30 September 2007

Baggage Handlers

by Phil Johnson

o our flight from Minneapolis was delayed two hours, giving us an additional 4-hour layover in Salt Lake City.



I'm sitting here checking e-mail and drinking a root beer, and I looked up at an arriving flight just in time to see the baggage handlers showing up to unload a plane. I've never actually watched what these guys do.

The first bags off, I presume, were marked for priority handling, because the guy who climbed into the belly of the plane took only about nine bags off, put them on a long conveyor belt with wheels, drove it 25 yards or so, and then started to take the bags off the conveyor belt to put them on a cart.

He must've noticed some mislabeled bags on the belt, because he selected five bags (out of the nine) that evidently didn't belong in the cart, and heaved them back toward the middle of the tarmac.

These were big bags, obviously packed heavy. But baggage handlers are strong guys, so the luggage went at least 20 feet in the air and then scooted another 5-6 feet on the concrete tarmac. It was an impressive feat, but it made me cringe. No matter how carefully those bags were packed, I guarantee no bottle of shampoo survived the impact.

When I noticed he was handling every piece of luggage roughly, I elbowed Darlene, who was sitting next to me. When she saw what the guy was doing, she gasped and handed me the camera.



He drove the conveyer back to the plane, and two or more other baggage handlers climbed on the conveyor and began sorting luggage onto two carts. Every bag that came off the plane got thrown at least twelve feet, and some of them, such as the purple bag in the picture to the right, missed their intended destination and ended up on the tarmac.

As I said, these are strong guys, and they were obviously throwing the bags mainly for sport. They were putting as much arc on each throw as possible. They were actually exerting more energy than if they had handled the bags more gently.

And they were not saving any time. Witness the mess that had to be sorted out and picked up at the end of the process.

I've always wondered why my bags get so beat up when I fly. Now I know.

This is also why you should never put your laptop or anything breakable in your checked baggage.

Phil's signature

45 comments:

The Doulos said...

Reminds me of the old Samsonite commercial on TV where they put one of their suitcases in a cage with a large gorilla. These days, the gorillas are the guys putting the bags on & off the planes.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Isn't this exactly how TeamPyro handles drive-by EC commentary?

I mean, you're strong guys manhandling such nonsense for sport. And what a mess to be sorted out at the end of the process.

Do not pack any breakable theology when posting here.

steve said...

Do not pack any breakable theology when posting here.

That's an apropos way to describe EC theology: "breakable theology."

All the more reason to stick with unbreakable theology.

CraigS said...

I'm surprised you were allowed to photograph the plane like that - authorities are pretty suspicious of such activity these days...

Mike said...

I can second this kind of activity. I saw some while on layover at O'Hare International Airport. They obviously do not care about your bags, and sadly, they probably don't care about your theology. God will judge their improper treatment of a believer's bag (either on them or on Christ).

Mataikhan said...

A few years back, I flew from Tashkent to Istanbul to New York to Los Angeles to Fresno. I opened and inspected my luggage at JFK, cleared security, and rechecked my bags for my flight to LAX.

Somehow, the contents of my bags made it fine through Tashkent and Istanbul, all the way to New York, but somewhere between New York and Fresno, my bags got opened, searched and crammed shut again, and several items within were broken.

To their credit, I filed a complaint with the Homeland Security Department, and they mailed me a check for the damages.

Last time I checked, however, there are no reimbursements for broken theology.

northWord said...

I've watched this same scenario just as you describe many years ago, and thankfully so.

..Who hath ears to hear...

God often has a way of showing us things that ultimately have protected us from something, from broken shampoo bottles to broken spirits, (hey, its all relatively relative, heheh ;)

It was really wonderfull meeting you and Darlene at the Conference :)

centuri0n said...

Yeah? Where's the Gospel in that?!

DJP said...

The Good News is that God doesn't just pick up our souls and throw them onto the tarmac?

Just trying to help.

Everyday Mommy said...

And, you sent this to the airline on which you flew, right?

Tyler said...

OH I GET IT! The Po-motivatiors are supposed sound like "po-mo," as in "post-modern!"

centuri0n said...

