The Public Eye

printed 11/08/2019

Being paranoid is not the reason I’m offering no opinion on the possibility of adding more surveillance cameras to Ocean City’s already substantial collection, it’s because someone might be listening.

Besides, I can see the pros and cons of having 250-plus spycams scattered around the resort, with the upside being that we’ll know right up front who’s been naughty or nice.

The downside is that a camera can’t whap you with a nightstick to keep you from getting more out of line than you already are.

The way I figure it, we’ll now have to refer to the video and then determine who’s in line for a good whapping and proceed from there.

That is how it used to work — the whapping approach, that is — as I recall the time many years ago when an underage associate of mine forfeited an entire six-pack that he had stuffed under his sweatshirt.

It occurred when Officer Very Large Individual walked over to him and said, “Whatcha got there, boy? Either you’re carrying your young in a pouch, or that’s …”

Tink-tink-TINK!

The sound of a finely tuned piece of hickory tapping one or more glass containers snugged up against a person’ body is a strong indication that lying is not going to work out for you.

That’s especially so when the aforesaid finely tuned piece of hickory is being wielded by a 400-pound bollard of a human being, whose look alone provides additional incentive to come clean before you embarrass yourself by crying or worse, as in having to tell people later that, “No, I spilled my drink.”

Either reaction would have been understandable in this instance, but Officer Very Large Individual was decent about it and, after a second round of tink-tink-TINK!, suggested that a quick disposal of whatever it was under the shirt, followed by our own speedy departure from the area, would be a wise course of action to pursue.

Admittedly, this was hardly a crime against humanity. In fact, the biggest crime was that the best we could do in the beer department was something that ended in “Brau,” which we were prepared to drink at body temperature, even though it tasted like fermented hatbands with a hint of radiator coolant when served at its icy cold best.

These days, however, people don’t really care who’s watching. If they did, they wouldn’t be putting all their personal stuff on the internet.

What I mean is, I’m sure people in China get just as big a kick out of seeing Bobby and Sissy’s prom photos as do Uncle Leo and Aunt Bessie in Toledo.

No one cares, which brings me to the point that, if no one cares who’s looking, the whole deterrent business that surveillance is supposed to provide is not as strong as, say, a 400-pound bollard of a human being, carrying a nightstick and saying, “Well, boys, I’d say you have a decision to make. Be sure it’s the right one.” Tink-tink-TINK!

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