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Doug Clark: Upcoming vacation is giving me high anxiety

My nights have been filled with sleepless dread over our upcoming trip to meet the kids at Disneyland.

I love my kids. I want to see them, sure.

And Disneyland?

Heck, that’s still the happiest place on Earth, thanks to the absolutely spectacular corn dogs they sell there. The rides are pretty good, too.

Gives me something to do between corn dogs.

Anyway, my anxiety comes from the deep-seated fear and loathing that I have for airports and airplanes.

Painful delays. Unsuitable air. Lack of legroom …

And that’s just the airplane commode.

I’m not joking. I’m still pretty unnerved from the last time I heeded the call in one of those cramped torture chambers.

Tossed by a sudden burst of turbulence, I wound up cracking my skull on the crapper’s low-flung ceiling.

And for the record, said turbulence was going on OUTSIDE the plane.

Speaking of which, just getting through the airport and into the plane can be damned awful, too.

Fortunately for me, misery really does love company. That’s why I am holding a contest that will award cool prizes for your best Flight-Fright Stories.

Just send me your tales from the unfriendly skies via the contact information below.

The winners I select for a future airing will all receive a free DVD of “Airplane,” which is still the gold-standard documentary on the flight industry.

Plus, each winner will also get a rare bootleg copy of “Singin’ the News.” The CD includes all 14 of the parody songs I recorded about life here in the Ingrown Empire.

But getting back to aviation aggravation …

In light of recent TSA revelations, it’s a wonder why more people don’t turn to safer modes of travel.

Hitchhiking Interstate 90 at midnight, say.

My own flight fright was renewed last month when I heard that some ex-Transportation Security Administration screener was claiming that it was common TSA behavior to make fun of the naked images of the saggy, out-of-shape humans that showed up on the security monitors.

Hey, I resemble that remark.

And here I thought that patting fliers in all the wrong places was the worst the TSA could do.

The Politico column claimed that TSA agents even developed their own secret lingo for hot babes (“Fanny Pack, Lane 2”) and overly serious TSA employees (“White Shirts.”)

Hmm. I wonder if “Warthog in the Box” is a code.

I thought I heard someone yell that a few years ago, when I stood in one of those first screening machines.

It was probably my imagination.

The TSA has denied the above accusations, saying they are either fibs or based on ancient history.

I’m sure they’re right.

Who’d ever suspect a federal agency of abusing its power?

But another story that was going around the Internet on Monday did make me wonder.

In short, an unnamed blog post on claimed that a TSA agent had embarrassed a cancer patient by hollering out that the poor guy was wearing a diaper.

More lies, no doubt.

I do know one thing, though.

This trip to Disneyland? I’m definitely wearing new boxers.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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