Life As an American POW - Part 3/3
October 29, 2021
Over the last several weeks, I have been instructing you, dear reader, how to leverage the skills and techniques taught in the military to withstand wartime captivity and self-respect and apply those techniques in your day to day.
I began by showing you the tactic of finding “Little Wins” in your day to day jousting with the insults to Liberty and Freedom that we all are confronted with of late.
Part and parcel to the idea of Little Wins is a corollary idea of forgiving yourself when you are unable to find the Little Win and thus must submit to tyranny (however briefly), if only to survive for another day. We all have limits that we are willing and able to withstand. It is our duty that we keep faith with our fellow prisoner-patriots and hold ourselves accountable to be in the fight and not find fault when our patriot brothers and sisters falter; we accept that not all our battles can be won. There is no shame in losing a battle or failing to find the Little Win. The only shame is not fighting at all.
In point of fact, it is for this very reason that I have invested so much of my time and personal resources to bring BreathEasy to market. Years from now when we are all looking back on this time and comfortable in our dotage, how will I describe to the children yet to be born how I spent my time during this era while others fought for the very foundations of western civilization? How will you?
OK, enough of the heavy stuff. Let’s finish up my story of finding the Little Wins on my trip from Portland to Orlando at the end of 2019:
Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seating. As a result, and if you’ll recall, I purchased a small upgrade to my tickets to be among the first to board the aircraft. Little did I know how important this small detail would become later!
Just as in Portland, I wore my face diaper like a good little prisoner while we waited in line to board and until the time we were at our cruising altitude.
But unlike the first leg of the trip, the conditions of the second leg were a little different. You see, on the first leg of my trip, I had no leverage to resist their diaper mandates; I still had one more leg to go and if I misbehaved, I ran the risk of being denied my connecting flight in Denver. But this wasn’t true for my second (and last) leg of the trip. Their leverage over me evaporated just as we hit about 30,000 feet and the flight was (more or less) committed.
So, as I described last week, I played cat and mouse with the Sky Waitresses for most of the flight. I would pull my mask down to breathe like a normal mammal until the Overseer noticed and admonished me to wear the diaper per the regulations. Instead of loudly and overtly deny their request, I put my mask on ‘properly,’ that is, until the Sky Waitress left at which point I immediately pulled my mask back down again. Little Wins. This went on for most of the flight and to such a point that they even posted a male Sky Waitress next to my seat to “keep an eye on me.”
After the flight landed in Orlando, I did what I did on the previous flight: as soon as the main cabin door was opened, I popped out of my seat, ripped my slave muzzle from my face in full view of the Overseer by the door and walked off the plane, maskless.
But this deplaning was different. This time, as I walked up the jetway towards the gate and away from the aircraft I passed a Southwest Airlines gate agent lady with a police officer in tow behind her walking down the jetway towards the aircraft. They didn’t even notice me or my maskless face as I passed them in the tight causeway.
As I passed the two figures of ‘authoritay,’ I wondered, “Huh, I wonder if those two were for me?”
So, instead of making my way directly to baggage claim as a typical passenger, and out of pure morbid curiosity, I turned left as I exited the jetway and found a seat near a window overlooking the parked aircraft on the ramp and simply waited. If the gruesome twosome were there to collar me for some invented crime, they should be back up the ramp shortly once they realize I’d already deplaned.
No sooner had I sat down did I hear the Southwest Airlines harpy screech, “There he is!” I then quietly smiled to myself, stiffened my spine and prepared for a woefully lopsided battle of wits. “Here we go,” I thought to myself.
Now, bear in mind, I was watching the jetway for the officer and gate agent (I’ll call her Madge) in the reflection of the window, I was not facing them and when I heard Madge call out triumphantly that she had “found him” I did not turn around immediately. I simply and calmly waited for her to engage with me.
As any self-satisfied nitwit with an ounce of pretend authority would do, Madge marched over to me, yelling across the terminal and repeating,
“You! Did you just get off that flight? What is your name! Give me your name!”
Now, remember, this is an employee of the company that I was just the customer of! This was NOT the police officer following quietly behind her. This was the representative of a (allegedly) customer-serving company yelling at me at full volume in the middle of an airport demanding that I give her my name. Exactly from what well of authority was she drawing such confidence?
Turning around, I asked, “Why do you need my name?”
“Because you refused to wear a mask on your flight! They called ahead and told me that you refused to wear a mask! You have to follow ALL ORDERS of the flight crew! You didn’t and that is a felony!!” she yelled.
“I see, but why do you need my name?” I asked.
Still feeling strong in her position, she responded, “Because you didn’t wear a mask and I need to make a report!”
“But I did wear my mask,” I responded calmly. “Your information is incorrect.”
“I don’t care! Give me your name!” Madge whined, wagging her finger at me and coming misdemeanor-close to me.
We went ‘round and ‘round like this for a few minutes and, bear in mind, I hadn’t given either her or the police officer my name the whole time which only enraged this overpaid mental midget even more. How dare I not cower in fear of her authoritay?
