Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flee the Friendly Skies.


The topic du jour is Steven Slater, the JetBlue employee who made an emergency exit from his employment after a tiff with a passenger. In a way, it's kind of awesome. I'm not sure if it actually played out the way it reads in this article, but if so, it seems a little too perfect and planned out, like a scene from a movie. (Or at least an above-average beer commercial.) You'd watch it and say, "But no one would really do that!!" That's why such scenes are so great on film - because in real life, they're not so plausible.

On the other hand, this is real life, and a 38 year-old adult male did something hasty and ridiculous, and now the masses are applauding him for it; he's enjoying 15 minutes of celebrity. This is the world we live in. A world where Jackass is about to be brought to cineplexes in 3-D, so you can reach out and touch the stupidity. I don't know. It's nice to daydream about causing a scene and sticking it to the "man," especially if that man has just hit you in the head with his luggage. But to actually do it? Isn't that just kind of...childish?

I don't know Steven Slater. I highly doubt his mother's illness had anything to do with his sudden urge to escape an airplane via inflatable emergency chute. Sounds like the Twinkie defense, if you ask me. I've never worked for JetBlue, but I can imagine the work would, at times, be stressful. And I have no doubt the passenger who "bonked" him ("bonk" is a newsworthy term now?) was all kinds of hostile, and perhaps even deserved to be the one arrested later. But is this all it takes to be a hero these days? A "fuck you" and a pilfered Heineken? I suppose it doesn't take much to be a pop star or a best-selling author anymore, either. So why should we hold our heroes up to a higher standard?

I flew JetBlue out of JFK last Wednesday, and I have to say, I was impressed with the service. After the nightmare experience I had with Delta back in December, flying JetBlue was like a breath of fresh air at 35,000 feet. The woman who checked my bags complimented my T-shirt. The terminal offered above-average cuisine selections. I ordered a scotch in-flight, which the stewardess then informed me they were out of. "No problem," I said, and asked for a Jack Daniels instead. She returned with two mini-bottles of Jack Daniels for me, and then never asked for any form of remuneration. (Whether this was out of kindness or absent-mindedness, I'll never now.) Now that's a hero.

Now imagine an alternate scenario in which Steven Slater decided to exit the plane with a beer in hand in flight. Or let's say someone was injured in his hasty getaway. Suddenly he's a dangerous whack job, not a hero. That's a fine line. I mean, maybe it's cool to freak out and quit your job in a highly dramatic fashion while absconding with an adult beverage and spewing profanity. But don't we kinda have to do stuff we don't want to do? Isn't that just life? If we all suddenly inflate emergency slides and skip out on our jobs, who's going to bring me veggie chips and a ginger ale? Isn't there something to be said for, you know, just like, dealing with it? Personally, with the price of airfare as high as it is, I prefer my JetBlue employees to just actually do their jobs with those fake plastered-on smiles, and give me the stolen alcohol.

"Hero to many?" Well, not to me. Let the gullible masses create Facebook fan pages and donate their hard-earned money toward this guy's defense. Perhaps one day there will even be a movie about this "folk hero" who has inspired songs and a whole lotta news coverage. I can see it now: Perez Hilton is Steven Slater in JetBlue Afternoon. That's what this world is coming to. I, however, think it's pretty obvious that the flight attendant in question is a few pretzel sticks short of a complimentary snack pack - I mean, who still updates their moods on Myspace??


Fuck off,


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