arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, August 13, 2010

Going Airline Attendant on Your A**

It’s been a slow news week in America. Lindsay Lohan is still out of circulation and, as I noted recently, even gossip column darling Mel Gibson has been laying lower than usual. There was also a report of 37 sheep killed when a driver ran into them at a high rate of speed in Macedonia.

Did I mention that it’s been a slow news week?

Thus, with such an immense vacuum in our news departments, it seems that Steve Slater’s elevation to folk hero status was inevitable. Now a retired flight attendant with JetBlue Airlines, Slater has become an overnight sensation because of how he “retired” from the airline industry. A post-landing incident with an unruly passenger – so unruly she assaulted him with a carry-on bag - led to his cursing out all of the passengers over the plane's intercom, grabbing a beer from the galley, and activating the slide chute at the exit door, before using it to abandon the aircraft.

Very sloooooow neeeewwwwsss weeeek!!!!!

First, let’s examine a flight attendant’s job. They have to be attractive in both appearance and attitude, demonstrate limitless desire to help people and have an equal amount of energy to execute their duties. All this, mind you, as they contend with unruly children, complaints from other passengers about unruly children, complaints from passengers about their seats, their overhead storage compartments, and other passengers. They must hear all the whining about how airlines are nickeling and diming everyone while eliminating such things as in-flight food service, and all of the security screenings they must endure before they even get on the plane.

The stress must be incredible. Consider also the environment in which they work: a pressurized tube hurtling through the earth’s atmosphere at amazing speeds, and — in the best case scenario — landing on all four wheels to great relief and applause from the passengers, only so they can endure further indignities at the luggage carousel. The other end is the worst case scenario: that the plane, passengers and crew end up in a million pieces either in a field or on a mountainside. I know this is a rather graphic extreme, but let’s emphasize that an airline attendant has a wide window of pent-up anxiety and stress.

Slater’s action has been met with overall approval by everyone who has ever been frustrated with their job, or in other words, every living, breathing biped on the face of the earth. A Facebook page was started for him and quickly accumulated 300,000+ “friends”. Slater has tapped into a national angst with people who have fantasized about quitting their job in a grand, dramatic gesture.

Unfortunately, his grand gesture is a federal offense. Currently, he is out on bail awaiting a hearing on a number of charges, using such words as recklessness and endangerment. The airline and FAA have no choice but to prosecute Slater for his Howard Beal moment. If the incident had happened sooner in the flight, say when the plane was at an altitude of 30,000 feet, then the results would have been much different. How different? See “worst case scenario” above. I guarantee Slater would not be a Facebook hero if his actions had crashed the plane.

Even though the passengers on his flight are now disputing Slater’s story, this morning the media will somehow exploit his story to the nth degree. Expect huge amounts of money offered to just talk to him, book deals, reality show deals, and products related to the incident. Soon we should see Steve Slater “Shove This Job Up Your Tailpipe” beer cozies, Slater’s Whack-A-Passenger arcade games, and “I’m Retired from JetBlue and I Didn’t Even Get a Lousy T-Shirt” t-shirt.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for a guest appearance on Jersey Shore. Slater is gay — another personal fact to come out in only a few days within the news vacuum — and he probably wouldn’t fit in very well with J-Woww and The Situation. Even Snookie’s bountiful breasts wouldn’t convince him to switch sides, although it might be fun watching her try.

Most importantly, the expression “going postal” is now passé. We can now refer to an employee suddenly going berserk in the workplace as “going flight attendant on y'all”. I know it’s a bit wordy, but it’s time to give the post office a break. All of the developments in the Steve Slater story have led me to two conclusions. One, the JetBlue incident has re-affirmed my faith in Amtrak. Two, and I never thought I would find myself typing these words in my blog: Come back, Lindsay! America misses you!

(Thank you for reading. Remember, just say “baa” to imitation heroes!)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Janey said...

May I put Snooki on a slide chute at an altitude of 30,000 feet? It would delight my gay heart, and the gay hearts of other men, especially airline stewards, to do so. Pleeeeeze? :-)

August 13, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous arteejee said...

Sure! Go for it! Provided you can get your hands around those medicine balls of hers!

August 14, 2010 at 8:08 PM  

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