Either because of my advanced age (80) or my ZIP code, the South Carolina Republican party, in its quest for ideological and financial support, has decided I must be one of them.
This is somewhat reassuring when we are concerned about the invasion of our privacy, because recent mailings from the GOP tell me these people haven’t a clue who I am, and, like the clueless man who occupies the White House (when he isn’t in Florida playing golf), they arrogantly make assumptions, perhaps hoping I'll forget that I have voted Democratic in every election since I became eligible in 1959.
Obviously, the real purpose of the Republican mailings — that go directly from my mailbox to the trash — is to solicit contributions. But I'm also asked to complete a four-page survey designed to show how much I dislike Democrats.
This is one time I’d rather be told the mailings were a giant scam, one perpetrated by con artists, because if these mailings truly are from a South Carolina Republican organization, then they are more badly misinformed than I've always suspected. Their mail includes a cover letter that thanks me for my support over the years.
This is just one of several signs that various big brothers haven’t mastered the art of spying on potential customers, even when they have a wireless connection to my home.
Here the subject switches to my television viewing, most of which is done via Roku and several streaming channels, including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, which like to anticipate what programs and movies might interest their subscribers. (If you're asleep at the remote, these channels will start movies and programs without waiting for your permission.)
I’m constantly amazed at how far off-base their suggestions usually are on those lists that begin, “Because you watched (insert any program or movie title) ... ” Recently I went all the way through these suggestions and discovered that since I had watched “Marcella,” a frantic British series about a rather disturbed police detective, the Netflix ap which determines customer taste decided that Jack Major would like to watch “Friends.” In truth, I’d be more likely to choose SpongeBob SquarePants.
Hulu seems determined to have me watch “The Handmaid’s Tale.” If they knew anything about me, they'd know this be a form of torture akin to water-boarding. The reason is the series star, Elisabeth Moss, for whom I have an intense, irrational dislike. She plays every role the same way, wearing an expression that suggests she smells dog poop on her shoes, but is too lazy to clean it off. (Likewise, I have never watched anything that features Roseanne Barr, and that includes her periods as plain ol' Roseanne and as Roseanne Arnold.)
Every device with the potential to enrich our lives, or, at least, provide more convenience and entertainment, has an annoying downside. We can avoid most of them, I suppose, but it is disheartening to be reminded every day of people trying to trick us, even rob us, such as those thieves who send us bogus emails, hoping we’ll provide information needed to electronically steal our credit cards.
Also annoying are robocalls, which go unanswered, thanks to caller ID. But because my wife and I live in South Carolina, most of our recent robocalls show up as originating within the state. Apparently we’re expected to be fooled into thinking the caller is someone we know. Right now, all we get is a location and a telephone number; I suppose some day they'll start inserting the names of our relatives.
My wife and I are in the demographic group considered the easiest to fool. Retirees are frequent victims of scams. But no matter how much my brain deteriorates before I die, I’ll never believe anyone who claims I am a Republican.