I don’t actually want most of the notifications I receive.
I rarely check the mail. I let my phone go to voicemail 90% of the time, and then I don’t actually check the voicemail. My inbox has 10,000+ emails in it at any time, most of which are unopened.
The first time I got an Amber Alert on my phone, it scared the piss out of me. I asked my girlfriend if that was why they called it an “amber” alert. She made me see a psychiatrist and a urologist later that week. Apparently my jokes and my urine are both off-color.
My dog alerts me when he hears something anywhere in a 6-block radius. Because his two volumes are “completely silent” and “HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS!!! SOMEONE JUST SHUT A DOOR DOWN THE STREET!!!” his barks are always immediately followed by me shouting, “God damn it, Lemmy!” It’s like when your mom used to use your full name to scold you. He probably thinks his given name is Goddamnitlemmy. I can’t opt out of those alerts, namely because Goddamnitlemmy doesn’t speak English nor follow directions.
Today, everyone in my restaurant slammed on the metaphorical brakes around 2:18 pm when odd sounds started emanating from pockets and purses. It was the moment we’d been warned about. The truly un-opt-outable moment.
Today, I received a Presidential Alert.
I was actually looking forward to this alert, as I envisioned writing back to the President something along the lines of, “Kindly go mushroom hunting in your trousers, you orange ass clown.”
Imagine my shock and dismay when I discovered there is no way to directly respond to a Presidential Alert. Sure, you can scream, tweet, write blog posts, chuck your phone in the nearest body of water…but you can’t actually write back to the author of the alert.
Upon a bit of investigation, the Presidential Alert System is administered on behalf of the White House by FEMA. It’s not like Donny Fat Thumbs shot out a tweet to all of us whether we wanted it or not. Although I’m certain he would if he could.
So, if I could have written back, it turns out my pithy response would have gone to a FEMA employee anyway. Judging by the twitterverse’s immediate explosion of outrage, it looks like a few million people were queued up to fire snark in the direction of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue…which would have been the wrong target, anyway.
So, to the mid-level government dude at FEMA, sitting there in his windbreaker and aviator frames who just felt half a nation’s worth of negative psychic energy directed his way, allow me to be the first to apologize.
It appears we can, however, opt out of emergency alerts altogether. Presidential alerts are a type of emergency alert, so we can either skip them all or receive them all.
I truly want to tell Donald Trump to shove his alerts directly up his greasy McDonald’s exit door. That being said, I’m leaving my alerts turned on for now.
I look at it like this: I can hate your guts and think 99% of the things that come out of your mouth are chunky horseshit, but if you knock on my door and tell me my house is on fire, I’m not going to ignore you and die out of spite.
I’m going to listen, check for myself, and likely heed your warning. Even if you’re a prick. Even if I hate your guts. Namely because I like “not dying in fires” much more than I hate you.
Just like it scares the shit out of me when Lemmy goes nuts because someone walks by our apartment window (which, incidentally, faces as city park), I’m thankful that he notifies me. Sure, he’s a false positive factory, but I still get up and check when he goes off. One of these times, he’ll be alerting me to something other than a taunting squirrel outside of our bedroom window. Maybe.
Now, I reserve the right to change my mind about these alerts (the non-Lemmy ones) if I get a Presidential Alert with, let’s say, an update on Infrastructure Week, a false warning that Hawaii is under attack, or a re-Presidential Alert of an all-white nationalist party in Europe.
But barring those eventualities, I’m going to give FEMA (not Trump) the benefit of the doubt. For now. Don’t fuck it up, Windbreaker Guy. I don’t like you nearly as much as I like Lemmy. But we’re all counting on you.
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