My friend Paul is on the docket for a security clearance, and he mentioned my name as someone who can vouch for his character. That means the Defense Investigative Service (or something like that) sends a guy over to my house to ask probing questions about Paul.

“Does Paul have any problems with drug or alcohol abuse?”

“Does Paul exhibit any signs of mental instability?”

“Did anything happen in Paul’s past that could potentially be used to blackmail him?”

And my favorite:

“Does Paul associate with any subversive organizations, terrorist groups, or people who want to do harm to the United States?”

My answer to that one was, “You mean like the Republicans?”

Of course these investigators have their sense of humor surgically removed when they first start their jobs, so he wasn’t amused by my answer. He sort of sat there waiting for me to give him a real answer, and after a moment I admitted that no, Paul probably doesn’t hang out with terrorist cells.

Boy, I don’t miss those days of having a security clearance.