O, Come, All Ye Faithful.

And bring your bar codes

And for god’s sake, don’t eat the myrrh



by David Chartrand



And it came to pass in those days that there was issued across the land a multitude of decrees about the right to privacy, though none understood or believed it.

Joseph went up from www.Galilee.com unto the city of http//www.David. He went with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child.

So it was that while they journeyed henceforth to the place that they were supposed to journey to, they had trouble buying groceries. The PriceBarnWigglyChopperHouse store asked for their bar-coded I.D. card. Mary and Joseph had none, though they had shopped there many times before. Lo, the store decreed that without the shopper card Mary and Joseph would have to pay more for the same groceries than those who had an I.D. card. Incredibly, this was legal in those days. The I.D. card was needed to track the spending habits of every customer so that this data could be fed into the computers at NationsCitiBankofAmerica. This, too, was legal, though the right to privacy had been decreed and had been believed.”

Joseph and Mary were issued bar-coded shopper I.D. cards punched with a small hole to fit a car key ring. There being no cars yet invented, Joseph hung the card around his neck and continued  journey. He was troubled by what he had heard and seen.”

Alas, Joseph and Mary were issued bar-coded shopper I.D. cards punched with a small hole to fit a car key ring. There being no cars yet invented, Joseph hung the card around his neck and continued the journey. He was troubled by what he had heard and made a mental note to find out more about his right to privacy. He and Mary journeyed henceforth and so on.

Soon they found an inn and made application therein. The innkeeper said unto Joseph that the room rate would be $249 a night, unless they had an InnKeepersVIPGold Club I.D. Card, in which case the rate was $89. The innkeeper explained that the I.D. card doth also allow thee to rent cars and buy rental car insurance as soon as someone invented Avis. So it was that Joseph was issued a bar-coded I.D. card to keep with him at all times. This, too, he placed around his neck and continued the journey.

Behold at last, Joseph and Mary stopped to get cash. They found a branch of the CaesarAugustusBank, which in those days had multitudes of drive-through teller lanes but no one actually working at them. Some things never change. They found only automated machines that required a bar-coded I.D. card so that the bank could track the personal lives of each customer. And so it was that Joseph added yet another I.D. card to those that now hung heavy ‘round his neck.

At every stop along thr way, Mary and Joseph were forced to add more bar-coded plastic necklaces until the number of cards around their necks totaled nearly XVCVIIIX. Every convenience store, every coffee shop and every movie theater required I.D. cards, which had now spread like a pox on the land.

As night swept over the land, Joseph and Mary found a ramshackled manger that had no computers or scanners or customer profile databases. Their hearts filled with comfort and joy. With some difficulty, they laid aside the shackles of their bar-coded I.D. cards. Later that night, Mary gave birth to a son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.

There were in the same country some shepherds abiding in the fields and pretty much minding their own business. Lo, an Angel name Currency, Archangel of the Money God, appeared to them and confiscated their I.D. Cards. At once, Currency knew everything about the shepherds — where they had been and where they had stopped for gas along the way.

The Angel proclaimed, “Behold, ye merry gentlemen! Satellite global positioning has located the child and his parents. We know their income, their shopping preferences, their tax returns, and what kind of cars they plan to purchase once cars are invented. Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes — blanket from Bed, Bath & Beyond, booties from Lands’ End, 50% cotton. Purchased August 12 with VISA card. Two late payments in past 16 months. All of this shall be a sign to you of what is to come.”

The shepherds quaked at this sight, just like in that Christmas song. They went forth with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the Child. The shepherds gazed upon the scores of bar-coded I.D. cards strewn around the manager. In a rage, they shredded the cards in order to protect Mary and her husband from the Currency Angel.  At midnight, three kings came to pass while  traversing afar on the Orient Express. The hungry kings cast eyes upon the shredded plastic cards strewn around the manger and knew that God had answer their prayers.  After feasting all evening on shards of plastic they were rushed to the nearest emergency room where they were diagnosed with MIIBS (Myrrh Induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome), for which no treatment had yet been invented.

In time, the shepherds and kings and camels and deathly ill kings went forth into Bethlehem to tell all who would listen what they had learned. They spoke of a newborn king. And privacy. And the dangers of eating myrrh on an empty stomach. All who heard wondered at what had come to pass.


© 2014, David Chartrand




 
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