Fly the Hokey-Pokey
April 8, 2009 -- I think I know why the economy is in trouble. It's business travel. Billions of dollars worth of business deals are conducted daily by people who, after the rigors of business travel, have the mental capacity of a ball of yarn.
The trials of a business trip usually begin when you check your baggage, which is swallowed by the great and powerful computer-controlled baggage diverter. This machine uses sophisticated laser and computer technology to read "San Francisco" off the tag, and then reroute your bag to the Dry Tortugas. The only defense is to forget about your jammies and try to enjoy the flight. Which youíll do right after you go through security.
Getting through security often takes longer than your flight. Thanks to some nut jobs who like to blow themselves up, we have to go through rituals that are slightly more complicated than preparing for space travel. First, thereís the removing of your shoes, belt, loose change, false teeth, body piercing jewelry and any other thing that can be used as a weapon (body piercing jewelry?). Then thereís the jaunty parade of personal ointments, potions and lotions brightly displayed in a Ziploc baggy. Everyone gets to see that you have the heartbreak of psoriasis, embarrassing rashes and assorted fungi inhabiting your newly stripped body.
I have a theory that terrorists are just trying to get us to do ever more ridiculous things as we march through security. Somewhere in a cave in Afghanistan, creative writers and comedians are dreaming up ways to push us to extremes. "How can we make them do the Hokey-Pokey in their underwear," asks one. "Good one, brother," says another. "I have always dreamed of making the infidels Hokey-Pokey through the metal detector. After all, that is what itís all about."
Once youíre through security and are undoubtedly wearing someone elseís belt, shoes or anti-fungal cream, itís time to board your sleek airliner. Or at least thatís what the airline ads promise. Your plane was built during the Nixon administration when having a movie was a big deal. Itís also apparent that, in those days, people were roughly three feet high. That must be so, because the aisles, seats, and pillows (good luck scoring a pillow) are all made by and for Lilliputians. Just squish your body into the Barbie doll seats, and "Ösit back, relax and enjoy the flightÖ" as the crew likes to perkily chirp.
As soon as you're airborne, you'll have an overwhelming urge to sleep and pretty soon your head will be bobbing around like a little dashboard doll. Thatís the signal for the captain to turn up the volume on the public address system and shout, "Hi everyone! I'm Captain Bob, and I just wanted to see your heads snap around when I said Hi! Seriously folks, we've reached our cruising altitude and I'll be pointing out all sorts of meaningless geographical features as soon as I see you nodding off again."
This announcement is also a signal for what is called "in-flight service." Nowadays, this service provides watery coffee, seven dollar Lilliputian bottles of liquor and an assortment of five dollar snacks. The snack tray is indeed elegant, with oversize bags of chips, manhole-sized cookies and a wrap that holds some mystery meat and a secret mayo sauce that will slowly drip out the end, all over you and your fellow passengers. As everyone sits sipping, dripping and chewing, Captain Bob pipes up. "Hi, this is Captain Bob again!" (as if there might have been a shift change somewhere over Des Moines). "I can't help but notice that many of you are now juggling your coffee and trying to pour expensive booze into small cups, so it's time for some turbulence! Buckle up! Heeere we go!"
Eventually you land and it's time to watch other people gleefully snap up their luggage while you stare helplessly at the baggage carousel like a lonely child at the playground. But take heart, business traveler. Youíve got nothing to really worry about except the important presentation that you have to deliver tomorrow to fellow business travelers who now know that you have psoriasis and are really lousy at the Hokey-Pokey. And thatís what itís all about.
By Mike Donlin.
Mike does technical, marketing and creative wriiting for The Write Solution, his freelance business. He can help your company wend its way through the vagaries of the English language, and prides himself on his intimate knowledge of gerunds, semicolons and dipthongs. If you'd like Mike to pen a tome on a timely technical topic, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-889-4955.
Reprinted from SOCcentral.com, your first stop for ASIC, FPGA, EDA, and IP news and design information.