Wednesday, March 3, 2021

I'm Getting No Emotional Support Up Here

Well, the emotionally supported fun is over. I have an upcoming flight on Southwest Airlines, and they sent me an email last week to remind me that as of Monday the 1st, my emotional support wolverine will no longer be welcome on the plane.

Travel notice: Starting March 1, Southwest Airlines will no longer accept emotional support animals and only dogs will be accepted as trained service animals with appropriate documentation.

Well, that’s a fine how do you do! I called customer service to ask about my alternate emotional support badger or at least my emotional support ferret, and the answers were still no. The nerve.

How am I supposed to keep the sweaty, smelly guy from sitting in the middle seat and crowding my armrest now? And what am I supposed to do with all this foaming white chicken-flavored toothpaste I used to put on their little lips to make them look rabid?

I guess the airlines have their reasons. I mean, there was the woman at Bradley International in Connecticut who was allowed to bring her eighty-pound emotional support pig onto a US Airways flight a while back. It went bad pretty quickly when the other passengers immediately started gagging from the stench of all the emotional support, and that was before the pig actually pooped in the aisle and then began screeching when the now emotionally unsupported owner tried to clean up the mess.

And the poor little emotional support animals sometimes didn’t even make it onto the plane if their paperwork wasn’t in order. There was even a tragic case where an emotional support hamster didn’t make it at all. Lacking the proper documentation outlining his emotional support cred, Pebbles the dwarf hamster was denied plane privileges at the ticket counter. His owner, a college student who obviously needed more emotional support than one tiny rodent could provide, tried for hours to find another way home. After she exhausted every single possibility, with the obvious exception of a ton of other possibilities, she flushed poor Pebbles down an airport toilet in order to be rodent-free and fully emotionally unsupported for her flight.

I would argue that if you were willing to flush the very hamster that was supposed to bring you emotional support, you didn’t need an emotional support hamster in the first place. You needed a team of emotional support human therapists.

But be hopeful for little Pebbles! As someone who has personally witnessed a large black rat go down one toilet into the sewer pipe only to pop out of another toilet moments later, I remain convinced that Pebbles probably maybe made his way through the swirling vortex and into the airport sewer system, alive and well. And maybe after an epic hamster adventure filled with twists and turns, the little guy eventually made his way up a main sewer line vent shaft and out onto the airfield, where he was probably sucked into a jet engine, or eaten by a large hawk. Either way, he went out like a hero. Godspeed, Pebbles.

But let’s forget about all the pigs, ducks, bunnies, peacocks, and doomed hamsters that led us to this moment. I believe the straw that broke the emotional support camel’s back was Daisy.

In a story that only could have happened in Florida, a flight from Orlando to Cleveland was delayed for two hours when passenger Cindy Torok refused to exit the plane after flight attendants discovered her emotional support animal was, in fact, a squirrel. All the other passengers had to get off the plane while the authorities bargained with Cindy in a classic rodent standoff situation. Thankfully, the negotiations ended peacefully after the Orlando police threatened to arrest Cindy and confiscate Daisy. Cindy was quoted as replying, “You’re not taking my squirrel. Sorry, you’re not. I refuse. You will not take my baby from me.”

As emotional support requirements go, I am assuming, based on the two-hour standoff, that Cindy is pretty high up on the list. What she failed to realize, however, is simple a fact that the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, The American Psychiatric Association, and the Future Farmers of America have all known for years: squirrels are naturally incapable of providing emotional support. They do the exact opposite. Squirrels are evil.

I once had a squirrel, in a totally unprovoked attack, chew through the wires on the two end bulbs on my string of patio bistro lights, completely removing them from each end the string. This vindictive devil rodent then placed the now destroyed and useless pigtailed sockets and bulbs ever-so-delicately on very edge of the patio cover roof so that I could see them from the ground.

No animal capable of providing even an ounce of emotional support would ever be capable of such a heinous crime against warm and charming outdoor patio lighting.

In a glaring example of her need for support on many, many levels, Cindy was oblivious to the fact that she had brought a creature of pure evil and destruction onto a plane that needed to stay in the air all the way to Ohio. If that little hell beast had gotten loose into the wiring harnesses under the cabin floor it could have easily taken down that aircraft before they had even cleared Georgia.

Thusly, and sadly, thanks to Cindy and Daisy, the emotional support animal ride is over for the rest of us.

Does anyone want to buy a pet wolverine?

See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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