It is hard to imagine, I know, that in this enlightened age, anyone would stoop so low as to befoul the atmosphere of an aluminum tube from which there is no easy escape. But my friends, I am here to tell you that it happens. Oh yes, it happens. So what are you, the intrepid air traveler who knows that Skype can’t replace every face-to-face meeting, to do?
Realize that this is a war and go on the offensive, that’s what.
By going on the offensive, I mean identify the offensive people early. Sniff around in the security line. Remember the physical makeup and dress of likely flatulence technicians. In the gate area, move stealthily among your fellow passengers. Watch what they’re eating. Be smart. Be aggressive. Step right up to the fellow with the extra helping of black beans mounded into a rampart of digestive TNT in the Styrofoam to-go container. Demand to see his boarding pass. If he’s near you, move at least 10 rows away.
And by move, I mean — I want you all to brace yourselves now — consider taking a middle seat.
Courage! Get hold of yourselves! I’m talking war here. And war, like the middle seat, is hell.
Trust no one. It may be that even the air marshal stopped at his Mom’s for stuffed cabbage on the way to the airport. Yes, he is supposed to protect us, but he is only human. With a human digestive tract. Take a moment to compose yourselves.
Once on the plane, you are at the olfactory mercy of whatever horse’s asses with human asses may be sitting around you. People — and I use the term loosely — whose psychic makeup has been so marred by mall culture, Jersey Shore, and snack foods as to strip away their compassion. Somewhere over Wichita, they will get you. On purpose.
So I’m going to tell you what to do, because you have only one option. You must fight the savage by becoming him, if only temporarily.
You must fight back.
Yes, horrible as it sounds, you must lock and load, and then unload. Set aside compassion. It’s him or you. Work up a good one, let the pressure build, a brutal salvo that feels like it will be hot on the way out, and then….
Think of Queen and country, and open those bomb bay doors.
If you have done your job — and I know you will, because you have been trained — your retaliatory strike will shut him up, so to speak, once and for all. As soon as you come to, read your Kindle with a self-satisfied grin, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You’ll be landing soon, with clean air in your nostrils.