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florida conspiracies
By Dennis Batchelder 20 April 2005

Irina and I taught a class in Tampa this week, and we had dinner with Barb and Wayne on Monday night. Barb and I dated back in high school, and I thought it would be cool if Irina could meet somebody who knew me back when I was young, slim, and had a full head of hair.

We drove to their house in the afternoon and met Barb and the kids. She asked us what we were teaching, and laughed when we said "computer security."

Barb then told us her theory about computer people: to her, it seems that we purposely leave some software off the computers and misconfigure other settings, forcing the computer owners to bring their systems back for additional and regular repairs. She said that her computer technician reminded her of her auto mechanic: while changing her oil, he's probably poking holes in her radiator and dropping screws into her transmission.

"What's with all the conspiracy theories?" I asked. She smiled, "Dennis, you had your own conspiracy going twenty one years ago."

I guess I did. Back then, I tried to impress Barb by claiming that I had super powers, but I refrained from using them, because it wasn't fair to the mere mortals in our school. I thought it was a foolproof story, but I used it too many times. Eventually somebody told my sister how lucky she was to have a brother with a photographic memory, and how noble he was to not blow the curve in class by using it. Oops - game over. Maybe I was young, slim, and hairy, but I wasn't too bright.

Enough of my lame attempt to impress people, and back to Barb's other theories. On the way to pick up Wayne from their physical therapy and health club clinic, she told us that she heard that the pharmaceutical companies were blocking university researchers who had the cures for all major illnesses. Why would they do this? Because if these cures got out, the companies would lose all their profits. When we were kids in New Hampshire, my mother had a pantry with rows and rows of dusty jars labelled "summer squash", "green beans", and "strawberry jam". I pictured a similar pantry, only with a fat medical executive protecting jars labelled "Cure for Cancer", "Cure for Arthritis", and "Cure for the Common Cold".

We ate a nice dinner together at the River City Grill in Punta Gorda, and as we drove around afterwards and saw the damage caused by Hurricane Charly, Wayne asked us if we thought that the insurance companies were getting kickbacks from the construction companies. After the storm, costs to repair and rebuild went right through the roof (just like Charly). Irina got into the fun and suggested that the local sign makers might have tried to enlarge or direct Charly with rows of fans, just so they could have more signs to replace (no kidding - every business sign in town was blown away).

We drove back to their health club and physical therapy clinic. I asked if the two businesses were complementary, and Wayne explained that many patients end up joining the health club, and when club members get injured, they also tend to use the clinic for their physical therapy rehabilitation.

I joked, "Hey, if you leave a couple screws loose on your weight machines, and set your treadmills just a hair too fast, you could convert even more of your club members into patients."

Wanye looked shocked, and Barb gasped. She said, "who's looking for conspiracies now?"

Good point. But I think those two got me going on conspiracies just so I'd write this story about them.

florida conspiracies - usa