Just Plane Ugly

I’ll be honest. I do not like to travel. I like being there; I don’t like getting there. As we sat in one airport waiting to board, I made the huge mistake of buying a magazine containing an article called: “Your Feel-Good Vacation.” This feature detailed all the potential woes of reaching your destination. Here were a few:

TRAVELER’S DIARRHEA:  Apparently, seven out of ten vacationers experience this, which is why aisle seats on a plane are requested more than window seats, especially on overseas flights. One infectious disease specialist is quoted as saying that “many people are de-railed by this problem.” My guess is that even more have been de-planed and de-boated. But I suppose it happens on trains, as well. This doctor suggests you take a drug called bismuth subsalicylate with you on the trip. But in a real emergency, I’d suggest just saying Pepto Bismol to the druggist in a foreign country. You might not have a great deal of time to mess with pronunciation. The doctor also suggests you do not drink tap water or eat local fruits and veggies that may be contaminated, but he obviously did not read the warning in the next paragraph.

CONSTIPATION: This is a different doctor (I know, medicine is so specialized). He says that four out of ten people suffer from this on a trip. Hold on! If seven out of ten people have the first problem and four out of ten have the second problem, that means one person has both problems. Or does that mean he doesn’t have any problem? It does mean that four out of ten people do not need an aisle seat. This guy also suggests eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Do these doctors ever talk to each other?

BLOOD CLOTS: Here’s another cheery paragraph in the article. It begins by telling readers who travel by plane to stand often and stretch—so always take an aisle seat. Sadly, most of those seats are taken by people who have you-know-what.  If you end up in the middle seat, you should be okay since the guy on the aisle won’t be there much of the time. Are you following this?

MOTION SICKNESS: Once again, an aisle seat is recommended. But, if travelling by car, sit by a window. If you drank heavily in college, you already know this.

BACK PAIN: An orthopedic surgeon says to be careful when lifting your carry-on bags into the overhead compartment.  You can hurt yourself or in some cases take out an entire family in the seats below. “To protect your back, hold your bags close to your body before lifting.” Holding your bags really close is overall some good advice, especially if you are landing or connecting in New York City.

Finally, the article includes a photo of suggested travel drugs and how they will appear if you pack them neatly into a designer bag that they are offering for $39.95.  There’s Miralax, Ricola, Dramamine, Lomotil, Benadryl and Metamucil, to name a few. The magazine warns you not to buy these in a foreign country, because they may be counterfeit, but if you have been buying health and beauty products from a dollar store your whole life, you have probably built up a pretty good tolerance.

Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@