Pants of Mass Destruction


ARRGH! READERS WHO TRAVEL a lot on business are dismayed about recent revelations that Al Qaeda is focusing once again on underpants. Can’t they leave our knickers alone?

It is evident that terrorist leaders have been sitting in secret chambers in Yemen evaluating various brands of lingerie for their mass destruction potential.

terrorists chat

SYED: “Let’s ditch the Marks and Spencer white ones and switch to black satin frillies from Victoria’s Secret.”

ABDUL: “No, they’re itchy and ride up in the back and give you wedgies. Er, someone told me.”


But what an amazing story lies behind this. It is evident that a real life Ethan Hunt (the character in Mission Impossible) was given the job of flying to Yemen, infiltrating the Al Qaeda leadership and stealing the knickers.

There are various theories about how he did it.

“The guy must have convinced them that he had expertise in areas in which they were interested: underwear and explosions,” one traveler told me.

I didn’t point out the obvious, which is that ALL men are interested in underwear and explosions, if you take movie trailers as evidence.


Anyway, this brown-skinned British secret agent got himself among the plotters and then took possession of their weapon, probably using some sort of line like this: “My sagging low-rise Calvin Kleins need replacing, so I volunteer to wear the Pants of Mass Destruction (PMDs) on a flight to where our brothers can use them to destroy western civilization.”


Come to think of it, I was on one flight earlier this year two seats away from a guy who sat down and got up very very VERY carefully.

It was either a guy wearing PMDs or someone who had eaten an extra- large tin of prunes.


Digression: The last time I mentioned Al Qaeda in a talk, one of the listeners heard it as Al Kaida, which was sounds to me like a short, fat, Japanese-American salesman.

It’s probably good to think of the “Al” in Al Qaeda being short for “Alan”. Alan is one of those gentle, non-threatening names, like Tim and Mei-Mei and Fifi.

You can’t get scared of Alans. If Hitler had been called Alan or Timmy, he wouldn’t have been able to conquer his bedroom, let alone occupy Europe.


check in counter

Bad news is that we frequent travelers should expect new questions during check-in: “Are you aware of the contents of your underpants? Were all items in your underpants placed therein by yourself? Could anyone have placed anything in your underpants without your knowledge?”

Don’t laugh. Just pretend to think about it seriously for a while, and then tell the check-in girl: “I don’t think so. Would you like to check?”


But the real worry is that Pants of Mass Destruction are undetectable at security gates. The only answer is to make nudism compulsory. We’d solve the hidden bombs issue, the airlines would save on air-conditioning, and everyone would have a lot of laughs, especially when I stroll down the aisle swinging my carry-on.


Still, until that happens, the most worried traveler is one guy who did not want his name printed, since he wears special underpants for medical reasons. “They’re bound to ask me why I have bulging pants,” he said.

I told him to just take it as a compliment.