Newark, NJ - Traveling anywhere these days can be quite the never ending, here to there, and, hopefully, all the way back, painful experience.
All of which, of course, gets a decided, rollover-like irritation boost, of sorts, during the holidays.
And, especially if, by chance, said travel plans takes you along a sometimes, anything but unamused, international-like route. That, more often than not, typically requires the kind of overly detailed on-the-spot inspection/reflection that can't help but generally find, if not exactly uncover, numerous things of a personal nature that, to put it mildly, occasionally are better left unsaid.
Case in point, one Mr. H-B. Bah, a sort of strange but true animation art/rare comic book importer/exporter, based out of Prague (of all places, but, then again, why not?), who, through no fault of his own, has spent his entire life (42 years next June) saddled with a front and back end moniker that has been nothing but a heap of you know what out of luck trouble, more or less (accent on more) since, well, day-one, and, then some.
"If anybody's to be blamed, I suppose it would have to be my folks," said Mr. Bah, while being detained, yet again, during his most recent Christmas Eve attempt to slip semi-quietly through Newark Liberty International Airport in order to surprise his, for the most part somewhat festive, yet significantly more than just addle brained parents, Humrich and Buggabaranza Bahkovic in nearby Whippany, New Jersey.
"Since, well, it's because of them," Mr. Bah went on to explain, "Or rather, the perfect it-storm nature of their particularly peculiar names, and, traditionally insensitive, totally misguided cultural origins, that kicked this whole name deal of mine in motion, and, from there, straight to both high heaven, and the endless pit of holy moly, all about me, hell, ever since."
Apparently, due to a variety of altogether misunderstood (then) Yugoslav-tested/clueless prearranged family-approved customs, now believed to be the root cause of all whatever oddness brought together Mr. Bah's parents in the first place, when it came time to name their first (and only born) child (while they were performing twice nightly as a slightly regarded high wire aerialist team at a variety of poorly attended summertime circuses and carnivals all throughout Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and, during their unspectacular winter in-residence showcase gig in the high-ceilinged attic of a thriving bowling shoe factory in Woonsocket, Rhode Island) they were otherwise required to combine their own, supposedly given first names, to somewhat unceremoniously create his.
Therefore, and from then after, they were the proud (and, due to work related concerns, often noticeably limping) parents of one, Humrich Buggabaranza Bahkovic. All of which seemed cool enough at first, but eventually became way less than ideal, and as such, no fun at all, once he finally entered a formal, non-carny, school at the age of eleven.
At which point his handle was shortened a bit (and not just because a series of specialists had determined that the by then more than just slight youngster would most likely never grow taller than 4' 9'' - as it turned out they were wrong by 2'', as he only made it to 4' 7", but, due to his rather rambunctious fascination for weight lifting he's more than made up for whatever was vertically not to be his while in transition - but still, it sort of seems that way) to the more easily pronounced (yet still just awkward enough), Hum-Bug Bah.
"Yeah, well, what can you do?" said Mr. Bah, just prior to his second, and most important round of questioning by Homeland Security officials during his recent detainment at Newark Liberty National. "And, in my case, that would be nothing. With a side order to just learn to live with the fact that, when traveling to and from at Christmas time, there's going to be hell to pay."
Which is, more or less, Mr. Bah's never ending have to be there curse, of sorts. Especially whenever any no sense of humor customs agent is less than enamored with a check-in routine that usually goes like this.
"Name? Last name first, first name last, please."
"What are you, a smart ass?"
"No, sir. I'm Serbian. But I was born in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania."
"Oh, so then you're a dumb ass, too."
It's at this point additional security is usually notified, and quickly brought in before any nearby incoming passengers are indirectly affected by what those in charge of the situation believe to be an unnecessarily tasteless bit of nonsense that, if not held in check, might quickly make it not the best Christmas ever.
Which, of course, it never is when Mr. Bah comes to town during the holidays, and is, as usual, brought in for round after round of "Are you now, or have you ever been?" strip search oriented questioning that, more often than not, never gets to the bottom of anything.
No pun intended. But, if you're in the neighborhood, sure, go ahead, why not?
After all, rumor has it that it's still a free country.
Or, something like that.
Even when it winds up to be something like this, if not exactly more so.