If I Designed Government Committees

I wonder if anyone’s noticed that there are two websites for the US government’s Committee on Homeland Security ─ one Democrat and one Republican. Homeland Security Committee also has six subcommittees (and for anyone who’s might be interested in knowing what these do, there’s much more information about them on the Democrat site than the Republican, for some reason.)

But I don’t need to know what they do. You know why? Because, after the main committee came up with color code alerts, enforced the use of plastic baggies for liquids (in 3 oz. bottles, maximum), subjected me to fungal infections by insisting I take off my shoes, and nearly confiscating my brand-new, 45-dollar bottle of Clinique Aromatics Elixer perfume at the SFO airport, I am convinced that the subcommittees will do an equally bang-up job of allowing me to feel safer, while not actually making me any safer, whenever I fly, try to send a package overseas to or from an ‘address unregistered to the TSA’, surf suspect sites on the internet, or even board a slow boat to China.

And I also understand why there are so many people on these committees. Back scratching. Let’s face it, every President, whichever party they belong to, has a useless, incompetent someone to whom they owe a favor.

But I’m not too bothered by this since I live in hope that I, too, may someday be able to form committees that I think are vital to our nation, which would be comprised of all my friends, whose lucrative salaries would also be paid for by the American taxpayer.

Allow me, if you will, a moment to dream of what those would be:

1. The Committee Against the Defamation of Pizza

When I moved out to the west coast of the U.S., I made the horrific mistake of thinking it was safe to order a home-delivered pizza from a chain called Rip-Off Boy Pizza. But I discovered that this wasn’t ‘pizza’ – it was robbery. The delivery boy may as well have pointed a gun at me, and asked me for 25 dollars (!!??) plus tip, because when I opened that square cardboard box, all I found in it was another piece of cardboard, only this one was round. And on that round piece of cardboard was a sprinkle of imitation mozzarella cheese and a smear of tomato paste.

And so, to protect the integrity of what constitutes ‘pizza’, I would appoint a committee of first- generation, New York Italian-Americans to oversee every existing pizzeria and every application for new pizzerias in the United States. Any of those in violation of what this group would constitute as “real pizza, goddammit” would be fined and ordered to go to pizza-making cooking school run by my cousin, Domenick.

2. The Cookie Monster Commission

In response to the concern over the growing national problem of childhood obesity, rumor has it that an entourage of soulless, coldblooded vegans, headed by Pam Anderson, are attempting to hijack the Sesame Street Cookie Monster and hold him hostage until PBS agrees to rename him ‘Veggie Monster’.  And with public opinion now against him, poor CM has already been seen on The Colbert Report, perspiring and backtracking from his public pro-cookie stance, with the statement, “Cookies are only a sometimes food.”

Therefore, in an attempt to win back at least one American’s civil rights, I would form this commission to officially protect Cookie Monster’s name. If necessary, the Cookie Monster Commission would address the pros and cons of a “The Right to Eat Cookies” Amendment to the Constitution. Naturally, for the purpose of nepotism, I’d appoint my husband to be a major figurehead on this team, simply because he’s displayed the ability to scarf down more of my homemade peanut butter cookies in one sitting than all of our four sons combined. But as a “fair and balanced” counterpoint to their mom’s first official national campaign, I would allow it to be co-chaired by Sasha and Mahlia Obama.

3. The OH! Coalition

This would be a group in favor of banning reality TV fashion shows.  The reason for which is that these shows undermine the self-esteem of the out-of-work, blue-collar American who, thanks to the poverty forced upon them by unscrupulous banks, and their lack of education due to boring high school teachers and lies told to them by both  Glenn Beck and Ariana Huffington,  can only afford to shop at Walmart, IKEA, and Costco. (And even then only when there are sales.)  The Oh! Coalition’s work to ban fashion TV would prevent these Americans from every having to discover that:

a) the glassware and area rugs they buy at IKEA are made by people being unlawfully and forever detained in Turkish prisons, and/or by Pakistani children whose tiny, underfed ankles are chained to sewing machines.

b) in order to give them such cheap prices on ten pound bags of sugar and giant boxes of breakfast cereal, Costco bribes government officials to take the individually-owned land where they wish to build their warehouses by Eminent Domain, and then resell it to Costco for one dollar.

c) photographs taken by cell phones of how ridiculous these poverty-stricken Americans look while shopping at Walmart are causing internet congestion.

The first person who’d be under indictment by the Oh! Coalition would be Stacy London.  During her testimony she would be compelled to let her hair dry naturally and frizz like everyone else’s, as the Good Lord intended, and carry a $19.99 ‘lookalike designer’ handbag made only by American Union Workers.

Notes: The “OH” in ‘Oh! Coalition’ Stands for ‘Old Hippies’. By my decree, they will no longer be confined to Fairfax and Haight Street in California  And the statements listed under a, b, and c are all true facts, unfortunately. (I’m not joking there.)

