Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How Very Embarrassing

As anyone that has flown recently knows, things have become very strict as regards what you can or can’t carry onto a plane, and what you can or can’t do once you’re on the plane itself. And this can lead to unfortunate situations such as occurred yesterday on American Airlines flight 1053 from Washington to Fort Worth, TX.

The flight had to make an emergency stop at Nashville, about half-way through its intended journey, because somebody on the plane got the smell of matches burning in the cabin. Concerned that a hijack or similar attack was imminent, nobody was taking any chances and down the plane came, where the FBI were waiting.

And there Mulder and Scully got to the heart of the matter. It turns out that one of the passengers had a big feed of curry, and peas, and porter, and beans, and every gassy stuff of which you can possibly conceive before getting on the plane. Once in the cabin, the inevitable happened – the poor think starting breaking wind the way that Steven Segal used to break heads in those fabulous old movies.

As we all know, botty burps come in two distinct varieties, so dissimilar that they make the Bactrian and dromedary camels seem as identical twins. The first is the loud but harmless – it’s frightfully embarrassing, of course, to sit there making a noise like someone has stuffed a bass tuba up one’s jacksie, but worse things happen at sea. In fact, if everyone enters into the fun of the thing, one can have a very jolly competition to see who can rip the loudest.

Unfortunately, just as Superman must face his evil opposite from the Bizzaro world, so the jolly, prrapppt! fart has its own evil doppelganger, known only by the acronym SBD – Silent But Deadly. Where the loud fart leaps into the spotlight, the SBD hisses quietly into the world. And hiss it must, for it will not find a welcome. The Silent-But-Deadly, you see, has travelled all the way through the intestine from the pit of the stomach itself, picking up the various odours along the way, until hissing sibilantly into the mortal realm. But once you get the appalling, who opened the sewer stench, you’ll know that someone has been chuffing on the sly, and is producing SBDs by the cubic metre.

Which is exactly what happened this poor woman on American Airlines flight 1053. Fearing the social ostracisation that would inevitably follow her discovery as the releaser of the SBDs into the limited cabin space, she took the only recourse she could – she lit match after match, desperately hoping to burn up the methane that scientists are convinced are the active ingredient in SBDs.

What she forgot, alas, is that is no longer as safe to fly as it was, and her embarrassment lead to the forced landing, and came within an inch of being responsible for a considerable spell in choky. In the end, though, the Feds thought about all the beer and tacos that’s gone over the red river with themselves and, while banned from American Airlines for about a thousand years, the anonymous passenger retains her freedom, liberty and, to some extent, her dignity. Spare a moment to think of her tonight as the pints are drawing.

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