Sunday, September 4, 2011

You Must Be THIS Tall to Fly

I hate to fly. I love flying mind you, but in this day and age, the physical act of taking an airliner from point A to Point B is nerve-wracking, expensive, frustrating, and if you don’t keep a handle on your emotions, may introduce you to the American Penal Code, Felony division. One such passenger on our flight from Boston to LAX did so yesterday.

You must understand Flight Attendants now hold power somewhere between a Fire Marshall a,d a County High Sheriff. There is no court of appeal—except to the Captain—if he‘s back from the bar by then. (We kid the Captain). Recently Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong gave new meaning to the term “front man.” He was invited off a Southwest jet for allegedly wearing his pants too low. Apparently, it’s above the pee-pee or out the door on SW. He got on the next flight, with an apology—his pants flew coach.

I feel Dude’s pain. Try walking thru security with your wallet, your must-start computer, your book, your sammich and your boarding passes in hand while tying to hold up your beltless pants with only a prayer and your expanded gut.

Not that I’m complaining. Next week is the tenth Anniversary of 9/11—TSA is necessary. A radiated Wazoo is the price we pay for freedom. We doff our footgear because some moron in tennis shoes tried to blow us up. We pay for baggage and get only free animal crackers on a 6-hour flight because airlines are greedy. Airlines have adapted the philosophy of those airport parking structures that doubled fees after 9/11 claimning terrorists are too cheap to pay extra.

                                                              Stooges, Stooges, Everywhere

 I like to joke, but I know the boundaries. When a TSA agent bantered something mildly insulting, I replied in best Stooge fashion “Oh, wise guy, eh?” Had I hit the wrong inflection, I’d have gotten a prostate exam by Floyd “Clawhammer” Zbswekski, Cavity Search and Rescue Specialist, TSA.  Instead I got a “Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk” in return.

As I bolted for freedom, another  TSA agent blocked my path. “Welcoming committee?” I asked. He smiled and said “I’d love to have a peek at that watch of yours.”  Say what? Guys walk in with Rolexes the size of a canned ham and he wants to look at my ancient and honorable Casio Telememo?  Easily dealt with—I just go into salesman mode.

“This is an old-fashioned Casio multifunction beauty,” I reply laying the watch across my wrist. “It has local time and time in LA.” “Got phone numbers here, got a stop-watch, an alarm, and a gizmo that connects my computer directly to Al Qaeda.” (Made that up).

By then, my pants were on the floor and my new TSA buddy was ready to order his own Casio.    

                                                               Got No Reason to Live

Once onboard, the plane was ready to push back when a miniature woman slowed us down. Here is the Microfiche Missy’s story:

Okay, she may have had a valid argument, but Karma may have helped her earn a criminal record. She was so nasty, I think Randy Newman was writing about her. Lady had reserved a seat in the front row. Before she boarded, the woman adjacent asked a flight attendant if her daughter could move next to her, and have Short Stuff sit in the “same seat” but across the aisle. The sympathetic male agent—who sported a double looped ponytail--said yes.     

Enter the midget. Shorty Temper-Tantrum was about 4’1” in pumps. She was displeased. She told Blond FA and the rest in no uncertain terms she wanted her reserved seat. She bellowed at the poor daughter “This is my seat! You know that!” The FAs advised her to stand up and move--”oh sorry, you are standing.”

Ms. Agita lady continued to bellow her case and used her finger for emphasis.  The overhead bin was opened, and dudette and her duds were shown the door. There she was greeted by marshals, TSA cops, and veteran character actor M. Emmett Walsh. She pointed again, making contact with a Marshall. The next sound was her making contact with the jetway. She was cuffed with Joe Friday Action Figure Handcuffs.

At this point, she might get off with a warning. But: “Want, some more, Ms. Munchkin?" 

“Sure.  I’ll take spit on an air marshal for $600, Alex.” Buh-bye airport, hello Riker’s Island.

All this excitement so tuckered the flight attendants, they decided to sit out most of the flight. Fortunately, D and I were able to wrest away our mid-flight meals --a Coke and free Animal Crackers for me, and Madam will have the bottled water and chocolate chip cookies.”  The Coke was moist, the crackers slightly dry and overdone. Dotty fell back into her coma before I could get her review.

I told her the ejection story when we were home, and again this morning.  She takes enough preflight Xanax to fell a Musk Ox, so I may get to tell the story several more times.

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