That Voodoo That You Do
  Moanday   8/25/97




The Usual Suspects

As if I don't have enough to do already, now I have to raise bail money.

X is going to jail. He hasn't been arrested yet, but he will be if he carries through with his plan in the next few days, which means I have very little time to raise a substantial quantity of cash. It's going to be a federal rap, after all. You see, X has a minor beef with a certain airline and he's planning to use his sense of whimsy to iron things out. He's got whimsical down pat, but I don't think the FAA does.

It seems he's accrued a number of frequent flyer miles that the airline isn't accepting because he didn't jump through the requisite hoops. They don't deny that he has the miles, but they're not going to honor them because he didn't follow the rules. Now, this airline spends millions of dollars every year creating the impression that they have a sense of humor, so he's going to appeal to it with an amusing little gag designed to make them smile and say "Okay, here's your free trip." You can see the problem, can't you? Airlines don't have a sense of humor, no matter what their commercials say.

Well, that's not entirely true. We're talking about the people who call a tiny closet a bathroom, who have ashtrays built into the seats when smoking isn't allowed, who sell reserved seats that aren't available when you arrive. So obviously they do have a sense of humor, but these are also the folks who will land hundreds of miles out of their way to arrest you for smoking in the closet or strip search you if you joke -- obviously joke -- about having a bomb in your pocket at the ticket counter. In their minds it's only funny if you're the butt of the joke. Which means that X is gonna be in trouble, I think.

He's assembled a little voodoo doll out of newspaper and shredded T-shirts that he intends to send to the corporate offices, along with an amusing note saying something to the effect of, "Hey, let's be human about this. Why don'tcha give me my free trip?" It's a totally harmless prank with no possible danger or threat to anyone, but let's keep in mind who he's dealing with. When I pointed out to him that they will probably call in the bomb squad when his shoeboxed gag gift arrives, he decided that he should probably first take it to a ticket counter and run it by one of their managers to explain how harmless it all really is. I figure they'll take one look at it and he'll do the rest of his explaining in handcuffs. Frankly, I don't think he's going to get his free trip.

On some cloudy level, I think X realizes just how brutally south this little gesture can go. He sent me and another friend the above picture of the voodoo doll, along with the following e-mail in which he lays the groundwork for his soon-needed defense:

"In case you dont get to see the real thing, here's a poor scan of the doll thats going to [deleted] airlines.

"For all of you who know whats going on, great, for those who don't this doll will be sent to [deleted] in the hopes of causing a chuckle and inspiring the powers that be to give me the 3rd ticket that at this point Ive lost due to procrastination.

"Of course its all in fun and humor and I hope this tack will appeal to their sense of it. Im going to take every precaution to try to ensure they arent threatened by this.

"Please hang on to this note until I get word back from them, just in case Ive made a horrible mistake in assuming the sense of humor they spend millions of dollars publisizing. You may be called to produce this note in my defense in court. Wouldnt THAT be a bummer."

I've posted the letter for two reasons: To illustrate for you in X's own words his intent behind this gag and, more importantly, to aid him in building the foundation for his defense. I figure he's gonna need all the help he can get.

You're probably wondering why he doesn't take the direct approach and demand that they honor his miles or he'll take his business elsewhere. It's because X has that touch of the whimsical about him. He likes doing things like this. And while I sometimes tend to admire this trait, in this case I think it's going to bite him in the ass.

I just hope his future cellmate shares that sense of whimsy or something else might well be happening to his ass...





Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins