My car doesn't look this bad, but it doesn't have the inspirational window decal, either.
I found myself thinking about buying a new car the other day. My present car is ten years old. It's got a crack in the windshield and a broken motor mount. It's not a fashionable set of wheels. The only reason I lock it when I park it downtown is so I won't come back to find some homeless person sleeping in the back seat. It's not that ugly, though, and it runs, so buying a new one would be purely an exercise in personal vanity.
I haven't bought a new car since my kid was born and he's old enough now to legally drink. I moved to Hawaii when I got divorced from his mom. One of the few things that you can get cheaply in Hawaii is a used car. People leaving the rock have a need to sell their cars and deals abound. I bought a perfectly passable car for $250 once. I drove an '82 Lincoln coupe two-door, a pure pimpmobile, nicknamed by one of my friends "Huggy Bear," for a couple of my carefree years on Oahu. This prestigious ride set me back $900. Often I could buy a car, drive it for a year, and sell it for exactly what I paid for it, which made it a free ride.
So my used car habit was firmly fixed when I moved back to the East Coast. There I found the best person to buy a used car from was a dead person. They were always motivated sellers and their reasons for selling were as pure as the winter snow I told myself I had missed when I lived in Hawaii. The actual transaction would be handled by the surviving spouse. I preferred cars that had been owned by deceased wives, because I felt the widowers had maintained them meticulously, as putting the wife's car in for an oil change gave them a chance to get out of the house and talk to somebody who had no choice but to pay attention to them.
However in California, where I now live, I am out of the dead person loop. People die here, but they are not friends of friends of mine and their cars are sold to people who are. I could buy a car off Craigslist, as I could buy love off Craigslist, but either transaction might entail unacceptable risks. I could buy a car at a sheriff's sale, but I cross the border frequently and I am afraid of the criminal repercussions that might occur should some diligent DEA drug dog discover that the sheriff hadn't vacuumed all of the cocaine from underneath the seats before he sold me the vehicle.
A new car seems like a good solution, but I don't think I'll be able to get one, because I am afraid that when the car salesman leans across the table at me to close the deal and tells me in a voice husky with emotion (he's emotional because he's thinking about his commission) "You deserve this car," I'm going to have an answer for him. And it's going to be the same answer as if he had said "You deserve these car payments," or "You deserve to have your auto insurance bill tripled."
I'm going to say, "No, I don't."
That's sadly true. And I never realize it more profoundly than when I look at the condition of my current car. Unwashed for months, it has a uniform coating of greenish pollen on its surface, it being the tree-mating season here. It is littered with spare clothes and emergency umbrellas and hoodies in case it rains or the temperature drops. Multiple pages of Mapquest directions to places I have been but will never go again lie scattered on the seats and floor mats, which are also festooned with empty candy and fast-food wrappers. I have more money in loose change under the seats than I have in my IRA. Each of my cup holders has a layer of cup holder glue in the bottom of it, a mysterious substance which forms when spilled beverages congeal in some sub-atomic fashion into an adhesive so powerful that it could be used to glue submarine hulls together. Pieces of hard candy, which I keep in case I need to pop a few into my mouth if I come across a DUI checkpoint after researching local microbrewing efforts, are useless for that purpose because they are mortared irretrievably into the cup holders, like fossils in a layer of Paleolithic sandstone. So cups sit unevenly in my cup holders, which means they spill more, which means another deposit of cup holder glue. The whole process is an inexorable as any geologic one.
And it's all my fault. It's because I don't think about my car except when I need to go somewhere and I stop thinking about it the moment I get there. If I bought a new car, in spite of all the exciting warranties and smells that owning that vehicle would entail, in a few months it would be just as neglected as this car. It would turn into the car I deserve.
No way I'm paying three hundred bucks a month for that heap.
Representative Steve Stockman of Texas has recently issued the bumper sticker at left urging his re-election under the slogan "If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted."
