Peter Mehlman's Greatest Travel Fear
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
It may be comforting to know that the government is planning so diligently to respond to all manner of terrorist attacks. That is unless you are Peter Mehlman. Peter used to write for Seinfeld, and so when it comes to neurosis, he's in a class of his own.
Mr. PETER MEHLMAN (Contributor, Writer): International travel is on my agenda for this summer, so you should know right now if you take me hostage, you'd be making a big mistake. I don't know who you are or what you stand for, but I'm giving you fair warning. The last time I used my passport was 2002 so I'm still in a post 9/11 state of mind when it comes to leaving American soil. Frankly, I'm not that comfortable leaving Santa Monica soil, but there's plenty of justification for my paranoia. In the last two months I've heard or read several accounts of journalists, volunteer aids or tourists being abducted by people just like you. They're held for days or weeks or months. Interrogated over and over. Harrowing stories are these. And yet you should know that I find hostage situations fascinating, as long as they're not happening to me. Let me go point by point on why they cannot happen to me.
Point A. Besides my dependency on Chap Stick, I'm on both thyroid and cholesterol medications. I don't know if you can fill prescriptions in the vicinity of the room where you would tie me down to a 36 inch Zenith, but I have my doubts. The hostage stories I hear about all take place in the middle of nowhere. It may not be in the middle of nowhere to you, but to me there are maybe five places in the whole world that aren't in the middle of nowhere.
Point B. I'm a TV comedy writer without a development deal at the current time, so if you think anyone is going to pay a ransom for me, think again. Ten years ago it would have been a different story but now, well, you watch Al Jazeera I don't have to tell you about the state of comedy development.
Point C. When it comes time to forcibly make me record propaganda statement on your behalf, you won't be happy with the results. Sure, I'll cooperate, I'm one of the few people who has Stockholm syndrome before being held captive. But the thing is, I tend to ad lib. In fact, I ad libbed the last line. And we all know how much you people hate it when your captives go off message. Hopefully you are convinced that there are tons of Americans more qualified to fill your hostage taking needs than me. Of course you've seen plenty of Americans, you realize that tons of Americans ads up to about three people. Anyway, if you let me travel in peace, I'll promise to pump some free falling dollars into your free falling economy, and just go home and be out of your way. Do we have a deal?
BRAND: Comedy writer and professional paranoid, Peter Mehlman.
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