John Tyner, the 31-year-old software programmer from Oceanside, CA who came to national attention by his now classic defiant statement to TSA screeners at San Diego International Airport, has seen his “15 minutes of fame” extended indefinitely.
Refusing to undergo the indignity of a frisking after he opted out of an Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) full body scanner, Tyner brought attention to himself along with possible criminal prosecution and a whopping $11,000 fine, by telling the TSA airport security agent, “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.”
Breakthroughs, like the unexpected impact of these words, happen by accident. Just look at the invention of Coca Cola or Penicillin.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and this one may be raining down big profits for those cashing in on Mr. Tyner’s spontaneous outburst, which are now appearing on a wide range of products.
Zazzle is just one of many marketers on the Internet to jump on the cash cow band wagon, selling bumper stickers, T-shirts, key rings, shopping bags, and mugs with this now classic slogan.
Fox News and other media have found even more items, which are multiplying faster than rabbits on Viagra. These include mouse pads, pins, shopping bags, baseball caps, neckties, and even sweaters for dogs. Now your pooch can protest life’s indignities just like Mr. Tyner. “Oh, the humanity!”, to borrow a phrase spoken by Herbert Morrison during the Hindenburg disaster. If the Internet had been around on May 6,1937, people could have make a buck on a burning airship crash.
This is yet another example of how such instant pop culture phrases and other new terms are added to the English language. According to the National Public Radio (NPR) program “A Way With Words” co-hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, some candidates already in the running for the top new words of 2010 include “mama grizzly”, “starwhacker”, “immappacy”, “vuvuzela”, “it is what it is”, “I approved this message”, “Obamacare”, and the every popular Sarah Palin creation “refudiate”, which have all joined “tweet” and “google” from previous years as the new language top dogs.
It may be too late for “don’t touch my junk” to be voted in this year, but it may make it in the future. I guess it is what it is.
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