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Miss World to the Rescue

With a little help from air marshals, bikinis and non-stick pans

Vijay Verghese/ Editor

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I AM HAPPY TO REPORT there’s still one thing that stands between your aircraft and a potential hijacking. I don’t mean the cost of your ticket. Skyrocketing insurance and security charges have ensured that most people cannot afford to fly and are therefore totally protected against hijacking. They might get mugged, or hit by a bus, or slip and crack their head in the toilet, all of which are a higher statistical probability than hijacking.

No, I mean something even more incredible. Teflon. Yes, TEFLON. This miracle non-stick wonder has already liberated millions of men from the drudgery of football, beer, fast cars and television and frog-marched them into the kitchen and the indescribable wonder of perfectly fried eggs.

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Overnight alpha males have matured into gourmets whose repertoire now encompasses a lot more than boiled eggs and toast. Proud men everywhere are heading for the kitchen, Teflon pan in hand, where they can finally look their wives in the eye and say, “Honey, today I want you to fry me a real nice egg.”

Teflon bullets? The intention is not to tackle the hijackers (which contravenes the Geneva Convention) but to tickle them

Teflon is making headlines again. Why? Can non-stick Teflon-coated seats make it harder for would-be hijackers to sit still long enough to figure out WHAT the captain is actually saying over the intercom? Will it cause them to slip and slide into a disconsolate heap allowing passengers to have themselves photographed next to them, if only because the toilet queues are too long and photo ops are a good way to pass the time?

Nope. They’re talking about Teflon-coated bullets. Now here’s a marvel – a non-stick bullet. The intention is not to tackle hijackers aloft (which is probably contravenes the Geneva Convention) but to tickle them into submission. Teflon-coated bullets are said to shatter on impact and are therefore safe to use 9,000 metres aloft as they won’t penetrate the fuselage. Teflon bullets will be fired by specially trained air marshals who know that when the movie has reached its climax and the captain cuts in for the umpteenth time, freezing the frame yet again, it’s time to pull a gun and kick some ass.

Presumably at this point, the hijackers will fire back using similar Teflon-coated bullets. They won’t want to puncture the fuselage – at least not until they’ve made it to the toilet. The scenario seems pretty watertight to me save for one glitch. That’s a lot of bullets flying around, tickling a whole lot of people in a jovial non-stick sort of way, which will certainly bother serious passengers who are watching the movie on the big folding screen.

Many airlines have started placing air marshals secretly on flights. Still, it’s not hard to spot these heroic specimens. You must have known a few potential air marshals in school. They were usually large, muscular and about five years older than the rest of the class as teachers kept them behind year after year to hone their skills to incredible levels. Think of how much schooling they got compared to your measly few years.

Many planes have been grounded. Sitting in these, as opposed to flying in them, is totally safe

Yes, the air is a much safer place. But to go just that one step further, the US is now fingerprinting foreigners (who are called “aliens” over there), and photographing them. A small welcoming gesture like that can go a long way. Visitors are also required to take off their shoes at the airport, which is a familiar Asian custom. X-raying footwear is a neat idea. After the scan, passengers can sit down with security experts and examine fissures in the soles and other areas of wear that may have gone completely unnoticed. I would suggest that US airports include a shoeshine service to really make this a truly comprehensive executive package. On US-bound flights “congregating” is now disallowed. What this really means is, no queues for the toilet, as this constitutes riotous and dangerous assembly. Exploding bladders are okay, just not near the cockpit please.

Some planes have been grounded. Sitting in these aircraft – as opposed to flying in them – is totally safe. On occasion, fighter jets have been scrambled to provide an escort to the airport. You can’t ask any country to do much more than that.

Flicking TV channels one weekend I stumbled upon the world’s Scariest Women Contest. This show is not for the squeamish. It also airs under the name of Miss World. The extravaganza was being held in Sanya, Hainan. Earnest young ladies in bikinis and plaster-of-Paris pouts threatened to save the world and eradicate poverty every time they came within hailing distance of a microphone.

“So what would you tell your boyfriend on your first date?” “I LOVE MOTHER THERESA.” “What will you name your daughter?” “MOTHER THERESA.” These noble women can save our planet. Put a hundred women in string bikinis on the air for a non-stop Miss World and you’ll ensure every red-blooded male – with or without an AK-47 or a Teflon frying pan – will remain glued to the telly instead of running around playing with guns and other dangerous toys.

Let’s hear it for Miss World and, of course, Mother Theresa!

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