Steve Eaton: Observant columnist reports politicians' suspicious behavior

Published: Thursday, Sept. 8 2011 3:51 p.m. MDT

Every year when I go to the gym I notice a bright red sign that says, “Please report suspicious or illegal behavior to the front desk.”

So I started thinking of suspicious behavior I have noticed recently and went to the front desk.

“Excuse me,” I said to the guy who hands out towels. “I’ve noticed recently that both Republicans and Democrats are suddenly saying they are fiscally conservative. They say they have spent day and night trying to hold down spending and keep short-sighted opportunists from bankrupting our country. What’s up with that?”

He looked confused.

“Excuse me?” he said.

“What’s with this debt-ceiling debate we’ve never heard anyone talk about before?” I said. “It’s almost like the presidential elections are making both sides posture for their constituents. It seems suspicious to me.”

Now he was looking behind him to see if I was talking to someone else. He started to hand me a towel as if he thought that might make me leave.

“The sign says we are to report any suspicious behavior,” I said, pointing in the direction of the sign. “This certainly seems like suspicious behavior to me.”

“Oh,” he said, looking at me like he understood but didn’t understand. “Thank you. I’ll report that to my supervisor.”

It felt good to have identified and reported specific suspicious behavior. It’s got me thinking about what I could report next year when I come in to work out. Here are some things that come to mind.

  • Why is it rich and famous people are always telling the rest of us that money and fame won’t make us happy?
  • When I’m driving around, the parking lots at restaurants are full of cars. Yet, we can only afford to go out to a restaurant once a year. Do all those people make more money than I do?
  • Why is it that printers can be purchased for a relatively low price, yet printer cartridges cost as much as a used Volkswagen? We buy the printers and feel good about getting a deal but have to go back to the store every week for expensive cartridges made by the same companies that sold us the printers. Why is that? It’s almost as if they deliberately designed their printers to drink ink as fast as we will buy it.
  • Why is it when you get a new phone from the nice phone sales people they will give it to you for free or almost no cost? All you have to do is agree you’ll keep paying them money, no matter how rude or mean they are to you, for the next two years. Why is it, if you want to buy that same phone without a contract, it costs more than $1,500. It’s almost like they’d rather have you sign their contract than buy a phone from them. (Imagine what our political system would be like if politicians only had to be nice to us every time their contracts came up for renewal. What if they had to promise us something for nothing just to be re-elected? They’d never get anything done.)
  • Why is it if you do sit-ups in a gym, no matter how you do them, someone will come up to you and tell you there’s a better way to do them and the better way is always more painful?
  • Why is it the only way presidential candidate Ron Paul can get on the news is if he stands behind Mitt Romney making faces and doing jumping jacks while Romney is being interviewed by TV reporters?
If you give it any thought, there’s a lot of suspicious behavior going on. It’s sort of overwhelming to consider. Is it possible only wealthy, fiscally conservative congressional leaders who made their fortune selling printer cartridges and phone contracts to the rest of us are out to get Ron Paul and make us all do painful sit-ups?

No, that’s just crazy talk. Now I’m starting to sound silly and delusional.

I mean, who ever heard of a fiscally conservative congressional leader?

Steve Eaton lives and works in Logan, Utah. It has taken time, but the people there have become accustomed to him and it has been weeks since there have been any "incidents." He can be reached at eatonnews@gmail.com.

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