from May 1, 2004
My Dublin ponderings yielded fruit.
While strolling the streets of my hometown, I happened to pass a hospital named after one saint or another. This scene brought to mind the thought of mortality, followed closely by the image of a morgue. Not being a morbid person, I did not dwell on the aforementioned thought of mortality; my attention was drawn instead to the efficiency of the design of the morgue.
When contemplating such a design, the thoughtful mind is immediately drawn toward the vaults into which the cadavers are placed soon after the last rites have been administered by the attending priest and the medical profession has pronounced the former person deceased.
At this point, I sat down on a pigeon-bespattered bench, taking care to place a copy of the Irish Times on the spot on which I planned to rest and consider the implications of morgue design for the problem of happier trans-oceanic flight.
Could, I asked myself as I sat there in the pensive though not vacant mood, the principles of morgue design be applied to the passenger jumbo jet?
Yes, was my answer.
How, I continued, could this be accomplished?
By replacing passenger seats with vaults!
These vaults could be equipped with a slender but firm mattress; a pillow; a reading light, for those who cannot or do not wish to sleep; an electronic device allowing the passenger to read the latest edition of Don Quixote Writes Again; an individual movie screen, with a menu of film selections, including contemporary fare as well as classics such as Gone With the Wind, High Noon, and Airplane!
My mind then scurried about, seeking potential problems with this brilliant idea.
What about those who suffer from claustrophobia?
This gave me pause, until I settled on the idea of providing each vault with a tape recording of a Buddhist meditation lesson.
What about the frail elderly, who are in such a medical state that they may expire before reaching their destination?
An easy solution: hook them up with the monitoring apparatus employed by licensed, responsible hospitals.
Suppose two persons, for example a married couple traveling together, wish to share the same bed?
Simple: double-wide vaults, for which a discount could be made available.
How would such an aircraft load its passengers?
Widen the aisles between the stacked vaults and furnish the plane with gurneys. Establish more stringent criteria for selecting flight attendants: hire only those who are able to hoist, say, 300 pounds from a gurney into a vault.
Wouldn’t all these measures be expensive?
Certainly. But the cost could easily be recovered by the fact that the plane could carry twice the number of passengers as in the present awkward, unpleasant arrangement.
Thus, I concluded, the idea of a vault-designed trans-oceanic carrier could be translated into a system that is efficient, passenger-friendly, and lucrative.
Immediately upon arriving back in America, I applied for a patent, which the MJTT lawyers apprise me is pending.