Like cockroaches skittering across a Formica counter top, conspiracy theories are hard to get rid of. Conspiracy buffs are no easier. I'm not referring to people who are wary of the CIA, or sick of the Koch Brothers, or have serious fears regarding Wall Street. Those people aren't "conspiracy buffs" so much as savvy but skeptical citizens doing their best not to become even more cynical than they already are.
Conspiracy buffs are different. Conspiracy buffs believe the moon shot was a hoax, that the Twin Towers were detonated by agents of the U.S. government, that cancer can be cured but doctors are keeping it secret in order to stay employed, that Detroit has a car engine that will get 400 miles per gallon, but the oil companies won't let them market it, and the NBA draft that sent Patrick Ewing to the New York Knicks was rigged.
I had a friend who firmly believed the Rothschild and Rockefeller families "ruled the world." When I reminded him that, as hard as he tried, the hapless Nelson Rockefeller couldn't even get his own party -- the Republican Party -- to nominate him for president, my friend had an answer. "That's what he wanted you to think... so you wouldn't get suspicious," he said.
When I commented on the suicide of swindler Bernard Madoff's son, some years back, a person replied with an all-knowing smirk, "I doubt very much that he took his own life." Although he was totally ignorant of the facts surrounding the episode, he was convinced Madoff's son had been murdered to "silence" him. You can't pry these people off their theories.
Here are three conspiracies that I made up myself. If others claim to have already thought of them, that's pure coincidence, because I hatched these unfortunate eggs myself. Great minds think alike.
I've successfully used all three -- told them to people and had them believe them. After allowing them to believe, for a few minutes, that they were true, I burst their bubble by admitting that they were fictitious. But instead of feeling silly for having fallen for them, people argued with me, insisting that they "could be true." Cockroaches.
Here are the three. Feel free to use them on family and friends. Just be sure to level with them afterward. We have enough assorted bullshit out there without adding to it.
1. The U.S. Treasury Department, World Bank and top Wall Street investment houses are very close to reaching agreement on having the United States abandon the "dollar" as its unit of currency, and go to the Chinese "Yuan."
2. Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks, was the one who forced NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to embarrass the New England Patriots with this "Inflategate" debacle. Allen, former co-founder of Microsoft, is the richest team owner, way richer and more powerful than Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner. Still furious that his team lost the Super Bowl on a fluke play, Allen forced the commissioner to do his bidding.
3. The story has leaked out of the White House that Barack Obama, on his last day before leaving office, will issue an executive order removing the words "Under God" from the pledge of allegiance.
David Macaray is a playwright and author.