For those who are more concerned with why Phil was in Minneapolis than how his bags were handled, go listen to the conference sessions.

centuri0n said...

Tyler:

If this were my blog, I'd clown you.

steve said...

Thanks, Frank, for that link.

Daniel said...

Pfft Phil! Your Cartesian understanding of bag-handling ... oh, I just can't say it with a straight face... ;-P

threegirldad said...

Thanks for the conference link. I was wondering when/if something of substance was going to show up in this post.

[ducking, running, and grinning]

Oh, and this is just one reason why I try every way possible to avoid checking luggage. Most times, I can make do with something that will fit in an overhead bin. If it won't fit, I check it in at the gate, not at a ticket counter. Might see if that is feasible next time. You'll avoid most of the baggage mistreatment, and you won't have to stand around waiting at a carousel after you land...

John Haller said...

Is there any truth to the rumor that he was in Minneapolis to candidate at Solomon's Porch?

centuri0n said...

Haller:

It was like those medieval anti-Pope elections where they made somebody else Pope but the first guy anathematized the second guy. There will be Emergent Jesuits swarming into the twin cities any day now ...

centuri0n said...

Daniel --

I'm just glad my sidekicks are still in the enclave.

aussy said...

Come on guys! Don't you think you are being a little hard on the handlers? You don't know them and from what I can tell, your judging is based solely on outward appearance and actions. Not very Christian! After all, they could (and very well may be) excerising the demons within the luggage. OR, they are simply demonstrating how they feel about their own "excess baggage".

John Haller said...

Frank:

I'll be in S. California this week and may be able to so some intel. If that goatee has become a soul patch, we'll have our answer.

DJP said...

...they could (and very well may be) excerising the demons within the luggage

You think luggage-demons tend to be flabby?

aussy said...

Due to the distance, It would appear the exorcism "tossing style" demonstrates a lightweight demon within the luggage.

Note: the "excess baggage" was not a physical reference.

Kim said...

I don't know how our luggage was handled on the tarmac, but last year when we were returning home from California, the luggage security guys at LAX wanted to go through our luggage, so who were we to argue, right?

There was a very nice greet sweatshirt in Buggy's bad that never made it home,and I'm wondering who at LAX is wearing it.

Mike Riccardi said...

As a fellow stickler for language and spelling, as well as having recently had seemingly fruitless cessationist-continuationist discussions, I laughed out loud about the flabby luggage demons, Dan.

Randy said...

Maybe we should give the baggage handlers a break. I mean, this is just a guess, but the MSP airport has been under construction since I was born, 26 years ago.

But then again, it could just be for sport.

northWord said...

"Yeah? Where's the Gospel in that?!"

sorry, Frank, I wasn't even attempting a gospel presentation there (obviously?) - whatever it was I was saying was lame I know. My 'realness' (read: not-as-well-read and sometimes-naive-to-the-room and maybe-I-shoulda-just-not-commented-comments) often don't go over well in here, but it's all good, God is all I care to impress.

And to further add to the truth in what_ ducksrunningandgrinning_ said:
I would wish everyone to go and take full advantage of the conference video/audio the Desiring God people so generously made available.

aussy said...

That hert!

Phil Johnson said...

Nothword:

I think Frank was referring to my post, not your comment. It helps to understand Frank's comments if you bear in mind that he's almost always facetious. If he doesn't threaten to clown you, you can usually figure he's just being droll.

It was good to meet you and your son and his wife, too. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.

Incidentally, though we missed our SLC connection and got home 5 hours late, our bags all made it with nothing broken.

northWord said...

ah well, apologies to all.

I'm a little thin skinned sometimes....(and sight-challenged)
-anyway, Thanks for the clarification :)

and I'm so sorry your trip home was delayed, even in my comparibly limited experience with flying, something going wrong is usualy the rule, not the exception.
Which brings to mind another lame sermon illustration:
Throw all expections to the wind and you'll never be dissapointed.

northWord said...

yoinks... comparably


incidently - the above "that hert" comment left here by aussy may (or may not) have referred to a "removed by author" post that was, for a time, just above aussy's.
just to clarify.

centuri0n said...

