A Brief Tale

“Welcome to Au Natural Nationwide Airlines. We here at ANNA are dedicated to making your flying experience as comfortable as possible and realize that some of you may be nervous about this new way of flying. Let us reassure you that we will do everything possible to respect the privacy needs of each passenger while, at the same time, insuring the safety of the entire flight. As you proceed to the boarding area, please avoid crowding each other, for obvious reasons, and look straight ahead at all times. Our flight crew are dedicated professionals who will see to your every need and, for your added comfort, each crew member will be outfitted with an appropriate loin cloth.”

Of course, it had to come to that. After the infamous attempted shoe bombing event, going barefoot through the security procedures became de rigueur. It soon became obvious that this was not enough, as unapproved liquids also became suspect and were, for the most part banned. The next security enhancement was the scanner which could see through clothing, allowing discreet security personnel the privilege, essentially, of seeing you naked. While no prude, there is something disturbing about that; allowing some Peeping Tom the legalized privilege to see you in the virtual altogether seems perverted, somehow. The assurance that the image will be expunged from the system is less than reassuring as one can imagine a data base of some of the more interesting profiles being kept somewhere. Face it, some entrepreneurial inspector or another will figure out how to use the system to his, or her, advantage and stash the images away somewhere for viewing at late night parties. A few might even make You Tube, offered under the subĀ­heading of hot profiles.

Getting back to ANNA. You might be wondering how this innovation came about. Foiled in their efforts to use shoe bombs or to carry the makings of a bomb on board an aircraft, the terrorists, crafty fellows that they are, learned how to spin plastic explosives into thread and weave it into cloth to make undergarments. A pair of men’s briefs or an ample bra packed enough explosive to bring down the average airliner. Extensive pre-attack testing by terrorist volunteers also indicated that the undergarments did not show a profile any different from normal underwear under the scanners. It, like normal underwear, was invisible under the watchful eyes of the machine.

A slight snag was hit with trying to figure out a way to detonate the material. Wires and metal connectors would be readily visible under the scanner’s scrutiny and lighting a fuse would be out of the question. Other passengers just might wonder why someone was trying to ignite his or her underwear. The problem, eventually was overcome when it was realized that the metal hooks on bras made excellent metal connectors for bombs. Tests of the new bra bombs were impressive. Not wanting to limit their options, terrorists continued their efforts to make an undetectable connection for men’s briefs and finally discovered that they could be successfully hidden in the crotch of the garment. Exploding underwear became part of the terrorist’s arsenal.

It seemed a foolproof plan. The whole scheme, however, was undone by a vigilant bomb sniffing dog who happened to be in the security area of a major airport when a terrorist,

clad in exploding briefs, was standing in line nearby. The dog, by the way, is immortalized in the Dog a Day project which can be found at www.dogadayproject.com. Catching the scent of explosives (the spinning and weaving technique did nothing to eliminate that scent), the dog immediately went over to the man and rather insistently shoved his nose into the man’s crotch. This caught everyone’s attention as the dog continued to insist that explosives were present. There was nothing for it but to pull the man aside; the presence of explosives was confirmed by the security crew. At first, they didnt understand the where of the explosives and were certain that the man had been working with explosives, but did not have any with him. During a strip search and the dog’s attention immediately went to the tighty whities. Well, the rest is history.

The subsequent security checks at the airports became even more onerous with passengers having to arrive upwards of 3 hours before their flight. The whole air travel system threatened to buckle under the new security constraints and passengers were beginning to feel personally violated by the procedure. Tempers on both sides were obviously short and passengers found themselves being pulled out of line for even closer scrutiny if they murmured even the slightest complaint.

It was then that ANNA was born. Banking on the notion that a sizeable percentage of the traveling population would willingly travel nude to cut down on the security procedures, they began their advertising campaign. The interiors of tastefully decorated planes accompanied various voiceovers as passengers were assured of cleanliness concerns (the plush paper seat coverings would be changed at the end of each flight, etc). To further protect passengers’ modesty, each traveler was given a large paper napkin to place on their laps while seated. It was decided to leave some matters to passenger discretion, matters such as exiting from a window seat to use the toilet and segregating themselves as to gender, for example. I am told that passengers have settled on various protocols for the experience. These can be viewed on-line at various sites; www.buffingthebuff.com being one of the more informative.

Well, it is about time for me to leave for the airport. I just have to check a couple of things on line.

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