Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Flying the unfriendly skies



"I ain't goin' nowhere, man.

I ain't goin' nowhere.

It's dangerous out there, man

Might 'a been a big bomb scare.

Hard to get off of this easy chair.

I ain't goin' nowhere."


Hank Snow started it; Rick Moranis updated it to reflect the terrorist-scary times we live in. Me, I get to live it. It's dangerous out there, man.

Canadian country artist Hank Snow stole the song from an Aussie, changed the names of the towns to ones North Americans would recognize and had a monster hit in the 1950s with I've Been Everywhere. It was an auctioneer's ode to a footloose life, hitchhiking around the continent, enjoying serial experiences, relying on the kindness of strangers. Already a bona fide country star, the song became Snow's theme and was covered by, well, everyone who sang. It captured the spirit of the moment at a time when wandering was morphing from something bums and hobos did on freight trains into a national right of passage for families in station wagons.

In 2005, Moranis enjoyed a spurt of creativity during his self-imposed retirement from comedy and acting and "...just wrote a bunch of songs." One of them, I Ain't Goin' Nowhere, covered Snow's cover but updated it to reflect the agoraphobic times of post-9/11 paranoid, home-invasion petrified, cocooned America. The CD, aptly titled The Agoraphobic Cowboy , was largely overlooked since it was a little bit country and a whole lot comedic. But as is often the case, the comedy of the song only slightly sugar-coated the message of the times. See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OeCacs5oqM .

And friends, things have only gotten worse.

I honestly didn't imagine air travel could get any less appealing. I was clearly wrong. I get almost misty-eyed when I remember, oh, a mere decade ago, a simpler time when the greatest hassle flying posed was getting over the Lions Gate Bridge and through the gridlock of downtown Vancouver. Sure, it meant the trip from Whistler could take anywhere from three to five hours, but once at YVR, a fellow could kick back, enjoy a few beverages, tell lies to strangers who'd tell bigger lies back and watch a parade of people the likes of which were rarely seen outside traveling freak shows. Hell, you could even check a bag at no extra cost. Swear to god.

Then planes were flown into buildings, an inept bomber couldn't light the fuse on his shoe, a martyr-to-be blew his John Thomas off with a tidy-whitey bomb and things went berserk. The TSA was formed, providing long-needed jobs for frustrated high-school dropouts and latent bullies. More money was thrown at the illusion of security than was spent on aircraft maintenance and things got, let's be honest, weirder and weirder.