It is a menacing society in which we live today. As we walk through the streets of our cities, we see Jewish people wearing yarmulkes (or not), gay people engaging in conversations with people of the same gender (or not), and Latinos communicating in Spanish or, worse still, the English that so many grew up speaking as a first language. It is truly a scary sight -- one which makes city life unbearable. Each word, every glance, the clothing and sacred articles people wear (or not) are all symptoms of the ineffable: radicalization.
Most terrifying is the fact that radicalization is not even about a particular ideology anymore. It's about the most devastating terrorist invention of them all: the Arab Numeral zero. In this modest proposal, I most humbly submit to you that it is high time we abolished it once and for all, beginning with a Congressional investigation into its origins.
My insight stems from a personal glimpse into the radicalization process at work. Two youths, addicts or philanderers no doubt, were standing together conversing on a street corner near my home. Then one of them reached out his hand and clasped it to the hand of the other. They both smiled and exchanged what must have been a code word. Even as its lone syllable sounded somewhat like the word "peace," I am all but certain that war was in their hearts. They then parted, ready to carry out nefarious acts. Radicalization was afoot.
Fearing the worst, I followed the more devious looking of the youths as he parted ways with the other. He walked to a park, sat down on a bench and began looking around. He was clearly on the prowl. He then opened up his knapsack.
"Aha!" I said to myself. It must be drugs, weapons, or even a time travel device inside. Instead it was something far worse: a linear algebra textbook. It was clear that he was using it to make a terrorist device of sorts.
Knowing that the time was right to act, I dashed out before him, seizing his evil book and throwing it to the ground. "You terrorist!" I screamed.
He responded with a near admission of guilt and the Jihadist cry of home-grown terrorist: "What the hell, man?!"
"What do you think you're doing with that terrorist manual?!" I hollered right back. "Huh? You making a nuclear device or something?"
Playing dumb, Osama's warrior looked me straight in the eye and said, "I was trying to study for my test. I'm about ready to finish my major in economics but needed to learn some more math before going on for a PhD. Why are you messing with my math book?"
It all became clear to me then. This young man was using that terrorist manual of his to make a device that could destroy our world with economics. All of those graphs and numbers, calculations -- it was all part of a mind-torture device. The problem was that he was using the worst radical Muslim invention of them all: the zero.
Now, to be fair, I don't know exactly if the zero was invented by a Muslim or an Arab or an Indian. Maybe even a Middle Eastern Jew of Indian origin. But it was one of those un-American groups from a long, long time ago. What can I say -- it's either us or them.
What is clear, however, from my experience is that we must abolish the zero. Forever. Starting with a Congressional investigation into its despicable use in Arabic numerals.
Just think about it. Once the investigation is concluded -- no doubt proving the radical roots of the zero -- we'll be able to go back to leading simpler, happier lives.
When you get your electrical bill for your apartment, it won't be for "$130.07," the sort of confusing number that causes such terrible pain. It will say "medium amount" and then deduct a "medium amount" from your bank account. When that stockbroker of yours says he wants to "invest 10% of your savings in a mutual fund," you won't have to look confused any more: just tell him, "I won't use those evil, terrorist insider-trading zeros of yours -- just buy a 'small amount.'" When you rack up too many charges on that credit card of yours, the card company won't tell you that you owe "$30,000 at 200 percent interest per year" -- what does that really mean anyway? It'll just say that "you owe a 'large amount.'"
Now this may all sound very down to earth and practical. But it's also a powerful tool for fighting terror. You see, terrorists win by getting into your mind. They say "How am I going to get that Bill fellow over there?" And then they go terrify him until he's too scared to fight back.
It all starts with the little things for poor Bill -- notably the number he sees most frequently: zero. Then it escalates to a pair of zeros, then three, then even zeros in the decimal place, then zeros everywhere. Soon poor Bill is swimming in bills, all of which have too many zeros to count. Then Bill starts to think he's a zero. Then it's all over. Their holy war has taken yet another innocent victim, now subsumed into a mass of only zeros, actually becoming one with his bank account.
The zero is all a way for that terrorist Arab-Indian-Muslim-Jew of Christian origins to get into Bill's mind. We must save Bill -- and Bob, Jane, Jack, and Jill, and everyone we know -- from the tyranny of zeros.
Radicalization is everywhere. We may never fully get rid of it. Zero zeros is not what we're after here. But at least we can have fewer than before.