Washington is such a funny town. Everyone works for the government, and if you don’t work for the government, then you work for someone who works for the government. We’re the only city in the US with gangsters in Escalades blasting C-SPAN radio out the window.
A whole language of euphemisms and body language has sprouted to support the fact that the government works through a combination of compartmentalization and embracement of the idea that “needing to know” makes you cool. At least, it makes you cool for the fist few years out of college. You don’t work for the NSA, you “do work up near Fort Meade”. And nobody works for the CIA, you are an “analyst for State”.
The charade might work if it weren’t for the glimmer in the eyes that says, “and next year they totally promised me that I’ll be James Bond.” I must admit to ignorance of what it is really like to be in-the-know, in the need-to-know sense of the word, but, like everyone in the Capital City, I know enough people who do live such lives to be able to laugh with them at the reality behind the recent-college-grad romance with security clearances.
Place: Work. Or at least, a large, human sized metal safe cut off from the outside world that you refer to as “Work”
Music: White noise coming out of pores in the wall
Mood: Wishing there was a window
DATE: 07 JULY 07 STANDARD MESSAGE TRAFFIC THE PRESIDENT WILL BE WEARING A BLUE TIE AND ARGYLE SOCKS TODAY. HE HAD GRAPE NUTS FOR BREAKFAST. MRS. BUSH IS NOT WEARING UNDERWEAR AGAIN. PLEASE KEEP THE TEMPERATURE IN BRIEFING ROOMS HIGH ENOUGH TO PREVENT EMBARRASSING BLOUSE INCIDENT BUT LOW ENOUGH TO AVOID POSTERIOR SWEAT.
This is hilarious! I must tell my friends! Drat. That would be a federal crime, for which I would be thrown in to prison. I don’t have time anyway, I have to write a summary of important information for the last hour and send it to my superior.
DATE: 07 JULY 07 HOULY INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY MEXICO CITY IS THE CAPITAL OF MEXICO. IT IS RAINING OUTSIDE.
Phew. Sent just before the deadline.
Information is so compartmentalized that you can pretty much allude to anything and come off as a badass.
A recent dinner conversation that may or may not have taken place (sorry, you don’t need to know):
Friend 1: Apple picked only one carrier in Canada for the iPhone too. I wonder how long until they will be able to open it up to the rest of the market.
Friend 2: Well, heh, I can assure you, it won’t be until at least two years.
Friend 1: Why do you say that.
Friend 2: Let’s just say we have too many nuclear-powered robots navigating the magma under Canada for us to let them have iPhones everywhere.
Friend 1: What?
Friend 2: Please don’t repeat that, I’ve already stepped outside of what I can tell you. How are your lima beans?
All at the table agree Friend 2 must have an awesome job. Of course, if you get too crazy, it won’t work. Claiming that DARPA funded a Gay Bomb to make an opposing army simultaneously homosexual and so horny as to crush its threat via mass orgy, or that the government has a secret facility that trains men to telepathically explode goat hearts – now that would be silly. The government funds real projects, people.