A lot of people were offended by this. Others just shrugged it off as the type of wholesome, Big Texas nuttiness for which the Congressman has previously been noted. Still others point out that if babies were armed, it might be a lot tougher to get them out of the car at day care or make them eat strained peas.
What the Congressman is actually advocating are armed fetuses. He is combining his appreciation for personal firepower with his conviction that any medical device or procedure that allows a woman to have sex without risking popping another seven pounds or so of squalling human into this world is morally wrong.
Whether recently formed blastocysts that are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence should be armed, or only fetuses that have formed eyes and hands and are at least theoretically capable of locking and loading should have access to firearms is a question too fraught to be fully examined in the medium of a bumper sticker, and I don't blame the Representative for not raising it. Arming the pre-born, however, would bring about profound world changes, and perhaps the Representative has not thought them entirely through. Fortunately, he has me to do that for him:
1. No more of those messy Early Pregnancy Tests...just walk through the metal detector at the airport to find out if you're in a family way.
2. Background checks for fetuses—Waived!
3. Sonogram determines not only the sex of the baby but the caliber of its weapon.
4. Pregnant women jumping on trampolines currently just discouraged...now needs to be prohibited by law in the interests of public safety.
5. Fetus provides shotgun at all shotgun marriages.
6. Nervous new fathers now required not only to cut umbilical cord, but disarm the child afterwards.
7. Only SWAT teams permitted to perform Cesareans.
8. Damn fine excuse for not having sex with your pregnant wife.
9. Hunting safety courses tacked on to Lamaze classes.
10. Instead of classical music, pre-borns get music they want to hear-- ZZ Top, .38 Special, or just romantic ballads about outlaw fetuses.
And, finally, fetuses may opt to remain in womb under "Stand Your Ground" laws in some states.
It's going to be a brave new world in Texas. Congressman Stockman, besides peddling his bumper stickers, is encouraging all "persecuted" gun owners and manufacturers to move there. He hasn't added "and get somebody pregnant" yet. He's saving that for his next bumper sticker would be my guess.
Actual North Carolina church signage, photographed by actual North Carolinian, the author's brother Matt Cahill
Several North Carolina legislators have recently proposed that North Carolina adopt an official state religion, claiming that the First Amendment only prohibits the federal government from establishing a state religion, ignoring the fact that the line of reasoning that supports their argument means that North Carolina could also re-institute segregation, slavery and male-only suffrage, since banning those practices originally was certainly not North Carolina's idea.
These legislators no doubt favor Christianity as the state's new official faith, but ignore the question of which version of Christianity North Carolinians would have to profess. Christianity, as you know, comes in more variations, both in strength and flavor, than Budweiser, Coke and Captain Crunch combined. A Christian service can mean anything from a dignified droning from the pulpit, guaranteed to put any believer into a light trance, to services featuring snake-handling and Quran-burning (although never the opposite). North Carolinians need a more monolithic faith, if religious practice is going to be standardized from the Outer Banks to the Tennessee border. Fortunately, many religions with more coherent core beliefs are available for the legislators to choose from:
Catholicism: The original old-time religion already has a heavy résumé in state religionhood, starting with the Romans, continuing through years of medieval misery and eventually peaking in the conquest of sunny Mexico. The result of North Carolina becoming the westernmost Papal State? A boom for the textile industry, as demand for vestments goes through the roof, and a marked improvement in the quality of Italian restaurants throughout the region.
Mormonism: Hey, it works for Utah.
Buddhism: North Carolina perennially finishes in the Top Ten in those fakey America's Fattest State rankings that the Internet is so fond of. Roly-poly North Carolinians will love the fat guy statues everywhere.
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: These noodle worshipers and their peaceful Pastafarian ways, who believe that the universe was brought into existence by a Supreme Spaghetti Being in only seven minutes (which is why Creation is al dente) deserve a state of their own where the words of their holy writ can be glued in macaroni letters on their altars and the sound of them chanting their mantra (RAA—MEN) will echo through the land. North Carolina is as good a place as any.
Judaism: Ha! Just kidding.
