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HUCKABY: Out of chaos comes entrepreneurial spirit

According to former cotton farmer David Hays, “There’s all kind of ways to make money. The trick is to figure out what they are.” Therein, as the fellow says, lies the rub. Some people are just better at figuring than others.

You’ve probably known some of those people. They are the folks who could fall into a barrel of cow manure and come out smelling like a rose. They are the people who continually make lemonade out of the lemons life hands them — and sell it to people who are up to their eyeballs in their own lemons.

Our entrepreneurial-minded brethren look at challenges and see opportunities — big financial opportunities — and they look at these opportunities through green-tinted glasses. You can keep your roses as far as these folks are concerned. Green is the color of money.

Take the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for instance. Sure, it’s contaminating the gulf, killing fish and birds, and doing untold damage to that delicate ecosystem. And sure, fishermen, oil-rig workers and those who depend on the hospitality industry are losing their shirts. Other people are figuring out ways to make lots and lots of money off the whole deal. It’s the American way.

Same thing with natural disasters. As soon as the first hurricane of the season hits the East Coast, there will be folks coming in right behind it selling plywood and generators at three or four times the normal price.

Well, I told you all of that to tell you this. A group of go-getters in Las Vegas have put their heads together and brought ingenuity and good old American enterprise to a whole new level. These marketing geniuses have created “Flying Pasties” for those travelers whose modesty might prevent them from enduring a full-body scan prior to their next flight.

I ain’t making this up y’all. I read about it on the Internet, so I know it’s true.

The company’s website calls its product the “most ingenious invention since sliced bread.” Now honesty compels me to admit that I think sliced bread is overrated and much prefer a warm loaf, right out of the oven — but then again, I don’t make sandwiches for two or three kids’ school lunch every morning either. But we weren’t talking about bread, we were talking about dough — the kind you come up with by selling random pieces of rubber for $20 a set.

The whole thing stems, of course, from the introduction of new airport screening devices that give airport screeners the type of X-ray vision that only Superman once had. You enter the machine and someone in another part of the airport can see right through your clothes. It’s every 14-year-old boy’s dream. They can see everything.

A growing number of people find the use of such technology quite objectionable. Many claim that it holds up the line. Some are concerned that health risks are involved, while others just don’t want to be ogled under their clothes in the name of heightened security.

Personally, I don’t care who looks at me, but I’m warning you that you’d better have a wide-angle monitor and a strong stomach because there’s a lot of me and it ain’t particularly pretty. But other folks do mind, and now those folks can fly without fear of having their modesty impugned.

All they have to do is pick up a three-piece set of the reusable devices and place them at strategic points of their body — you can use your imagination to figure out where — and they are good to go. The screener can’t see anything but a little blur over that area.

These “pasties” can be worn over clothing or securely inside one’s undergarments. If a security agent questions you, then you can just pull them out and show them what you’ve got, in a manner of speaking.

According to the company’s promotional materials, the product will “allow travelers to retain their self-dignity while respecting the importance of airport security.”

See? Win, win!

And the company’s spokesperson, Michael Luongo, warns that the scanners now used at airports are eventually coming to railroad terminals and even sports venues. How long do you think it will be before the University of Georgia decides to invest in a few full body scanners?

This prospect created quite a quandary for yours truly. I can’t decide if I want the job watching the monitor at Sanford Stadium or if I want the “Bulldog Pasties” concession. If they do become a hot item in Athens, I hope someone comes up with a disposable model. A set of those things, used every Saturday, would be meaner than a Junkyard Dawg by November.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.