Chuck’s Corner September, 2006
I had to make a quick trip to California last week. It was the first time I’d flown since the alleged plot to use “liquid explosives” to blow up airliners resulted in a complete ban on taking anything remotely resembling a liquid through the security checkpoint at the airport. “I can’t remember the last time I checked a bag and I’m not about to start now” I thought as I fumed over the prospect of having to stand around the baggage carousel in San Francisco waiting to find out if my suitcase would arrive along with me or wind up, instead, spinning around in some airport in Argentina.
Prior to leaving on the trip, I spent many days in a vain attempt to devise some way to circumvent these new security procedures. Nothing I could think of managed to pass the “CGTJ” test. (The “CGTJ” test consists of evaluating any given endeavor and if it ends in “Chuck Going To Jail”, it fails.)
For example, the day before I left it occurred to me that it might be amusing to try to re-enact a certain soft drink commercial that had suddenly become unintentionally prescient. Wouldn’t it be funny, I thought, to walk trough the metal detector carrying a Sierra Mist while having my co-worker video tape it for laughs? It would probably be the most popular video on YouTube within an hour after being posted! Fortunately, the mental image of my co-worker laughing “Ha ha! Isn’t that funny? There goes Chuck off to jail! I can’t wait to post this on YouTube!” caused me to re-think the whole idea.
In the end, I decided to just check my bag and, yes, it did manage to arrive along with me. It even made it back in one piece.
What makes this episode particularly annoying to me is that, today, they finally realized that what they had presumed was a terrorist plot to blow up airliners with liquid explosives was really just some college kids dropping Mentos into Diet Pepsi. According to a TSA spokesman: “Oops! Our bad! It’s now OK to take your toothpaste and deodorant along with you.”
What a bunch of idiots. You know what? Sometimes I think they’re doing this stuff on purpose. It’s almost as if there’s a room full of people whose sole purpose is to think of new and inventive ways to see how much stupidity the public will stand for. Need proof? Consider the following scenario:
Bob: “I’m tired of never being able to get any overhead storage space on an airplane. I’ll bet I can get everyone to check their bags and then there would be plenty of space for my things. If only I could come up with a good ruse…how about “no liquid allowed on airplanes except in checked baggage?”
Susan: “Oh, Bob! That’s not stupid enough. I’ll bet I can get people to buy a Paris Hilton CD!”
Bob: “Wow! That really IS stupid. What do you have, George?”
George: “You two are neophytes! I’ll bet I can claim that Iraq has ties to Al Qaeda and Saddam has WMD’s and start a war. Then, if anyone figures out I was making it up I’ll say I never said that. Then I’ll claim Iran has nukes. Heh, heh, heh!”
Susan: “Brilliant! Steve, do you have any stupid ideas?”
Steve: “I’m imagining a commercial that keeps saying ‘Head on! Apply directly to the forehead! Head on! Apply directly to the forehead! Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!’...”
Susan: “OK, Steve. You win. Now stop saying that!”
Yes, it appears that someone somewhere thinks that commercials are just too darn confusing to people and they’ve decided to keep the dialog to a minimum. In a daring move that could very well make the “Head On” commercial seem scholarly in comparison, some other product’s commercial consists of little more than the words “Squeeze, rub, groom and done” repeated over and over. (I’m hoping that the manufacturers of Viagra don’t adopt a similar ad campaign strategy.)
In other stupid commercial news: Remember a few months ago when I mentioned Volkswagen’s lame commercials that always end in a car wreck and someone saying “Holy sh…”? Well, in a blatant attempt to annoy me, ComCast went and copied them. They made a commercial where some guy uses his ComCast “high speed” to do the dishes in a couple of seconds. The woman watching him then says “Holy…”
One night I was watching TV and I happened to catch BOTH of these commercials back-to-back. I fired off a couple of emails to each company. Volkswagen sent me a reply saying they are sorry I’m offended by their ads but they think they’re “hip and edgy.” (Seriously, that’s what they said.) ComCast, never replied but as I wrote this column I saw their commercial and, would you believe, they took the “Holy…” line out!?! I swear I am not making this up. I helped make at least one commercial a little less stupid. You’re welcome.
And now, I’ve got to get back to work on my Halloween decorations. Hmm, where did I put the instructions on how to use the hammer? Oh, wait, I remember…”Head on! Apply directly to the forehead!”
Feel free to send any of your stupid comments and suggestions to ChucksCorner@ComCast.net.