Islam: Already the state religion in many countries where the answer to the question "What's for dinner?" is "Goat!" Islam may be the perfect choice for NC. It combines a nominal allegiance to the concepts of universal peace and brotherhood with a real-life tendency towards mouthy, violent squabbling. Burdensome and expensive criminal justice system replaced by stonings and amputations and death by fatwa replaces Death Row, resulting in big savings for North Carolina taxpayers. Warning—there is a dress code involved.
Norse, Greek or Hindu gods: Polytheism is aching to make a comeback, and where better place than Carolina? Putting a temple down in every holler makes for great tourist attractions, togas are not just for partying anymore and "By the hammer of Thor, y'all," becomes the official state motto. Plus worshiping Neptune might spare the Outer Banks from getting whomped down by hurricanes with near-boring regularity. Okay, probably not.
Westboro Baptist Churchism: The whole state empties out to picket celebrity funerals.
Secular Humanism: Nope.
The Church of Dollar Store Camouflage Jesus: This column has recently converted to this faith. The image of Our Lord is pictured to the upper right. Many tenets of this religion have yet to be worked out, but one thing is for certain—when we turn the other cheek, it's because we need to rest it on the barrel of our weapon.
We're open to other suggestions here, but not religions like Zoroastrianism, Sikhism or Druzeism, which are basically just filler religions that nobody understands. Really. You might as well carry around a sign that says "Persecute Me" or "Mistakenly Commit a Hate Crime on Me."
North Carolina won't stand for that.
North Korea announced today that it has built a Death Star capable of vaporizing planets.
"Our glorious scientists have successfully constructed a Death Star that represents the hopes and dreams of the Korean people to leave the entire planet a sea of justified flame," the Democratic People's Republic announced today. "We will destroy without mercy the stronghold of the aggressors, which happens to be the planet Earth."
US sources dismissed the threat, saying the North Koreans were "years away" from being able to blow up the entire planet, "even though they obviously want to." A spokesman for the State Department, when interviewed, was happy to amplify.
"Just typical North Korean bellicose rhetoric. Few people realize that in Korean, 'Death Star' is translated as 'starvation sphere,' which is how ordinary North Koreans refer to their country anyway. It's true that the North Koreans have a few, primitive, Death-Star-like weapons, but they are not large or powerful enough to blow up the planet. Analysts with the Defense Department refer to them as 'Death Buses' or at most, 'Death Winnebagos.' Even if the North Koreans successfully built an operational Death Star, they have no way of launching it into space. Rest assured, the US is far ahead of North Korea in Death Star technology. We will be able to destroy the planet long before the North Koreans are capable of it."
That's reassuring, I guess, but why would we want to blow up the planet anyway?
"There is that as well. North Korea is far more motivated to demolish Earth, because it is full of other nations that make it look bad, and almost none that make it look good. This is a country that can only afford to nourish one overweight person, for example, and although his face is constantly in the news, they must surely be humiliated when they realize that there are more fat kids in one middle school in the US than North Korea has ever produced."
That's an interesting standard of comparison. Do you think the North Koreans realize they would be obliterating their own nation along with the rest of the world?
"I expect it's occurred to them. They're rational actors, after all. But I wouldn't discount the possibility entirely. The place is a hell-hole anyway, and a nice Death Star would have living quarters for all the most important North Koreans—Death Stars are quite roomy, you know."
What would they do? Wouldn't they get bored, without any famines or concentration camps to preside over or neighboring people to attack?
"There is a distinct possibility that they would just go on destroying planets. The next one over is Mars, and the North Koreans have already complained that it is full of 'colonialist, hegemonic robotic probes.' After that, the rest of the solar system and then just head out into the galaxy, I expect. Eventually they'll run into some advanced aliens with even bigger death rays that will turn them into a bloody interstellar mist, I would think."
Too bad we don't know anybody like that now.
"Hell, yeah. Could save us tons of trouble."
