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There Are No Secrets Anymore

by Mad Dog

     It's amazing what people can deduce about you without having ever met you. A few years ago I moved into an apartment that had two rope nooses on the wall about six feet off the floor. At the risk of sounding naive, I have to admit that I thought these were primitive macramé flowerpot holders. Silly me. As I looked I realized they were the perfect height for an adult to stand against the wall with arms outstretched. That's right, they were rope wrist bindings. The apartment would have made a great dungeon had it not been on the third floor.

     That got me to wondering just who had been living there and how they spent their leisure hours. Whoever they were they obviously lead a simpler life than the people who had occupied a house I moved into a few years earlier—they left behind stacks of religious tracts, faded plastic flowers stolen from a nearby cemetery, a lone crutch, and a pile of porno magazines. Who lived there before me? A crippled nun from the Perverted Little Sisters Of To Hell With The Seventh Commandment?

     Nowadays everyone’s worried about Internet privacy, including how horrible it is that they can figure out your personal preferences and tailor ads to suit your interests. I wouldn’t worry too much about this if I were you. Unless they’ve changed it recently, if you go to the Hotbot search engine ( and type in "sex toys" you’ll get a list of sites that sell these devices while a big Toys R Us ad banner flashes on the top of the page. Gee, I guess I’m still a Toys R Us kid after all.

     If you really want to know the most intimate details of someone’s life, forget the high tech web and get a job in a grocery store. Checkers know everything there is to know about you. They know you buy fresh fruit, pre-cut lettuce in a bag, extra-firm tofu, and Little Debbie Crisco-filled Polyester Sponge Cakes by the case. They know your bowels aren't regular, your ears have more wax than a candle factory, and even though you swear the Preparation H isn't for you, they know your hemorrhoids are acting up again. It's enough to make you hire someone to do your shopping for you.

     Then there’s your letter carrier. Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night will keep them from discovering that you renewed your subscription to Outlaw Biker Babes, that your telephone service is about to be disconnected, and that the plain brown envelope with the Colorado return address is hiding the latest catalog from Mistress Bridget’s House of Pain and Kosher Delicatessen.

     It wouldn't be so bad if that was it, but even your pizza delivery person knows deep dark secrets about you. I'm not making this up. Each year Domino's Pizza compiles statistics about the people who order from them. They claim that if you're a man in a muscle shirt you're three times as likely to order a pepperoni pizza; if you have a pierced nose, lip, or eyebrow you're probably going to want a vegetarian topping; and if you have wind chimes on your porch you're four times as likely to have ordered olives on your pizza. It's enough to make you call Little Caesar’s.

     Maybe it’s me. Most people seem to like having other people know their innermost secrets. How else to explain the never-ending stream of guests who spill their guts on talk shows, or HBO’s Taxi Stories, where people actually have sex in the back seat of the cab, tell the driver they’re on their way to kill their boyfriend, and explain that they’re transsexual but his/her boyfriend doesn’t know it, then sign a release form letting it be broadcast all over the planet? "Guess what, honey! I’m going to be on TV!"

     Then there’s Love Connection, which features people who not only have to rely on a TV show to get them a date, but also have this insatiable need to go on national television and tell the country what a horrible time they had. Don't get me wrong, I like "Love Connection". Like the wedding pages of the newspaper, it gives me a chance to see what I've been missing.

     But while "Love Connection" serves a very useful purpose, it's not nearly as effective as the Japanese TV show "Wedding Bells". This, in case you haven't been watching television in Osaka lately, is the modern version of Japanese matchmaking, wherein 10 men and 10 women broadcast intimate details of their personal lives in the hope that one of the others will take pity and ask them out on a date. That, of course, is no different than going to any bar in the United States, except that on Japanese TV they don't drink shooters with names like Anal Sex on the Beach With Dogs. Interestingly, the most popular segments of the show are those that focus on divorced people, who confess to what broke up their marriage, be it adultery, attempted murder, or an unchecked craving for Cheez Wiz sushi.

     The show’s very popular. Each week over 500 people ask to be on it. At least 14 couples who met on the show have become engaged while more than 16 have been married. Interestingly, none of them have moved into apartments that had wrist bindings on the wall. That makes me really wonder what the people living in that apartment before me were like.


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