Pain In The Ass -Ism

I was in Seattle on election day and happened to see this display at the 5 Spot restaurant on Queen Anne hill.  Elephant on the right, donkey on the left.  Note the elephant’s salacious leer and the donkey’s defiant-yet-submissive posture.  Looks to me like the Democrats had a pretty good idea what was about to happen to them.

That trip to Seattle, which is where I grew up, had me standing in the security line at what was once my home airport.  And that took me back to Thanksgiving Eve of 1971.  That night, we were all glued to the radio as a man later known to the world as D.B. Cooper hijacked a Northwest Airlines 727, forced it to land in Seattle, collected $200,000, made the plane take off, and then leapt into both oblivion and history.

That was the event that brought metal detectors to airports.  There is a direct line starting with Cooper that extends through people who were crazy enough to hijack planes in order to get INTO Cuba, then through the Lockerbie bombers and 9/11.  It ends, at least for now, with that Nigerian knucklehead who got arrested last Christmas because he clearly misunderstood what those spam emails meant when they suggested that he should “put some dynamite in his underwear.”

The espoused purpose of terrorism is to inspire terror.  On that count, the people on this dishonor roll have failed.  I’m certainly not terrified to fly – at least no more than any of us should be by the prospect of climbing into an aluminum tube and going six miles up in the sky.  What I am is weary.  Air travel used to be exciting.  Now it’s a pain in the ass.  The people who made it so have failed at their effort to become terrorists.  Based on the feeling they actually inspire, what they are is pain-in-the-ass-ists.  Let’s applaud them for their accomplishment.

Years ago, I heard an interview with Mel Brooks in which he was asked how he justified wrapping “The Producers” around the fictitious musical “Springtime for Hitler.”  His answer, more or less, was that one of the best ways to deal with evil is to recognize it for what it is, and then laugh in its face.

In that context, I would like to recognize and applaud the TSA team at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport, who put this sign up at the back end of the security area.

Clearly, they’ve got their heads screwed on straight.

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