The summit the world has been waiting for
The story of my acquisition of the iconic Dollar Store Camouflage Jesus has been recounted here before. Several months after I was blessed with ownership of this sturdy, reverent plastic statuette, my Significant Other's daughter returned from a trip to Washington DC bearing a souvenir equally fraught--this time with political significance—a Bobble Head Barack Obama. United for the first time, the gun-toting, dove-palming DSCJ formed a marked contrast with the smooth, always agreeable Bobble Head B.O. Yet they have commonalities as well. Here's a comparison between my personal Savior and my personal President:
Dollar Store Camouflage Jesus
Prince of Peace, but packs heat
Hated by Pharisees
Miraculously born of a virgin
Son of a carpenter
Multiplied loaves and fishes
Meek will inherit the earth
Rode on an ass
Best friend is John the Baptist
Consorted with a known prostitute
White, Northern European-looking male, even though Jewish
Childhood surrounded by shroud of mystery
Bobble Head Barack Obama
Winner of Nobel Prize for Peace, but has heat-seeking missiles
Hated by Republicans
Miraculous birth certificate
Son of a Kenyan
Not enough kids for a middle-aged black guy
Food Stamp President
Rides around with Joe Biden
Worst enemy is John the Boehner
Michelle says "Oh no you don't!"
Keeps white half in closet
Childhood spent under a shroud in Indonesia.
Eerie, isn't it? Feel free to contribute your own uncanny parallels.
A company that calls itself "Atheist Shoes" that makes footwear for non-believers claims that when they ship their products to the United States, the packages wrapped in tape marked "Atheist" are ten times more likely to disappear than packages wrapped in plain tape, and that they take an average of three days longer to arrive.
The company, which makes its rationalist footwear in Germany, says that putting "Atheist" on the outside of its shoeboxes instead of leaving them unmarked makes no difference in shipping times within Europe, and lays the blame on the US Postal Service.
This evidence that the USPS is a hotbed of religious fervor comes as a surprise to many people, in the sense that we had no idea that the Postal Service was a hotbed of anything, merely a necessary but dwindling service that makes its money stuffing your mailbox with ad flyers and delivering items you have ordered on the Internet. They have been trying to get our attention for years by threatening to stop delivering mail on Saturday and no one I know cares if they do. Whereas if someone threatened to shut off our email or Facebook on Saturday, we would pour out of our homes, grab pitchforks, torches and paving stones and get our rabble on.
I suppose it is heartening to realize that these erstwhile government workers are not just sitting around waiting to be replaced by electrons, but are carrying on a subtle campaign against atheism, even though it is hardly an original idea. Atheists have been persecuted since the first cave atheists were discovered and immediately shoved off the same handy cliff as the mammoths. Tribes of primitives often threw a couple atheists in the volcano first, just to make sure it was hot enough to melt a maiden. Atheists were tossed to the lions in the Coliseum as an appetizer for the main course of Christians and racked, burnt, drawn and quartered to relieve centuries of medieval tedium. Making them go barefoot is a mild punishment comparatively.
The other question is, why atheist shoes in the first place? Updating our literature to reflect a preference for godless footwear would leave us with clumsy constructions like "Walk a mile in my atheist shoes," "The atheist shoes of the fisherman," and of course, "There was an old lady who lived in an atheist shoe." None of these is an improvement on the original. Sinatra would have punched you in the face if you asked him to sing "Atheist Shoe-bee-doo-bee-doo."
Wearing atheist shoes may be a way of signaling other atheists that you are playing for the same team. Or, since these are very pricey, hand-made atheist shoes, you may merely be showing off. Not only are you proclaiming your contempt for religious superstitions, you're also saying "I'm rich, too."
That's asking for trouble. Possibly only the wealthy are resented more than non-believers. So while you may feel personally comfortable being atheist and privileged, know that most of humanity grits their teeth and curses when they think of you.
And your box of shoes is out in the bushes somewhere.
The power of the Web to inflame and spread naked idiocy and cowardice was demonstrated over the weekend after an incident at something called a PyCon Conference last week. A female attendee, Adria Richards,became annoyed when two men sitting behind her began making what she thought were inappropriate jokes behind her back. The jokes involved the terms "forking" and "big dongles."
