Dennis Miller on Air Travel
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 96 15:00:25 -0700
Subject: Dennis Miller on Air Travel
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An Excerpt from Dennis Miller's "The Rants"
Now I don't want to get off an a rant here, but flying in this country
has turned into an amazingly arduous process, especially boarding the
plane, which has now become this tedious Bataan death march with American
Tourister overnight bags. I get stuck behind this one guy, who takes
forever to get situated. He's clogging the aisle like a piece of human
cholesterol jammed in the passengerial artery. You just want to get that
soft drink cart and flush his ass out the back door. He's folding that
sport jacket like he's in the color guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
Or else I get stuck behind a wizard who wants to beat the system by
gaffer-taping a twine handle onto a refrigerator-freezer box and calling
it "carry on." Wedging it into the overhead with hydraulic jacks. It's
like trying to get Pavarotti into a wet suit, for Christ's sake.
And exactly when did stewardesses in this country get so fucking cranky?
I know it's a tough job. There's got to be a thousand different ways to
tie that neckerchief but why piss on me, huh? You know the worst thing
about it is they don't even come clean with you and tell you much they
hate you. They treat you with that highly contrived air of mock civility,
that tight, pursed-lip grin where they nod agreement with everything you
say. You know right behind that face plate they barely tolerate your very
existence. I'd rather they just come out in the open and say, "Hey,
listen asshole. When I was eighteen years old, I made a horrible
vocational error, all right? I turned my entire adult life in for cheap
airfare to Barbados. Now I've got hair with the tensile strength of Elsa
Lanchester in 'Bride of Frankenstein.' I haven't met Mr. Right. I'm a
waitress in a bad restaurant at thirty thousand feet. Jam your Diet Slice
up your ass, all right?" At least show me something. Come down the aisle
like the old broad in 'From Russia with Love' with the knife point coming
out of her shoe. "Peanuts, Mr. Bond?"
What about when you leave the plane and they've got them propped by the
front door in that complete android catatonic stupor where they look like
the Yul Bryner robot from 'Westworld' when he blew a headpipe and iced
Marcus Welby's assistant. "Bye. Bye. Bye. Bye." It's like your
stockbroker on Thorazine or something.
And am I the only one who likes to get on a plane and unwind with a good
book? Sit there in a little peace and quiet. I'm constantly in
conversation with complete strangers - always being approached by these
overly ebullient Jonathan Livingston Human types. This eighteen-year-old
kid who's on his way back from Aruba and wants to show me this skull bong
he purchased there that's carved out of volcanic rock. You know he's
always got a dream he wants me to interpret for him. What am I, Queequeg?
And you're afraid to not talk to him. You never know who the fucking
terrorist is on the plane. I'd hate to alienate anybody who's looking
for a prom date to Valhalla.
There's a lot of terrorism in the air, but you know when you walk through
the air terminal and see the crack security people manning the perimeter,
I think we all sleep the sleep of angels. Came into Phoenix the other
day, the woman working the X-ray machine had the attention span of Boo
Radley. She's sitting there like Captain Pike from "Star Trek." She had
a channel flicker. She's watching baggage from other airports, for
You think pilots make fun of those guys who bring them the last ten feet
into the terminal with those cone flashlights? "Well, thank you, Vasco
da Gamma. I kited in from Malaysia, you're going to take me the last
furlong, Captain Eveready. I hope you don't blow a D-cell. I'd hate to
be stuck out here in the Bermuda Tarmac for the rest of my life."
What about those masks that drop down in the event of decompression?
That's a pretty flimsy-looking apparatus, isn't it? Doesn't this look
remarkably like a Parkay margarine cup on the end of an enema bag or
something? They always have these bizarre instructions to start the flow
of oxygen. "Tug down lightly on the cord." Yeah, you know when I'm
shoulder-rolling at seven hundred miles per hour, "lightly" just isn't in
my fucking vocabulary, all right? You know people are going to be
Conaning those things right off the bulkhead. Something intrinsically
cruel having the last forty seconds of your life turn into a "Lucy" skit.
I think instead of oxygen, they ought to pump in nitrous oxide. This way,
if the plane does wreck - that first rescue team comes onto the scene -
you're up in a tree still strapped in your seat just laughing your ass
off. Guys say, "Bobby, get over here. Look how hip this guy is. I mean,
he's naked, he's blue, he's howling. This cat is centered, huh?"
You know what I hate is when you're sitting in coach class and they pull
that curtain on first class. Oh, I see, they paid and extra forty dollars
and I'm a fucking leper. I always get the feeling that if the plane's
about to wreck, the front compartment breaks off into a little Goldfinger
miniplane. They're on their way to Rio and I'm a charcoal briquette on
You know who I feel sorry for in the whole air-travel scenario? It's the
poor bastard who has to drive the jetway. You know that little accordion
tentacle that weaves its way out to meet the plane? Everybody else is
Waldo Pepperin' around in their Bobby Lansing leather bomber jackets, the
right stuff coursing through their veins as they push the outside of the
envelope. Your job is to drive the building.
A lot of qualifications to sit next to that exit door, huh? When did that
happen? I've been a physical klutz for years. I'm like Clouseau.
Nobody's ever said a word. All of a sudden they want me to be a fucking
Navy SEAL. I guess they want to be sure the person sitting there doesn't
panic in the event that the plane goes down in water. Item number 8 on
the qualification list was "You must not be Ted Kennedy."
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
© 1996 Peter Langston