After this continued for several minutes, I decided to change tack.
Still sitting in my seat, I looked up Madge and her wagging index finger and simply asked, “at what point am I no longer your customer?”
Madge paused for a moment and a look of utter and obvious confusion took over her red, enraged face. The cognitive dissonance running through the echo chamber of her skull was palpable. According to her Overseer training, I was supposed to either respond with righteous (and possibly violent) outrage at Southwest Airline’s infringement of my rights (thus the presence of the police officer) or submit and acquiesce like many others that are intimidated by false authority in a cheap golf shirt uniform. They never taught her how to navigate a calmly-posed question.
“What?” she stammered? “What do you mean? You’ll always be our customer! Now, give me your name!”
It was at this point that I pounced, bless her heart…
I responded, “No. I was your customer. I paid your employer for carriage from Portland to Orlando. I am now here, in Orlando. Our contracted relationship is complete and satisfied. You are nothing to me now.”
Well, you can imagine how this went over for poor old Madge. It now became evident that she was NOT going to get my name from me. And that was when it hit me: ole Madge was hounding me for my name because Southwest Airlines didn’t have it. Or, more specifically, they had no idea who the guy was that was sitting in the seat I occupied because it’s first come, first served seating. Ahhhh, the sweet, sweet irony of cut-rate airlines; hoisted on their own, cheap petard.
Once I made this connection, it became a sport to see how wound up I could get this poor woman. She had no authority to require me to answer and she had no leverage to hold over my head. And they sent this poor woman to demand information from a man who had been specifically trained to withstand questioning. Grab your popcorn…
So, of course, Madge continued her fluster and buster, I deflected her slipshod attempts to get the one piece of information I would never give up and that poor Orlando Police Officer just stood there watching the whole damn thing unfold in front of her as she wondered to herself, “I wonder if I should go back to school?”
I can tell you that poor Madge didn’t stand a chance in our interaction. I had been specifically trained to resist interrogation to include physical abuse. What possible threat could Ole Madge possibly muster? Arrest? Even being arrested doesn’t include waterboarding…I almost felt sorry for her. Almost.
Finally, after probably 10 minutes of this, even I got tired of the fun I was having and looked up at the police officer quietly standing there and simply asked, “Am I being detained?”
Roused from her daydreaming, her eyes quickly focused on me, startled and simply said, “No, not at all.”
With that, I said, “great,” and I got up and started making my way to baggage claim leaving the Madge behind, dismissed, like a dog dismisses its feces.
But Southwest Airlines wasn’t done with me just yet!
As I walked down the concourse towards the tram that would take me to baggage claim, another Southwest agent came striding up to me with another Orlando police officer in tow. The only difference this time was that they were both males. Was Southwest Airlines attempting to up the intimidation ante? This should be fun…
As the male Southwest Airlines agent (let’s call him Chad) came up to me, he forcefully asked, “What’s your name?”
All his question did was reinforce the absolute lack of any leverage they had over me. But instead of engaging Chad on his terms, I changed the script and simply replied, “Are you law enforcement?”
Ha! This really threw him off. What kind of stupid question was this? Couldn’t I see his equally cheap golf shirt uniform emblazoned with Southwest Airlines on the front?
“What?” He asked. “No, I’m not law enforcement! Now give me your name.”
Like a dog with a bone, these guys…
“I see,” I responded. I did not stop. I did not slow down. I merely continued walking and going about my business forcing all four of them to keep pace with me.
At this point, Chad pulled out the felony threat again, just as Madge did. “You have to obey all orders of the flight crew and you didn’t. That’s a felony!”
“If that’s a felony, then why am I not under arrest?” I asked.
Chad ignored the obvious logical disconnect I created for him. Instead, he continued but in a different direction by saying, “When you bought your ticket, you agreed in writing that you would wear a mask during the whole flight!” This was true. I had agreed to wear a mask when I purchased my ticket. But my response was a simple one.
“Yeah. I changed my mind.”
This REALLY threw him off. The look of logical defeat flitted across his face almost imperceptibly, but it was there nonetheless. And just as when a fiddle-playing Devil went to Georgia, Chad knew that he’d been beat.
Because I was specifically trying to NOT engage with this group of Overseers as I walked, I didn’t notice that their pace had slowed and they stopped following me until I had gotten to the tram stop. They had declared defeat and let me go about my business.
Finally alone and free from the mindless molestations of people ‘just doing their job,’ I stood there waiting for the tram replaying the whole scenario in my mind. No matter the horrendous welcome I had endured in Orlando, I was still freer than I had been a mere 12 hours earlier and, in spite of all the ‘mandates’ to the contrary, I had made use of POW training given to me so many years ago within my own country to carve out a little more hard-fought freedom for myself that none before me had thought to even attempt. With that thought and the tram’s arrival, I boarded through the sliding doors of the car and made my way to my new life in Free Florida.
Founder of the BreathEasy App, due out December 2021