Never mind that this was already baby talk for the act and the organ involved. She took a picture of the two men, Tweeted it and her opinion of them, to the world. I will summarize the cascade of rampant stupidity and shameless bleating that followed:
The men were kicked out of the conference. For this, they must have been at least briefly grateful, until one of them was fired on account of it from his job at PlayHaven, a company which designs games for mobile devices. This means they make the games that enable you, like all Americans if they so desire, to spend the rest of your days poking at the screen on your cell phone.
To that guy I would say "Now you are free to do something useful with your life, like tending bar or shampooing dogs," but I don't know if that would console him for the loss of income and the opportunity to come up with some game even more annoying and omnipresent than Angry Birds. PlayHaven announced his departure via the following exercise in spinelessness:
"PlayHaven had an employee who was identified as making inappropriate comments at PyCon, and as a company that is dedicated to gender equality and values honorable behavior, we conducted a thorough investigation," Andy Yang, the CEO of PlayHaven, wrote on the company's website. "The result of this investigation led to the unfortunate outcome of having to let this employee go."
Then Adria herself was handed her pink slip. In the words of her boss at SendGrid, which company sent her to PyCon:
"A SendGrid developer evangelist's responsibility is to build and strengthen our developer community across the globe. In light of the events over the last 48-plus hours, it has become obvious that her actions have strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite. As a result, she can no longer be effective in her role at SendGrid," he wrote.
What can we learn from these two statements of termination, besides the fact that they are both chock full of gutless euphemisms? First, PyCon, PlayHaven and SendGrid were all named by people unable to find the spacer bar on their keyboards. Second, people who design mobile device games, which often feature rape and murder in an attempt to keep the player poking at his cell phone instead of having a life, are dedicated to gender equality and honorable behavior. (Here I pause to note that these gaming guys, who spend all day sinking electronic war-axes into imaginary maidens, must indeed have a tough time adjusting to an outside world where they are forbidden to tell dongle jokes) Finally, when you are a salesperson nowadays, you are allowed to call yourself an "evangelist."
Fine. I've been an evangelist for longer than Bill Graham, Jr., by that standard.
The story does not end there. Apparently Adria has been subject to threats of murder and rape from across the Internet for getting Team Dongle in trouble. It is true that Adria comes across as extraordinarily prissy and anhedonic in this account. You can have more fun watching the flies trapped inside of your storm windows decay than you can with Adria, but if you think she deserves to be threatened with rape and death just for being a tad oversensitive, you ought to know that people like you often eventually find out what it's like to be on the receiving end of restraining orders. Then you'll get a chance to tell the judge that you were just kidding and that you really don't have the nerve to rape or murder anybody.
And that's likely the truth.
Another revolting facet of the story is that SendGrid was moved to fire Adria because they were threatened by Anonymous, the hacker group that destroys the computer networks of people and companies they don't like. Possibly they've attacked companies I don't like, but I don't like hackers anyway. Electronic vandals are what they are, putting cyberpoop in bags, lighting them on fire, ringing doorbells and running away. That's not brave, either.
But the whole cycle of trembling and ass-covering was begun by Adria herself, who shouldn't have taken a sneaky little pic and Tweeted it. She should have just turned to the Dongle-eers and said "Would you clowns shut up? I'm trying to play Angry Birds."
But she didn't have that kind of fortitude. As didn't anyone else in the bunch. And when you don't have any cajones, you know what you are.
Just a dongle.
Some of the refugee cosmetics
I was sitting in the upstairs office in my Significant Other's home yesterday, wondering how to fill a blank computer screen when my favorite PhD dragged herself out of bed and stumbled down the stairs.
"Oh," she said as she reached the bottom, "it's raining."
"No it's not," I replied. "I just took the dog out, and it's dry." There was a pause, and then in a voice stricken with panic, she shouted "RICHARD! IT'S NOT RAINING!"
