#3. Super Paranoia
My dad worked in law enforcement for the federal government for a couple of decades. His security-consciousness extends to keeping the extra keys to the gun safe in a different gun safe, and I learned the ancient ways at his knee.
- I keep all doggy doors bolted shut, as well as all cat doors, because some burglars are very small.
- When I get into my car at night, I always check under the reusable shopping bag I keep in the back seat, just in case any of the very small burglars are also carjackers.
- When running errands, I do not leave mail in my car right-side up because then the bad guys know my address, know that I’m not there, and also know that I’m super important because Publisher’s Clearing House has once-in-a-lifetime offers waiting just for me.
Here is a step-by-step guide to how my power of Super Paranoia keeps me alert to the dangers lurking in everyday life:
1. Go to the gym and change into stylish, high-tech gym clothes.
2. Place gym bag in locker #80 like you do every single time.
3. Get distracted by something shiny on the floor that turns out to be a gum wrapper.
4. Carefully fasten lock onto locker #82.
5. Watch “International House Hunters” while you use the elliptical trainer. Pretend that you are not fascinated by this show and do not go to the gym at this time specifically to watch it. Talk out loud to the people on TV, even though you are listening to it through headphones—the person on the machine next to you surely enjoys your banter.
6. Return to the locker room, bleary-eyed from a whole 30 minutes of exercise and visions of the half-gallon of ice cream in your freezer.
7. Recognize and unlock your lock.
8. Stare, horrorstruck, into the empty locker. Your bag is missing!
9. Open and close the locker in disbelief. Notice the number. Realize, “This is not my locker. OH NO! THIS IS WHERE THE STALKER REATTACHED MY LOCK AFTER STEALING MY CLOTHES AS TROPHIES!”
10. Check locker #80 in case the stalker left any clues behind. Find your gym bag, all the contents still folded that special way you invented so that you could tell if anyone had touched them.
11. Go home, confident that if any danger had existed, it could not have hoped to escape your keen detection.
NOTE: If you think that you, too, may possess the power of Super Paranoia, it’s easy to test on any national holiday featuring fireworks. I personally spent about six hours of July the 4th being extremely alert to the ever-present possibility of home invasion.