Why Worry?

nuclear mushroom cloud with a spinning computer hourglass.

The President of the United States and a designated Military Aide with top level security clearance are riding on Air Force One.

President: Reluctantly, I have decided to drop the bomb.

Aide: Yes, sir. You will need this. It’s the Nuclear Football.

President: It looks like a black briefcase with an antenna.

Aide: It is, sir.

President: Then why is it called The Nuclear Football? Why don’t they just call it The Nuclear Briefcase with an Antenna?

Aide: It’s always been called The Football, sir.

President: Well, all I can say it’s a good thing thing Tom Brady isn’t president or this thing would be half full.

Aide: Sir, everything you need to launch a nuclear attack is in this case. It will automatically alert the Joint Chiefs of Staff the minute you open it.

President: Opens the bag and removes the Black Box which looks much like a laptop computer. I can’t seem to get a connection.

Aide: That’s because you are in Airplane Mode, sir. Just turn it off to get the signal.

President: But won’t that screw up Air Force One? Isn’t that why I can’t play World of Warcraft on the plane? I mean, that’s what the FAA keeps telling me.

Aide: I wouldn’t know, sir. All you need to do is enter the WiFi code.

President: What is the WiFi code for Air Force One?

Aide: I am not allowed to give that out, sir. It is classified.

President: Here, then you do it for me. This is way too complicated.

Aide: Yes, sir. Sir, it wants to know your username and password.

President: My what?

Aide: Sir, the system needs to be sure it is you. Your username and password are on the card that you keep everyday in your breast pocket.

President: That’s what this laminated thing is? I thought it was a Frequent Flyer Club Card. OK. Let’s see. It says here my username is President and my password is 12345. Are you kidding me? Is this the best the NSA can come up with?

Aide: OK, now it wants you to identify three security questions which only the President would know. Here they are. Who is your favorite world leader? What is the first campaign promise you ever broke? Who is really buried in Grant’s tomb?

President: You’re kidding, right?

Aide: Sir, are you a robot?

President: What?

Aide: The system is asking whether you are a computer generated program. You need to identify the distorted letters in this CAPTCHA box to prove that you are not an automated computer bot. Here, let me show it to you.

President: I can’t read this! It looks kind of like JP8MV. Or maybe UDSNNW.

Aide: Uh, apparently not, sir. It is not accepting either answer. You are locked out and need to start all over. What is your username and password?

President: I just told you!

Aide: No, they change every minute. You need to look on your card.

President: Oh for heaven’s sake. Here, you take the card and do it.

Aide: OK, I think I am in. Now I have to give the Black Box back to you, sir. You need to place the command yourself.

President: Of course. What is this? It looks like an Amazon page!

Aide: Yes sir, we outsource the order processing of nuclear strikes to Amazon. And with Amazon Prime we get free online movies and shipping on orders greater than $25. Just do a search on Nuclear Options under All Departments.

President: Oh yeah. Here we go. It looks like there are several items listed under something called OPLAN 8010, whatever that is. Everything from a single cruise missile to multiple ICBM strikes. Cool, they even have free kamikaze drones if I order now.

Aide: Which will it be, sir?

President: Give me a minute. I am reading the customer reviews. Some of these nuclear options have pretty bad outcomes.

Aide: When you are ready sir, just add whatever you want to the shopping cart and check out.

President: OK. It wants my credit card info. Do you have that?

Aide: No, sir. I do not have clearance to carry your credit card.

President: But I am President. I don’t need to carry a credit card!

Aide: Here use mine. You can pay me back later.

President: OK, it just wants your name exactly as it appears on the card and your billing address. Easy Peasy! Click and done! The bombs are on their way!

Aide: Sir?

President: Yes?

Aide: You didn’t check the box that said Delivery Same as Billing Address did you?

President: Oh crap. I think I just launched 13 ICBM missiles to your house. Let me just go back and change this order.

Aide: Wait! Don’t click . . .

President: What’s this? It looks like a little spinning hourglass and the screen is frozen.

Aide: I don’t think you are supposed to click the back button when placing an order. You may have to reboot. But it’s OK. The Secretary of Defense has to verify the entire order anyway before it is carried out. You just need to get him on the phone to change delivery.

President: Right. Oh, wait. My phone is dead. I forgot to charge it. Can you call him on yours?

Aide: Sure, Mr. President. Do you have his personal cell phone number?

President: Uhh . . . its programmed on my phone.

Aide: Sir, are there any good movies on that thing while we wait?