I hardly thought that was anything to be bellowing about. Here in southern California, we often go for long periods of time without rain. Regularly it does not rain from April to October and some years we supplement that lack of precipitation by having extravagant droughts, during which we are forbidden to wash our cars or even our dogs by the Water Police. Screeching in naked fear every time rain fails to fall from our sunny skies would be a nearly full time occupation. A downtown schizophrenic might have that kind of time on his hands, but my S.O. does not.
I nonetheless immediately knew, by timbre of her voice, that my day was about to be rescheduled. It developed that the only significant precipitation in the area was under the vanity in her powder room, where one of the valves underneath her sink had randomly malfunctioned, spraying water over everything in the cabinet and threatening to flood the hall and beyond. The pitter-patter of the water squirting from the broken valve really did sound like rain falling on the roof. It was the hot water valve, so it was a warm rain, about a hundred fifteen degrees.
After shutting off the water, my next step was to remove all the drenched sundries from the vanity so I could access the piping. Like any unimaginative person, the stuff underneath my sink mostly consists of stuff that doesn't belong on top of the sink, like packs of toilet paper and bottles of Drano. For her, however, the space beneath the vanity functions as a gigantic stationary purse, crammed full of neglected toiletries. I cleared out enough curlers, clips, scrunchies, brushes, curling irons and other hair machinery to keep our entire zip code all brushed up and coiffed down for a year. They were accompanied by a solid phalanx of damp hair care products in tubes, bottles, compacts and boxes, piled in with oils, creams, foams, pastes and powders that promised some skin or dental benefit too numerous to count, along with a cheerful selection of random souvenirs from local amusement parks and what to my hurried eye appeared to be leopard skin tampons.
I found a jar marked "Daily Resurfacer." Thus I became aware of the secret of her beauty, dark as Dorian Gray's--she gets re-surfaced every day.
After piling all the salvageable goodies on the sidewalk to dry, I spent the next hours in the company of pipes and wrenches. The man who would be my brother-in-law if I was married came by to lend me some tools, waited until I was finished with them and took them back, carefully avoiding volunteering to assist me in any other way.
After barking up my knees and elbows and cutting myself only twice and Googling up a video by a helpful plumber who calls himself VideoJoe, I managed to replace the dead valve and turn the water back on, taking only about five or six hours longer than a trained professional would have, were I willing to risk getting sucked into the fiscal abyss of calling a plumber on a Saturday. I popped the cap off a beer and sat next to the pile of soggy dreck on the stoop.
Wasn't a cloud in the sky.
God particles of various denominations
The God particle was back in the news last week, as physicists announced it had definitely been discovered, as opposed to them kind of thinking it had sort of been discovered. The physicists making the announcement sounded vaguely disappointed in their discovery, saying the particle behaved like "a standard model Higgs Boson" (their term for the GP) instead of the dazzling, shape-shifting, all revealing God Particle they were hoping to find, a particle that would open the door to other universes and validate string theory.
I contacted Dr. Sigmund Boyd, the only theoretical physicist in the world who lives in a trailer park, which happens to be the one next to mine. He was happy to comment. "Yeah, reading between the lines, I'd say there was a lot of melancholy binge drinking going on at the Big Collider Bar & Grill this weekend," he said.
Why's that? Didn't these guys find what they were looking for?
"Yes, but it wasn't cool enough. They went looking for the key to the Universe and they found the key to a bus station locker. They were looking for a diamond and they found cubic zirconium. They were looking for Kate Upton and they found Snooki. They were…"
I get the picture. What did the Higgs Boson turn out to be like?
"It's just another tiny lump of stuff whirling around out there. In fact, the whole Universe seems to consist of lumps of stuff whirling around. You look at the sky through a telescope, and it just seems to be a bunch of stuff. Turns out, it is."
Some scientists must have already suspected that was going to be the case.
"Yeah, but you know us scientists. We're dreamers. The string theory guys are probably taking it pretty hard."
What is string theory, anyway?
