Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only column concerned about jet passenger back-seat driving anxiety.Many years ago, if you recall, and to be quite frank, we don’t, there was a band – maybe Ozzy Osborne, maybe Frank Sinatra and the Pips; we don’t know – taking a jet from the U.S. to Australia. Something must have flipped in their collective brains as they crossed over the equator, and they all started harassing other passengers.Now the airlines industry – and just who are these people, anyway? – has developed a special seat in which there are receptors to detect anxiety in the rear ends of passengers. The receptors then alert flight attendants that there might be a terrorist on board in seat 23B, and the flight attendant can then alert everyone on the plane that they do not need to panic unless their oxygen masks fall from above. Then, you are to place a mask over your face before you help others.All we can think about it Staff #659, who is deathly afraid of flying. She must take 14 anacs, three Valiums, a gin and tonic and some herbal tea before she can even pick up someone from the airport. We assume this fear will translate directly into “anxiety” in the receptors of the new airline seats.We can see it now:Flight Attendant: Ma’am, you’ll have to come with me. We detect you becoming unruly and about to commit an act of air rage and/or terrorism.Staffer #659: Excuse me? I’m just nervous. I hate to fly. Can I have another gin?FA: No, you need to come with us immediately. We fear you’re going to cause a scene.#659: I am not going to cause a scene! I am not a terrorist! I do not commit acts of air rage! Not get me another %(#& gin and tonic, please!(Sounds of dragging, clawing, scuffling)FA: We now must eject you from the cabin. Here’s your luggage. In the unlikely event of a water landing, swim. Thank you for flying Paranoid Airways!#659: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!FA: Excuse me, loyal customers. We need to talk with the passenger in seat 14F. It appears he/she/ is a little anxious.14F: (whisper) It’s just … gas.FA: Yeah, right, buddy. We can tell you’re an unruly sort/terrorist/anxiety-laden passenger. In the unlikely event of a water landing …***If you find yourself in the unlikely event of a water landing, remember these rules of life:&) Life is a succession of lessons that must be lived to be understood.We here at the Mothership comprehend that one loud and clear. We’ve had so many lessons over the years, we’ve got to have as much understanding as the great Zen masters themselves. Next:5) It is of great importance to learn to laugh at ourselves. Have a laugh on us, at us, with us.?) Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn is not to be attached to the results of our actions. This is probably our favorite lesson, as it allows us, as full-blooded Americans, to blame someone else.^) You can remember it if you want by unraveling the double helix of inner knowing.Huh?Enough! We turn now to the secrecy going on in Breckenridge. Seems there’s a Homeland Security and Information Technology conference going on in the Kingdom, where a bunch of people with a lot of IQ will discuss how to keep bored college kids from changing your telephone bill from $69.25 a month to $295,582.35. Or how to keep terrorists from hacking into our nation’s collective computers and shutting down the electricity in the middle of the Super Bowl.This was all very interesting, but the first thing we thought when we heard about this conference was, “Homeland Security? We wonder if we could just wander in? Will we have to walk through a metal detector? Will we get wanded?So we headed south to the Kingdom where hundreds of people with important-looking ID tags milled about talking about such things as automation support and data encryption with broadband availability. We’ve had more objection trying to crash an electrical engineering class.We poked around at the registration desk, picked up a few pamphlets, munched on a few pieces of cheese, took a seat in the VIP section (these people got tables) and snickered to ourselves that we had snuck into a federal meeting of sorts without a single person asking r) where our name tag was, T) if they could help us, #) where the bathrooms were, or 0) if the Rockies will win the pennant.All the while we thought, what if we were a potential terrorist? With a bomb? The nice people at the check-in just let us walk on by – like we were ordinary citizens instead of nosy Summit Up’ers. We didn’t even have to put our car keys and numchuks in a little plastic tray or have our purse/wallet x-rayed at the snack table!We didn’t understand much of what these folks were discussing, but instead found it way too funny that, at a computer-oriented meeting about federal secrets, no one could get the PowerPoint to work.We laugh. We laugh at ourselves. It’s a good rule by which to live.
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