Ode to Dramamine
Stanley White has problems, and United Airlines has the solution. Stanley is the cartoon character featured in the ad I just got in the mail from United. He’s freakishly tall, Stan is, and this fact is celebrated throughout this brochure – no kidding – in rhyme:This is a boy called Stanley WhiteWhose legs gave him fantastic height.As a child, a stroller rideSaw his feet drag alongside.And there’s Stan, the cartoon, less than a year old and already about 7 feet tall. The poem follows Stanley through school and into adulthood, where he is stuffed like a circus clown into his car:He’s so cramped he barely seesThe road ahead between his knees.Lucky for Stan, for an extra $299 a year, he can fly in United’s Economy Plus section, with 5 extra inches of legroom. And lucky for me, I can get in on this action, too. And if I sign up now, I get 5,000 bonus miles!At 6-foot-4, I find the idea of extra legroom is quite appealing. But paying for it isn’t. I feel moved to communicate this to United, in a way that they can understand.Dear United Airlines,I feel a bit like Stanley WhiteThe guy in your cartoonIf I stood straight I’d hit my headOn the doorway to my roomTrue, legroom is a big concernOn planes I’ve hardly anyBetween my knees and the seat in frontYou couldn’t squeeze a penny.Not to be a whinerA fusser and a fretterI guess flying still beats driving(Though the road trip snacks are better)So when I fly UnitedI find it works out bestTo medicate quite heavilyAnd have a nice long restThe obvious won’t work for meNo tiny bottles of boozeNo tokes out in the parking lotNo magazine to peruseDon’t get me wrong, I love my drugsMy alcohol and weedHallucinogens and opiatesBut these aren’t what I needThe friendly skies require a drugSpecific to the matterOne that brings on stuporBut won’t fill up my bladderFor when I’m in a window seatAnd Nature comes to callI must climb over neighbors’ legsA total drag for allAnd then there is the airsicknessWhich hits me like a punchThat Rocky Mountain turbulenceCan make me lose my lunchSo I dose up on DramamineMy airline drug of choiceIt causes extreme drowsinessWhich makes my brain rejoiceAs with any drug you takeIt’s all about the timingYou want to just be peakingWhile into your seat you’re climbingI swallow it with waterRight before the X-ray lineIt kicks in within minutesAnd I’m feeling mighty fineOther passengers grumble and huffWhile they’re wanded and disrobedBut Dramamine keeps me contentEven through the anal probeI grab a pillow and blanketAnd into my seat I meltI’m sound asleep before the talkOn how to work my beltI don’t wake up until we landAnd sometimes even laterI whispers prayers to DramamineThe ultimate sedaterSure, extra legroom would be niceAnd bonus miles are greatBut with a bloodstream full of DramamineYou could ship me in a crateIf you’re really serious’Bout increasing flight appealPump nitrous oxide through those masksAnd then we’ve got a dealMeanwhile, I’ll stick with DramamineSo cheap it’s nearly freeWhy should I pay extraJust because there’s more of me?I’m sure that when you read thisYour offer you’ll be revokingBut 300 extra bucks a year?You must be f–king joking!Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is barry@Irrelativity.com, and his very own Web page is at http://www.Irrelativity.com
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