“Pearl chain effect and cellular orientation.” That’s the one that has me worried.

“Autonomic and peripheral nervous system effects” is another.

I don’t even know what they mean, and I’m not going to Google them lest I discover that I actually have them.

She, who didn’t even bother to read the ad, says that the only one I should worry about is the “Blood Brain Barrier permeability.” She hinted that I may have shown some effects of that. Is she teasing, do you think?

On June 29, I wrote my annual column on paranoia, half-satiric, half-serious and felt done with it. It had a few laughs bordered by the shadows of reality. But just when I thought I was out, something popped up to drag me back in.

So along came this big, full-page ad from the Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, that ran in the Monday paper. At first, I smirked and tossed it aside. I mean, can we really trust a group whose name doesn’t even make an acronym like NASA, DOMA, DOT or CREEP?


As usual, she doesn’t seem interested. But then she’s stopped talking to me since I sent a $50 check in her name to Anthony Weiner’s campaign in New York. Hey! Every boy needs a hobby.

I had just stopped taking Xanax with my chocolate-almond milk and quit sleeping with my childhood blue blanket. And she had just assured me that I was silly worrying about NSA surveillance (the click on the phone and the mailman wearing nonregulation sneakers.)

According to the ad by MCTSSM (see what I mean?), we should all be very, very afraid of that yellow box someone attached to our houses. It is, they claim, wreaking havoc on our lives, with multiple problems.

Gastrointestinal disorders loom large among the possibilities. She says it’s just the salsa, beans and barbecued wings.

They also list sperm and reproductive damage. Do I, as I go about picking through the golden moments in the residuum of my last years, really have to be concerned with that?

Other than health issues, they list “potential privacy consequences.”


OMG. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. My entire life is in these columns, privacy is an issue I shelved long ago.

“Increased risk of targeted home invasions.” Well, for the record, I have a killer sheep dog, and one of my friends has several weapons in his house. Of course, he lives in Florida now, but could be here within several hours if I need him.

“They” can “determine personal behavior patterns.” Oh, please. All they have to do to tap that, is kidnap she, who is the keeper of those patterns, and water board her. Come to think of it, if they just offer her a year of free Discover use, she’ll whistle blow me away.

“Fraud.” Well, now that could open some closets. Define fraud. I told that girl in the bar in Biloxi, Miss., that I was a colonel. She had no idea what a colonel looked like, and it did heighten her interest. I was drinking. Be honest, tell me you’ve never told a girl in a bar that you were a colonel.

The great Zero Mostel once advised me “always exaggerate, it makes life more interesting.”

A life in the theater and Hollywood is all about personal fraud.

“Can you box? Ride a horse? Fast draw a six-gun? Drive stick shift?” Hell yes, has to be the answer, or you’ll be leaning out of that little window at McDonald’s the rest of your life with one line: “You want fries with that?”

Oh yes. The little yellow box on the house. As I paused from sweeping the garage out, I heard a click. Should I be worried? She’s watching me from the window. I have to keep sweeping.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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