"Instead of the Universe being just lumps of stuff, it's really clumps of string. Some string physicists even theorize everything will end when a Big Pussy appears out of an alternate universe and starts playing with the balls of string."
That's really weird.
"Hardly the weirdest theory out there. Most people aren't aware of the Ball Pit Theory of existence, which holds that the entire Universe is a ball pit at a hyper-dimensional fast-food restaurant and derives its energies from gigantic children jumping into it from outside of the space-time continuum. Or the Cow Gas Theory, which holds that the Universe was blown as a gaseous excretion from an otherworldly unguent, and we are all just molecules from that fart. "Instead of the Big Bang it was the Big Toot?"Exactly. The billions of years we are experiencing inside of our universe are mere seconds in the world of the Great Cow, and as soon as the breeze picks up in that unimaginably vast meadow, our universe will be scattered before that scented zephyr. Tough break for us, but I imagine it will come as a relief to anyone standing in the grass nearby."
I'm pretty relieved discovering the God particle won't prove that theory.
"You and me both. Turns out the GP won't prove anything. Nada, zip, zilch. We physicists are thinking of re-nick-naming it. I mean, it's a nice particle, but it's not divine. It does give everything mass, but that's about it. We could call it the Chunky Particle, or the Fat Schoolyard Bully Particle, or the Why Don't You Go on a Diet and Hit the Gym Particle, and we'd be more accurate."
Kind of a demotion for the God gluon, then?
"Oh, yeah. It's been Plutoed, all right."
The Transportation Safety Administration announced last week it will now permit small knives to be carried aboard aircraft. Only knives with small blades that do not lock in place are permissible under the new policy.
Critics of the TSA, many of whom have had tiny scissors and big bottles of shampoo abruptly confiscated by the agency in the past, howled in derision at the new policy of allowing actual small weapons on aircraft, but in a rare show of support for government rulings, the National Rifle Association stood 100% behind the change.
"The only person who can stop a bad guy with a Swiss Army knife is a good guy with a Swiss Army knife," NRA head honcho Wayne LaPierre proclaimed in a press conference. LaPierre went on to say that the NRA with be pushing legislation requiring all airline passengers to carry small, ineffective knives on every flight. "Now if some jihadi whips out a tiny blade and tries to take over an aircraft, we're not going to have a national tragedy, just a mini-knife fight at 30,000 feet. I think we would all agree that a bloody fracas resulting in a bunch of mostly non-fatal stab wounds is far superior to another 9-11."
When questioned why airline passengers would want to carry small knives at all, LaPierre grew irate. "Look, 99.9% of tiny knife owners are responsible citizens. We can trust them not to whip out their two inches of carbon steel and threaten other passengers, no matter how annoying, like the parents of incessantly crying babies or fat guys trying to cram their 400 pounds into the coach seat next to yours. Plus when you've already seen the in-flight movie and read the in-flight magazine, you can whittle or do scrimshaw until the plane lands. And if you've ever enjoyed watching a guy sitting on his porch working at his toe fungus with a penknife, you'll be glad to know that now he'll be able to put his feet up on his tray table and finish up the job while he's sitting in your row. I mean, it's probably true you're going to see more graffiti carved into airplane bathroom doors, but that's a small price to pay for the secure flying atmosphere that only free citizens armed with itt-bitty knives can provide."
When pressed on whether he might change his mind if, indeed, a stabbing in the stratosphere occurred, LaPierre doubled down. "If that occurs, the only solution is to put police officers armed with big knives, like Bowie knives or even samurai swords, aboard every flight. On smaller aircraft, where that's not economical, we tape a machete to the back of every seat, with instructions on how to use it on the safety card. I mean, the airlines expect you to figure out how to put on a damn life vest when you're about to crash—chopping a potential hijacker's fingers off is simple by comparison."
The question of whether individual airlines were prepared to implement his suggestions was shrugged off by La Pierre. "A lot of airlines have an inherent anti-deadly weapon bias," he admitted. "But others are ready to go with the flow. Southwest is already changing their ad campaign from "We Love Bags" to "We Love Knives."