Northword:

Wow. I apologize -- for 2 reasons:

[1] This proves how little I actually read the comment thread. I'm so self-involved that I didn't even bother to read the comments before tossing a soft tomato at Phil. I didn't even notice your comment.

[2] I came across like the stereotype of me rather than the actual me, and the actual me is ashamed.

I'm tempted to delete all the comments and revise my own statement for future reference, but I think saying I'm sorry makes a better witness.

Please accept my apology -- I'll be more particular in criticizing Phil in the future.

Gummby said...

I came across like the stereotype of me rather than the actual me, and the actual me is ashamed.

The Cartesian pre-understanding strikes again! And you could clown me, but my son has already done a fine job, thank you very much.

Dr Bill said...

Kim said:
There was a very nice greet sweatshirt in Buggy's bad that never made it home,and I'm wondering who at LAX is wearing it.


Sorry Kim, one word:


Ebay
!

northWord said...

heheh.......I'm really getting a kick out of the title... Baggage Handlers.....

No problem at all Frank, forgive my neurosis. Having "read you" for quite awhile around here I should have known better (!)

and Thank you,
but please don't go changin too much.
:)

Johnny Dialectic said...

"I came across like the stereotype of me rather than the actual me."

Is there a decoder ring available?

centuri0n said...

Johnny:

You just need headphones. I'm like a King Crimson album.

Isaac said...

along the same lones as Tyler I only just worked out the other day that "emergent-see" sounds like "emergency"...

How dopey am I?


....


Don't answer that.

BugBlaster said...

I really miss that sweatshirt. There was no reason for the handlers to steal it. If I could remember what airline we were flying I'd name their name.

one busy mom said...

Ah-ha.....so that's what really happens to our luggage!!!

Now to vear off topic (ok - delete this post if this is too much of a stretch......but maybe if we could say the luggage was being annihilated........:-O )

The "question" of whether or not hell is eternal (annihilism?) is now an issue in our church. (Silly me - I never even knew this was a question!) My handling of this will be about as graceful as those baggage handlers unless I get a little help! I've searched the web in vain, and was hoping some of you Biblically accurate theologians could provide me with a link or Book Title,.... where someone has Biblically dealt with this issue and its implications.

Many, many thanks....and I'll try to be good and not stray off subject again!!!!

steve said...

One Busy Mom:

One recommendation is John Blanchard's book Whatever Happened to Hell? It was originally published by Evangelical Press in United Kingdom, and I believe Crossway Books picked it up some years ago and released a stateside edition. It's a hefty book, but it deals with the annihilationism issue.

An excellent passage to point people to is Matthew 25:46. The same Greek word is used for both everlasting punishment and eternal life. If the very same word used to describe eternal life is also used to describe eternal punishment, then the wicked are not annihilated--their existence continues on just as does the existence of believers in heaven. Revelation 20:10 is additional support for the idea that the punishment itself is everlasting, and not just the smoke and flames, as some say.

Steve said...

I just returned from a trip for work, which requires me to carry camera equipment and a long, padded tripod/light kit bag. The client asked me to bring a hard-hat to the shoot, which I conveniently cupped over the top of the tripod plate (extra protection for the plate). When I returned from the trip, I opened the tripod bag, and wouldn't ya know- my hard hat was severely cracked, obviously from a very hard impact. I'm glad it was in there, or my expensive tripod plate would likely have been broken. I think these gorilla's intentionally try to break the contents of our luggage!

one busy mom said...

Steve,

Thanks so much!!

I'll try to find the book. Also Matt 25:46 is great - especially since part of the arguement was based on the meaning of certain Greek words and the speaker's belief in an "influence of Greek thought" on the writers of Scripture.

Caleb Kolstad said...

Great post! We just got back from DC. We visited Sam and Ellen Stanton. Take care.

Caleb

brentjthomas said...

Baggage must have been handled more safely in the Old Testament times, in the time of Saul, for instance.
"So they inquired again of the Lord,"Is there a man still to come?" and the Lord said,"Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage." 1 Samuel 10:22