Wednesday, May 5, 2010


When I was a kid, I used to build small bombs. Sure, I called them model rockets, but really, they were explosives that never got off the ground and made a fair amount of noise. A first, I used match heads. Get a book of matches, cut off the heads with gardening shears, pack them in the aluminum tube semi-expensive cigars come in. Get a Jet-X fuse and stick that in the tube as well. Wrap it all in duct tape. Light. Run like hell.
Later, I made M-80 bombs, the purpose of which was to send trash can lids into orbit. When I was a senior in high school, I had a friend, Geoffrey, who had a thing about electricity and created a very simple time bomb with an alarm clock. At 2 a.m. on a Thursday, the door of his gym locker blew off. He was suspended for a week but proved that pretty much any fool could blow something up and not have to be there for it to happen. Geoffrey was very proud of himself and went on to a career as a pastry chef, specializing in cookie-dough volcanoes that erupt and spew chocolate lava.

All this leads me to the recent attempt by a Pakistani-born, naturalized financial consultant (get the hint? Think twice before handing over your life savings) to blow up Times Square in New York. He failed, despite having an alarm clock just like Geoffrey’s.  Before him were the Underwear Bomber—that’s a good nickname for you to carry around the rest of your life—and the Shoe Bomber. And, undoubtedly, somewhere in the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan, or in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, other idiots high on faith and low on know-how have already accidentally blown themselves up. For all we know, there was a Jockstrap Bomber, a Beret Bomber, a Davy Crockett Raccoon-Hat Bomber, and a couple of It’s-Under-My-Djellaba-Strapped-To-My-Genitals-Bombers. May Allah rest your nasty souls.

A few decades after my match head days, I worked for a UN organization and had occasion to fly Arabic airlines. I remember distinctly the first time I heard the pilot say we would soon be landing in Dubai, insh’Allah. Insh’Allah? God willing? No thanks. I had no interest in having God be my pilot or co-pilot. Just land the plane and let me off, please. Insh’Allah, I came to learn, is a phrase indicating hope for an aforementioned event to occur in the future.  The term is also used to invoke God’s  blessing for what you are about to do.

So here’s what I think.  It’s pretty obvious that in regards to the three terrorists mentioned above, Allah was not insha’ing. So all you guys in caves and cellars with bags of fertilizer and barbecue grill propane tanks you stole from your suburban neighbors, give your intentions some more thoughts. It’s highly improbable that your God is going to reward you with a houseful of young virgins just because you tried to blow up a bunch of tourists from Indiana. Really. I don’t talk to God every day, but this is a no-brainer.

So go out there and fertilize your lawn, invite folks for a cook-out. That’s a much better—and safer—use for the bomb-making stuff you’re playing with…

No comments:

Post a Comment