4. The Cakehole Panel

This would be a committee that would re-patriot English as the official language of the United States of America. Enough of this “Spanish spoken here”, because this is America, do you hear me? However, the official English language would have to be Australian Slang English, and the panel would be chaired by Snowy’s and Dr. Peter McCarthy, who by their blog writings which use ingenious terms like, “taking the micky”, “two-can screamer”, “ankle biter” and “wankers”, have convinced me that Australians have the coolest language on earth.

5. The (You’d Better Have) Fire Insurance Group

This would be a group of loan sharks who would use “whatever means necessary”  to force former and current CEO’s and CFO’s of banks to sell their multi-million dollar personal properties during this crappy housing market which they caused.  The Fire Insurance Group will be co-chaired by Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter.

6. The Pungency Agency

In a new clause under The Disabled Americans Act, this committee would be formed so that people with severe foot odor problems would be categorized as ‘disabled’ and therefore have permission to go through special airport security lines far away from everyone else. This agency would be chaired by Jerry Stiller , and the TSA agents assigned to this special airport detail would be… why, all the former members of the Committee on Homeland Security, of course.

p.s . I can’t see comments on VOX posts due to an ongoing glitch. If you would like to respond, please visit http://patriciavolonakisdavis.wordpress.com Thank you.

A ‘Shout Out’ to Selma Williams


I didn’t blog last week because I was in New York, attending a writers’ conference, catching up with some old colleagues and meeting my new agent. All in all, I should say it was a great week. And it was…although it didn’t start out that way. And that was because I didn’t have a one-quart-sized plastic baggie when I arrived at the security check-in at San Francisco Airport.


Note to anyone who hasn’t travelled in an airplane recently: All toiletries must not only be in containers no more than THREE ounces, they should also be secured in a ONE-quart-size plastic baggie. You know, like the kind you keep your tomato and turkey sandwich in, so it doesn’t get the cookie soggy that you brought for dessert, when you’re bringing your lunch to work, in a brown paper bag. Just like poor Selma Williams did. But I’ll get to her in a minute.


I was wrong to question my president‘s new task force. Homeland Security is for sure training the security personnel at the airports, because they are one sharp group of people. They recognised that I was a potential terrorist. Okay, I admit I was able to fool them for a while. I’d taken to wearing only my newest gym socks when flying and most of the time, I remember not to double-knot my sneakers, even though I trip on the laces as I walk through airports. Because I know those sneakers are coming off and the agents at the security check-out will immediately pull anyone aside for a second look if your socks have holes in them, or if you have any trouble at getting your shoes off at the same time you have to put your laptop, cell phone, purse, carry-on and the ashes of your beloved dog, or whatever other precious cargo you’re holding and putting into those grey tubs to be scrutinised. I even go braless now when I fly. Not because I’m an exhibitionist. I just got tired of being pulled over, along with every other buxom women with to have my midsection subjected to electromagnetic waves coming from a security wand, because the under-wire in our support bras tripped off the metal detectors.


Despite my trickery, security at SFO was too clever. This time they got me. The photo I’ve posted on this page is the photo that the agents took of me at the airport, where I was trying to smuggle C-4 under my hair clip. I thought it was well-disguised, but I’d forgotten that my hair clip was metal, not plastic. It set off bells and the agents quickly pulled me aside. It was then that they discovered that my lipstick, a 3-ounce bottle of very expensive perfume and my tube of toothpaste, along with my toothbrush, were just thrown in my handbag—NO PLASTIC BAGGIE securing them. Well, what can I say? I was in a hurry. But now, I was caught. I could either surrender the items to the very young female agent (who’d recognised and commented on the brand of perfume) or I could find a plastic baggie and place the items in it. I was not about to give up that perfume. And the lipstick was my favourite, too. So, that’s where Selma Williams comes in—bless her generous heart. After a fifteen-minute futile search for a plastic baggie, (for which the security agents had marked my boarding pass, taken my purse and other valuables and released me from the security area, so I could go back into the terminal and ask airport personnel for assistance,) Selma Williams of the TSA at a booth outside the airport, took her sandwich and cookie out of her own, personal plastic baggie and handed it over to me, crumbs and all. Then she asked me for a tip. But if you recall, airport security had held my handbag, with my wallet in it.


When I explained that to Selma, she said, “That’s alright, girlfriend, I got your back.”


Promising myself I would get a tip to her on my way home, I thanked her and did as I’d been instructed. I put the offending items in Selma’s baggie and went back to the ‘special’ gate at the ‘special section’ security counter where I had been told to return, not wait on line again and go through.


But – uh, oh – the security agent who’d released me was gone from that post and an agent who’d never seen me before, was manning it. It took me less than thirty seconds to explain what had happened. With barely a glance at the scribble that the other agent had


marked on my boarding pass, this new person let me through, no questions asked, no verification by any other personnel of my story.

I’ll have to remember that next time I”m smuggling military explosives in my hair.

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