Does Anyone Know How To Land This Thing? A look at the costs/benefi...

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[title cont: ...ts of flying broomsticks and carpets (and alternatives).] Society clings to the traditions of the past, but change is needed if there is to be improvement. Throughout history, people have told tales of brilliant magicians and sorceresses with bright ideas who took a look at their long-held traditions and realized they no longer applied. Regardless of how rooted in the history of a society a tradition can become, just because it has always been done in a certain way is no excuse for keeping it that way, especially if it becomes dangerous to those participating in it – which is why the time has come to do away with the traditional flight methods of broomsticks and carpets.

Despite being easily disguised as household objects, broomsticks and carpets do not react well to traditional everyday use and cause major accidents when mistaken for their more mundane counterparts. Mandatory background checks into the magical pedigree of buyers are used sparsely and occasionally foregone altogether, leaving magical stores open to any mundane human who, due to some genetic quirk or power in his ancestry, can trip the magic-detecting door bell. Sixty flying carpets and broomsticks have been extracted from the care of non-magical humans since the 1950s, necessitating the use of costly memory spells and clean-up crews, though only two cases of negligent magical instrument sales managed to make it to the courts and win. Virtually all flying carpet troubles were swept under the rug until the Persian Carpet Scandal of 1876, when reporter Philodeous Merlin the Third uncovered the massive conspiracy by carpet-sellers to cover up the quality of their wares and criminally negligent salespeople. Since then, as many as 35% of households employing flying carpets reported the appliances’ tendency to spontaneously lift off from the ground, causing broken furniture in the lucky cases and severe injuries in the unluckier ones. In addition, almost 50% of households that employ flying broomsticks reported the broomsticks to have created small tornadoes when applied to the job of sweeping floors, causing damage up to a three-block radius and countless awkward questions.

Broomsticks and carpets are also extremely impractical for flight in anything less than ideal weather conditions. In the last year alone, there have been sixty instances of high-fliers requiring rescue from their carpets or broomsticks with cases of extreme hypothermia. Storms involving precipitation of any kind are commonly known to be completely no-go weather and often cause urgently required medical help to be too late. It is a matter of public record that, because the emergency rescue teams were unable to fly, at least 30,000 wizards and witches died or were spirited away to foreign lands by the magical Kansas cyclones of the 1900s. Attempts to find a way to protect fliers from the elements have resulted in sluggish carpets and broomsticks that are much more conspicuous and difficult to fly than the originals.

The worst problem of all with broomsticks and carpets are the universal glitches that, under certain travel conditions, can prove to be disastrous and even fatal. In the past decade, there have been almost a hundred cases of broomsticks igniting at high speeds and killing their riders, and carpets are commonly known to blow off course when faced with winds faster than 24 mph. Absolutely no progress has been made in the area of correcting these glitches, and statements from manufacturers imply they may not even be trying to fix this.

While it is true that attempts to invent comparably fuel-efficient and animal-independent alternative means of travel (such as the unsuccessful flying vacuum cleaners or, in the especially ill-fated case that caused several earthquakes and irreparable damage to the Earth in the form of the San Andreas Fault, pogo sticks) have been mostly fruitless to this point, there is – as seen in the past when the Eye of Newt Ban was implemented and literally thousands of witches, warlocks, magicians, and sorceresses discovered and submitted more humane substitutes to the Board of Spell-Casting – almost always a better way patiently waiting to be found.

Though broomsticks and carpets are currently the fastest mode of transportation for long distances over difficult terrain, alternate means of travel can and will be found if the need is created. And in the meantime, there are alternatives. The non-magical airplane may seem daunting, but not many common magical objects register on luggage x-rays, and Flying Monkeys Express provides a reliable, affordable way to ship anything that can’t be taken on a flight. Harts’ Rent-a-Unicorn is already in wide use as an acceptable and swift alternative for land-bound travel, and for non-technological overseas travel, the old-fashioned Pegasus-drawn buggy can be easily found in more rural parts of the country.

It is clear, then, that the many disadvantages of flying broomsticks and carpets far outweigh the few benefits. Their troublesome steering and impractical design make for very undesirable modes of transportation, despite their traditional value. Though society, fearful of change, may cling to its traditions with an iron grip, it is time to retire these relics of the past to a museum and usher in a new tradition of flying in safety and comfort, whatever the form may be.

Created: Dec 09, 2010

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