Hijacker’s Convention Laments a World That Has Passed Them By

An airplane like this might have been hijacked in days gone byThe first annual Hijacker’s convention in Troupsburg, New York has ended.  Organizers call it a “qualified success.”

“It was nice seeing the old gang again and reminisce about those heady days in the ’60s.  God, everybody was hijacking then.  We were on top of the world” said an attendee.

Another conventioneer, wearing a t-shirt that said “Peace, Love and Hijacking” talked about the benefits of his former hijacking lifestyle.

“It was like I was a king.  People showed me respect.  When I stood up in a plane and shouted ‘This is a hijack’ they all tried to be my friend.  Respect man!  And then when the plane would land in Cuba Fidel would show us around and treat us like visiting royalty.”

It certainly was a good time for hijackers.  Instant access.  Fame.  Making the nightly news shows.  “Cronkite called me a principled socialist once.  I always like him for that” said one person.

But fame, like hemorrhoids and sitcoms starring Don Rickles, is fleeting.  Today hijackers are a thing of the past.

“We are considered old hat.  No one pays attention to us.  When I showed up at the hotel and said I was here to check in for the hijacker’s convention the girl behind the register started laughing and called me ‘Grandpa.’   Respect!  Young kids don’t have any respect for us.”

Long gone are the days when movies were made about hijackers.

Do you remember that movie ‘Skyjacked’ with Chuck Heston.  The crazed Vietnam vet hijacker was based on me.  Though I never went to vietnam and am not crazy” said a veteran hijacker.

The final downfall of hijacking has many causes but is traced ultimately to the advent of the suicide bomber.

“Once people realized we weren’t going to blow the plane up they started ignoring us.  I was on a flight to get here and did my standard hijack routine.  The old lady  next to me started to feel up my midsection.  ‘You have a bomb in there son’ she kept saying and everybody started laughing.  It was  humiliating.  The stewardess gave me free drinks and told me to behave myself.”

Another hijacker recalls his disappointment at not being arrested by Homeland Security.

“After my hijacking attempt I was expecting to be arrested and get on the news.  I was hoping to impress my grandson.  No such luck.  Homeland Security just patted me on the back and said they had bigger fish to fry and that right now they were busy interrogating Joan Rivers.”

Still, many of the attendees were happy to see old comrades.

“There aren’t many of us left.  Nowadays it’s all show biz and flash but back then we had respect for what we did.”

The highlight of the convention according to attendees was a videotaped message from Fidel Castro.

“That was nice.  I didn’t actually see it.  The speech was nine hours long so most of us just went to the hotel bar.  But the gesture was appreciated.”

One change on the agenda is moving next year’s convention to a more central location.

“Many of our members were complaining because there are no major airports near Troupsburg and, well, it’s no fun hijacking a Greyhound bus.


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