Dear Canadian Airlines,

I flew on your airline from Edmonton to Vancouver on my birthday, March 25th, 2000. I was seated next to a man in his mid-fifties with matted hair, hideous boils on his face, neck, chest and eyelids, and a wild, wirey grey beard that at one point I saw a bee crawl out of and then back into. He was wearing cut off shorts with suspenders and I'm not sure if he realized it but the better part of one of his "hoo-hoos" was squeezing from out of the leg of his shorts. I tried not to pay any attention, which was difficult, not only because of the unnaturally large size and purple discoloration, but also with the fact that he kept striking up conversation with me, most of which I could not understand. He muttered something about going to Vancouver for an operation and, having recently been hospitilized myself for extended piles, known as "swollen turnbuckles", I showed some sympathy and wished him the best. Maybe that was my own undoing, as this led him to show me his affliction. He calmly removed his "La-di-da" from his trunks and carefully pointed out a series of fissures, nodules, burns and geek marks around his package. Then he told me that he "needed to milk it, doctors orders."He began to put pressure on it and wrestle with it in a way that I'd normally think to be self-gratification were it not for his terrible condition.

I went back to my newspaper and tried to ignore him but soon I felt hot syrup shoot across my hand and pantleg. I could not tell if it were liquid from an abcess or the unthinkable but I knew I wanted it off of me. I rang the call button for the attendant and asked for one of those hot steamy towels to wipe off with but she said that those were reserved for the first class passengers and without a first class ticket there'd be no hot, steamy towel for this birthday boy. I tried to explain, in a polite manner, that I may be covered in another man's spink-dibble or other matters, to which she responded with disgust as though I were the one that had gone to far, and she walked away.

Maybe this gentleman was just alleiviating some awful pain with good medical reason to do so. I'm no doctor nor am I Canadian. This was only my second visit to your lovely country and , who knows? This may very well be a common affliction and practice for your people and I was certainly not going to be the Ugly American by accusing some invalid of having had impure acts onto my nice sportcoat. I just think that in the future, you could give the hot, steamy towels to everybody, not just those with most capital.

Please let me know your feelings on this matter, and a belated Happy Birthday would be kind, too.


Doug Stanhope