Yes, I realize that during the past three years I have written somewhere in the neighborhood of 137 stories citing the problems associated with the county's plans to build an international airport on site of the the former Marine base at El Toro. But the way this whole Measure F thing passed so overwhelmingly startled me into taking a long, hard look at this issue. I mean, can this many people really be right? Of course not! So here are the top 18 reasons why Orange County needs a big international airport at El Toro.
1. That new airport smell.
2. So many people have worked so hard. Think about all the meetings that have been held, all the plans that have been made, all the speeches that have been delivered, all the half-baked schemes and slimy subterfuge that has been concocted and perpetrated. Hey, these people have feelings, too!
3. In the future, we'll all be going to work in flying cars. Just the other day I saw an old movie, Things to Come, in which everyone had a flying a car. It looked great. But without a big airport, where will we land? Everyone will just fly around and around until everyone runs out of fuel and then crashes. Not on my house, buddy!
4. Little Bags of Honey-Roasted Peanuts. Say what you will about most airline food, but the Little Bag of Honey-Roasted Peanuts is a perfectly executed gastronomic delight. They're tasty—sweet and salty at the same time—they come in just the right size, and they are free. And you can't get them anywhere else! Plus, they are a perfect excuse to order a stiff drink.
5. More strippers! The outskirts of airports provide the perfect zoning opportunity for strip clubs and massage parlors. Prudishness aside, these establishments contribute mightily to the local economy. Do you how much a good lap dance costs these days? Do you know how much it costs to get a woman to . . . not that I know . . . I mean . . . a friend of mine was telling me about . . . well, I'll tell you this: it's worth every cent!
6. The children.
7. Second District Supervisor Jim Silva loves the idea of an international airport at El Toro. Think about it—Silva has been on the board since 1995. He must be a smart guy to do that—after all, he's a "supervisor." That means he "supervises," right? And if he "supervises," then he must be "smart." Only a "smart" guy could "supervise." Therefore, if a "smart" guy like Silva has no problem the airport, it must be fine. QED. (Either that or it will make it more fun for him to stick out his arms and run around pretending he's one of the big airplanes.)
8. Noise schmoise—this thing will rock!
9. Without an airport, the county will become isolated. No one will come here anymore. Then the county will get lonely and become withdrawn. The county will just sulk at home, sipping from a Mason jar of whiskey and eating animal crackers, occasionally looking out the door to see if anybody's coming by. But no one will come by, and the county will sigh and remember the old days when people would come by. Then the county will get paranoid and start playing with sock puppets and talking to itself and pretending that there were lots of people visiting the county because they liked the county.
10. There's nothing else to do with the land . . . and don't start harping about using it for a park! What kind of message would that send to the rest of the world? Acres and acres of green grass and trees and bushes and flowers? It's been done to death. Orange County is only now getting out from under just such an agro-goofball reputation. We need the excitement, the flash, the dynamism that comes free inside every international airport—to say nothing of what goes on beneath the flight path.
11. Airports bring people together. Think of them as colossal foyers, places where people gather before they actually go somewhere. What airport visitor hasn't noticed the spirit of community that permeates one of those massive airport terminals? Everyone rushing around, glancing at their watches, bumping into people, yelling at people, drinking heavily, reading spy novels and USA Today—what describes human community better than that?
12. If Orange County lacks a big international airport, then it loses a tremendous opportunity to take part in some tense international hostage-taking by terrorists more frightening than three minutes of standup by Yakov Smirnoff. Without an airport, there's little if any chance that some airliner full of terrified tourists will sit on the El Toro runway as a couple of crazies with assault rifles and Semtex strapped to their bodies demand an end to the U.S. occupation of Fallbrook. And that means there would be hardly any chance for county executive officer Jan Mittermeier to charge in and save the day with subtle, deft mediation —or by offering herself in a hostage exchange with the hunky revolutionaries.
13. The thrill of throwing good money after bad. Think of the tens of millions of dollars that have already been spent on plans, consultants and campaigns. Think of all the environmental-impact reports that have been printed. Think of all that paper! Now, think of doing it again! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Go for broke! When you're in this deep, baby, you can't stop now!
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14. Okay, then, how about an intergalactic spaceport? It would serve rockets and spacecraft coming in from distant worlds, like . . . like . . . like the moon! Remember when people went to the moon? That was cool. I wish astronauts still got to go to the moon. That's the reason I stopped wanting to be an astronaut. You can't go to the moon, anymore. I miss the 20th century. Sometimes at night, I lay in bed pretending there's a big rocket ship blasting over my house, even though I know it's just a plane.
15. Lotsa jobs. Everyone knows that airports create all kinds of exciting jobs: baggage-cart retrieval, baggage handling, fast-food concessions, wheel-chair guiding, trash pickup and luggage tagging. The fat lady in the stretch pants who drives the golf cart with its delicately balanced burden of people too fat to walk. And we're not even talking about the job where that guy with the two flashlights guides the planes around the terminal. So many jobs. So many low-skill jobs, which, of course, is just what we need. Orange County already has plenty of high-skill, high-paying jobs. It's about time we got back to the basics of mind-numbing, back-breaking labor.
17. George Argyros needs a break. He gets pushed around, criticized, even bashed a lot, but that guy has really had a tough life. Nothing ever goes his way. This airport is his way of finally making it big.