I tells ya." -- meems

Hehe, you're getting ahead of me.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Arin said...

I went to Juilliard for a little while... only six months... Luekemia has forced me to come back to my home...

but my point is (and I do have one) that there are many other ways terrorists could strike.

take homeless people for instance: they are desperate for money. i oce saw a white homeless man in a trash can telling people that for only one dollar they could take a picture of "white trash".

so just as easily, terrorists could pay all the homeless to revolt and destroy the world.

man i miss new york... now i'm totally going to miss the new manolo spring line...



At 5:42 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Too funny. I enjoyed the blog as a whole. Just starting my own, over at

Look forward to reading more of your stuff.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger sarah the great and wise said...

"peace was once again restored to the galaxy." I wish my place of residence and surrounding area got that memo, *sigh*, but DFW is still anal retentive and up tight.

Do you have time to check out all of these blogs people leave you links to?

At 5:19 PM, Blogger deanna said...

you all are smart people..with big huge words ..subversive what in gods name is subversive?? this will be you oh that finghwqfutbocuoy and that would mean nice cant people just say nice instead of huge words..dont be so smart god!

At 2:50 AM, Blogger Mea said...

Hi Intern in NY,
Just really loved reading your blog. Keep it coming....when you have time from your merciful stuff
Great granny in OZ

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

I do actually try to check out all the blogs people leave links to. If you guys are cool enough to read mine, it's only fair that I check out yours, too.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Susan M. Risk said...

Re: Police in NY and suspicious events

Just writing in to post a link:
A Do-it-yourself Occultists Report Sheet

Your site is really hilarious. you remind me of my son, Davin.

I think I am going to link to your blog. I need the fun, God knows!!

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blogs are just as funny as your authorities has become!!! just very recently, one of our senators (from the Philippines) has been held and harrassed by your immigration authorities. She happened to be the wife of the deposed president. Without even considering her post as one of my country's dignitaries, what was more fuckin' infuriating of the U.S. authorities' handling on this terrorism is that, the questions asked of her, were not related to security at all; but rather, the questions went something like: "do you think your husband will be acquitted from his plunder cases?" soooo nosy....damn funny!!!! they should stop if they're trying to be funny.... you, though should keep your stuff coming... these are the ones we need!!! cheers to more of your blogs!!!

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aha!!! so you don't want to piss-off the Al-Quaedans...they're probably starting to make a plot on how to get you..shouting.."get the fuckin' funny infidel!!!"...just kidding...:) im just a fan of yours.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Secret Softness said...

Cool blog. Really interesting.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger The Guides said...

ur gay

At 4:34 PM, Blogger amirah said...

I think that you are not very funny. Its nice and all intern but who cares. not me. Any way keep your head up and keep doing what you doing.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger amirah said...

I think that you are not very funny. Its nice and all intern but who cares. not me. Any way keep your head up and keep doing what you doing.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger amirah said...

I think that you are not very funny. Its nice and all intern but who cares. not me. Any way keep your head up and keep doing what you doing.

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At 5:18 AM, Blogger Jack Naka said...

Keep it up. I enjoy your nice blog. check out my fashion catalog site. It pretty much covers fashion catalog related stuff.

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous cc production intern said...

when i started my internship at comedy central in new york someone directed me to this blog. the words that come to mind are lame and disapointing. maybe when you graduate they'll give you a job in creative at Mad TV or Mind of Mencia cause those shows are also very funny like your blog...

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