Alan Rhodes

Rollo and Me

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I was rather upset when I read that starting this month United Airlines will tighten its rules on bringing emotional support animals on airplanes. Apparently they felt things had gotten out of hand when a woman tried to board a flight in Newark with her emotional support peacock. I realize that many fakers are trying to pass off their household pets as emotional support animals, but I’m worried that these new restrictions may affect me, as I am reluctant to go anywhere without Rollo, my emotional support dingo.

I especially needed Rollo a few weeks ago on a trip to Astoria, New York, birthplace, as you probably know, of 1940s screen actress Hillary Brooke. I go to Astoria every year for the Hillary Brooke film festival. I certainly wouldn’t have missed this year, given that they were showing completely restored prints of Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, Skipalong Rosenbloom, and Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to attend?

When Rollo and I boarded our Seattle-New York flight he was wearing his emotional support vest that I bought on Amazon for $19.99, and in my pocket I carried a certificate from my online doctor, Freddie Feelgood, whose clinic is in Paraguay and whom you probably remember from his famous Necco Wafer Weight Loss Plan.

I’m certainly glad that I had Rollo with me because the flight to New York was very stressful. For openers, the grouchy woman next to me kept telling the flight attendant that my dingo was trying to eat her baby. I said that was ridiculous and the little nip on the ear was an accident because the baby moved suddenly when Rollo was just trying to nuzzle up to it, and all the woman had to do was apply a little pressure and the bleeding would stop. I was relieved when they moved her to another seat because she and her twitchy little brat were stressing me out.

There were many other stressful situations all through my journey. The woman across the aisle had two animals with her, a Jack Russell terrier and a cat. She said the cat was her emotional support animal, but it must have chronic fatigue syndrome because it sleeps most of the time, so she has the dog, who never sleeps, to keep the cat awake. The terrier spent the entire flight running in circles in the aisle and yapping, so I never got my nap.

A few seats behind me sat a potbellied guy in an NRA cap and a t-shirt that said “Build the Wall.” His emotional support parrot kept squawking “Make America great again,” annoying everybody. Finally a young fellow a few rows up had had enough. He put his emotional support python on the floor, where it slithered down the aisle and swallowed the parrot in one gulp. Rather than taking it good-naturedly, the NRA guy got pretty loud and abusive, causing me even more stress.

Later, when we hit some unexpected turbulence, a woman’s emotional support piranhas were shaken out of their bowl. They flopped around on the floor and when the flight attendant came by with the drinks cart they tried to bite her ankles. She had to shut down the beverage service, so I never got my Dr Pepper. This was very stressful, as I’m sure you can imagine.

There were so many other stressful situations on the plane. A woman’s emotional support chimpanzee started throwing its feces around the cabin, and when some of it hit a man’s emotional support Tasmanian devil it leapt over the seats and got into a fight with the chimpanzee, which was a very bloody affair. Finally the guy in the NRA hat charged up out of his seat and shot both animals. This violence was, of course, stressful, as were the afterthoughts that maybe airport security was falling down on the job.

Problems weren’t over when we landed. At the baggage carousel I passed the woman with the baby and Rollo took a frisky leap at the kid. The woman started yelling that he was attacking her baby again. I told the security guy the lady was obviously mentally unstable and Rollo was harmless. This probably would have gone down OK if Rollo hadn’t taken a playful chomp at the guy’s kneecap.

Don’t even get me started on all the stressful things that happened on the way home. Without Rollo, I don’t know how I could have done it.

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