President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he would ask the Department of Homeland Security to investigate an alarming rise in GPS malfunctions. Although he stopped short of suggesting a link between terrorists and the rash of travelers who wound up as many as five hundred miles off course after following aggressive GPS instructions, the president said that such incidents could undermine America’s economic recovery.
“We’re working hard to get this country back on the right track,” said the president, “but we can’t do that if people lose faith in their GPS devices.”
According to the president, a recent MSNBC-ESPN poll demonstrated that loss of faith.
“More than half the people in this country believe we are headed in the wrong direction,” said the president, “and we need to know why.”
The most recent case of a “curious” GPS malfunction involved a Nevada couple who were stranded on Christmas Day after their SUV’s navigation system sent them down a remote dirt road in the Winema-Fremont National Forest outside the small town of Silver Lake.
“We were just looking for the nearest McDonald’s,” said John Rhoads.
Mr. Rhoads, 65, and his wife, Starry Bush-Rhoads, 67, were stranded for three days with nothing but the Kenny G. Christmas album for amusement. Finally a rescue team responded to their weak cell-phone signal and pulled the couple’s four-wheel-drive Toyota Sequoia out of the snow with a winch.
“The GPS kept sending us down these tiny dirt roads,” said Starry Bush-Rhoads, “but when we asked for an alternate route, it told us to ‘shut up and drive’ in this Middle Eastern accent. It was almost like it had a mind of its own.”
President Obama, sensitive to criticisms about his leadership ability, told reporters that he would drive from the White House to Camp David this weekend with nothing but a GPS for guidance.
In related news, the Automobile Association of America is advising travelers to be in their cars half an hour before their planned departure times in order to check their GPS devices to make sure they’re functioning properly.