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The Thing I do on This Day

Tonight, all over America, young men and women are taking their first legal drink. They were born into a very different world than their predecessors, even of a single day. 21 years ago yesterday your parents could meet your flight at the gate, or rush around at the last minute instead of driving you to the airport. You could arrive at the airport 5 minutes before the plane was to leave and it wasn’t a problem, except for your nerves. You could carry a knife on a plane. You weren’t really supposed to, but if the scanner went off and the plane was about to leave they just waved you through. At least they did me. I carried a set of knives and a wicked set of scissors all over this land. I’ve sold maybe 10 sets of those scissors on flights back and forth between Chicago and Indianapolis. I’ve killed exactly 0 people and hijacked exactly 0 planes. A child could fly alone or even get stranded in an airport and no one really worried.

The government reaction to 9/11 was as predictable as it was misguided. Take freedom from everyone because a small group of people did something horrible. When viewed from a pure cost standpoint it was a clear victory for the terrorists. Property damage in the billions. New bureaucracies created with well over a quarter million employees, who will be paid forever, or until we run out of money. No more seeing loved ones off at the gate. Constant reminders of our vulnerability. Heaven forbid you bring a pint of Jack Daniels to deal with all the BS. Even if you somehow get it in, you’re forbidden to drink it on the plane. You can have all the $7-$12 cocktails you can afford, if the stewardesses hall monitors flight attendants will consent to sell it to you, but you want to get numb on the cheap? Nope, that makes you a danger to yourself and others.

We actually had a color coded ‘threat level’ indicator. It was rainbow colored, with green and blue reversed. I believe the public ridiculed it to death, so they ‘fixed’ it. Now it’s the National Terrorism Advisory System. What do they do? No idea, but man I feel safe.

We’ve learned to hate an entire religion based on the actions of a few. I do not read Arabic. The English translations of their holy book are pretty damning, but then again, so are the translations of the Jewish/Christian book. More importantly, we’ve fed their hatred as well. Things will continue to get worse instead of better if we give these beliefs air. But how do they, how do we, not give them air any longer? I don’t have an answer. One answer might be for me to not get maudlin every anniversary of 9/11. But I can’t seem to help myself. I think about what I’ve lost. Not what all the people who lost family lost. Not what the first responders gave up. Not even the discrimination and repetitional hell every Muslim has to go through now. How selfish. But it’s what happens. I just want to kiss my loved ones goodbye at the gate, get on a plane, pour myself and my seat mate a generous glass of whisky, and sell them a pair of scissors, like in the good old days. And if someone tries to rush the cockpit flight deck, they better be prepared to get my CutCo Super Shears firmly inserted between their shoulder blades, or even better, up through the base of their skull, just like we learned in zoology lab at my high school.

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