Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but I’m pretty sure I’m being followed.

Once, several months ago, in a moment of weakness, I wanted to buy a new hoodie. My old hoodie had large moth holes in it, which meant that I couldn’t wear it anymore to formal functions. So, because I hate trying on clothes, I briefly searched online for a hoodie.

And then, of course, I forgot about it (Mainly, I realized, I’m rarely invited to formal functions anymore.  Or, actually, never.)

Yet now when I go online to check out the weather in Bangkok or other essential information, there are hoodie ads all over the screen. They pop up when I’m reading about Brexit, which I believe is a new breath sweetener. They’re in columns at the margins of the screen when I go to sign up for the digital lottery for “Hamilton,” thus covering up how to enter the digital lottery for “Hamilton.”

When I go looking for news, the headlines on CNN and The New York Times are all about hoodies. Even the crossword puzzle. What’s a six-letter word, beginning with H, that’s like a jacket with a hood?

When I listen to music on the car radio, I only hear songs about hoodies, even on the classical station.

I now get emails from Macy’s asking if I might be interested in their LOWEST HOODIE PRICES OF THE YEAR! (That is, until next week, when it will be 40 percent off our LOWEST HOODIE PRICES OF THE YEAR, plus free shipping if I spend at least $50 on new breath sweeteners.)

All of this, of course, is because of algorithms — or is it his brother logarithms? —  that are monitoring my online behavior. They do this at night, sneaking in through the basement crawl space, scuttling up the steps and then crawling into the back of the computer, where they spawn like crazy. We’ve tried using some anti-algorithm de-fogging sprays but without great success, plus they’ve made the screens sort of foggy.

And it’s not just hoodies. Almost five years ago, my wife checked out potential flights to Cincinnati, to maybe visit her sister. Her sister decided to come here instead, but five years later, we are still receiving updates on “lowest-priced flights to Cincinnati,” tips on best restaurants in Cincinnati and email surveys asking us to recommend our favorite Cincinnati hotels.  (We would be particularly fond of the Cincinnati Hilton, if we knew that there was a Cincinnati Hilton.)

A year ago, we bought a new refrigerator, after researching refrigerators online and learning about the intricacies of cubic feet and how ice-making can change your life. But the logarithms, perhaps immersed in playing Pokémon Go and not paying close attention, apparently still believe we are continuing to buy a new refrigerator each week. So we continue to get regular pop-up ads about the relative merits of Frigidaire versus Amana.

Which is ridiculous, of course. We’re not interested in refrigerators. We’re buying hoodies. As soon as we get to Cincinnati.

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