Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jun 2002
Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Lodi News-Sentinel
Author: Charlie Hammond
Note: Charlie Hammond is an Acampo resident and a regular News- Sentinel 


The War on Drugs has been largely fruitless due to flawed tactics.

Instead of pursuing the sources of production, the Drug Enforcement 
Administration should instead attack the reasons why people turn to 
substances - like unemployment, depression, or having to spend any time in 
an airport.

Airports are designed by drugged people for drugged people. This is the 
only explanation for what goes on there, the only possible reason why 
people gladly pay $9 for a well drink while skimming a $10 copy of Fortune.

This kind of price-gouging monopoly should instigate riots, but people 
remain as docile as overfed cats in the sun. Obviously, everyone is 

The basic design and layout of most airports betrays their illicit 
activities. Take San Francisco International. Who would build a new 
international terminal with light years of open space, but no information 
kiosks or signs or places to sit? Who would build the bathrooms at the 
farthest point from the dining areas? People on drugs.

Security has gone from a joke to something so hassling I often found myself 
wishing we'd save tax money on the two guardsmen with rifles and just take 
our chances. Stupid, yes, but it made sense in line at the checkpoint.

At least Tylenol PM is off the shelf, and I wasn't carrying it in a little 
baggie in my shoe. The whole bottle was safely contained in my bloodstream.

If you happen to wander into one of those newsstands conveniently located 
everywhere but near your gate, you will find a magazine rack replete with 
the five basic types: News, sports, money, men's self- help porn and 
women's self-help porn.

These are the same basic reads you can get anywhere, but people still stare 
intently at the selection for minutes on end before settling on the one 
with the most pictures.

You have People, Entertainment Weekly and US, selflessly dedicated to 
praising those unsung heroes of America: Hollywood celebrities. These are 
popular with absentminded airport junkies because the headlines never 
change: "Robert Downey Jr. Appointed Ambassador To Columbia," "Mick Jagger 
To Wed Other Corpse," blah, blah.

Forget Time, Newsweek or US News and World Report. If you are a nervous 
flyer like me, these are the last things you want to read before boarding 
the rocket death tube.

So, like many weary male travelers, I often resorted to Maxim or one of its 
dozen copycat publications, each one falling over itself to be 
tongue-in-cheek about pushing $400 T-shirts under the auspices of bikini 

I ask my fellow Americans, how may articles can possibly be written on ab 

These magazines are known for their savvy dating advice articles, written 
by women for an added legitimacy that is lost on me. If I looked like the 
Malibu Ken dolls in the accompanying pictures, and if I was a millionaire 
playboy art collector who frequented uptown Manhattan cocktail lounges, 
then I am sure these columns on picking up models would be invaluable.

As it stands, I am lucky if I remember to chew my food and if the women I 
meet have only one husband.

Let us endeavor to create a more enjoyable airport experience. Since the 
airlines have staunchly refused to remove enough seats to make the cabin 
livable, give the stewardesses cattle prods to keep the masses moving 
quickly in the isles.

I like this idea for its thematic consistency, if nothing else.

Place a few guardsmen at the bottom of all escalators. These soldiers will 
be entrusted with the sacred duty of pistol whipping those who try 
unsuccessfully to hitch their baggage up the revolving steps, jamming up 
the line in the process.

Finally, there is the Can't Beat 'em, So Join 'em Theory. Have roving carts 
that dispense free sedatives. Everyone will pass out, miss their flights 
and go home, which is all people at airports want anyway.
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MAP posted-by: Beth