As is

I hear on the radio this evening that the Government is holding an online auction of the personal effects of the Unabomber.

That alone is a bit weird. It’s weird because it’s an online auction, and because the government are acting like eBay−and it turns out this has been going on for a while (I was out of the country) and they have a whole site with FEMA trailers and fire trucks and all sorts of things. I was afraid to click on any item (lest they profile me) to see if they use PayPal or what kind of bids they have gotten. Auction closes in 8 days, so, if I have piqued your curiosity, stop reading and go shop!

They have profiled the bidder. Um, a man. Over 40. Yes, old enough to have followed the story at the time. In case you need to brush up, here’s a link.

They think the buyer will be wanting “something he can bring out at a cocktail party.”

Like the parts of a bomb? To kill his guests because they work at a place that requires roads?

Or a manifesto? (And if one of the Unabomber’s negotiation tactics was “read my manifesto on air and I’ll stop,” then isn’t offering his papers to the public kind of giving him a platform?)

At a cocktail party?

Man, over-40, sounds plausible, but cocktail party just sounds wrong.

Like my glasses?

Want to see my survival guides?

Profiling can know so much about you but then it can be dumb. Like how Amazon still sends me book recommendations for Little Critter books. Hello, children grow up and their reading tastes evolve. Had they not figured out that I, the buyer, the account-holder, am an adult? Or did they think I was one of those 19-and-counting moms, who have an endless supply of early readers?

Who is the typical government auction shopper?

If you like the aviator glasses, you should know that they are “As is.” I’m not sure what the government auction return policy is, but they need to describe these items in clear, unambiguous terminology, with a dusting of irony. I’m sure the books, “KACZYNSKI HAD A RATHER EXTENSIVE COLLECTION OF BOOKS IN HIS MONTANA CABIN…” don’t smell so good, but it doesn’t say. Are they from a smoking or non-smoking cabin?

The sunglasses and hoodie lot, pictured above, is currently going for $20,025. So that makes their 40+ male terrorist-artifact collector, thrower of (themed?) cocktail parties even more puzzling. That’s an expensive bit of entertainment, and I use the word entertainment, loosely and pejoratively.  That would be a pretty strange party to end up at.

Bidding starts here:


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