We all have our stories. Last week through the beauty of television news I saw two episodes of rage, which you wouldn’t see 25 years ago. When the Jet Blue Airlines steward Steven Slater cursed at a passenger or passengers, grabbed a couple of beers and went down the emergency chute, I think everybody could identify with him. Sometimes you get so frustrated with situations, jumping out the window seems like the best option.
The other episode widely seen on TV was the woman going postal because she couldn’t get her Chicken McNuggets in the morning. I know that bugs me too, but so far I haven’t got out of my car, reach into the window to cause mayhem. I usually choose to come back later, and in fact I’m now living a healthier lifestyle, I don’t think I’ll try either. I wonder what both these episodes say about our greater society?
I will leave that to my illustrious editor, mentor and good friend John Gardner. My friend John is a conservative rebel, who I’m sure has an opinion about this but through his life has never acted this way even though I’m sure he’s had Steven Slater moments in the back of his mind. I on the other hand am way too timid to get so out of hand. However, I’m sure if we were all pushed on the right day we might dive into that window looking for those Chicken nuggets.
It looks now that Steven Slater will be getting his own new reality show. It reminds me of that balloon boy episode that we saw last year in Colorado. Apparently he has been offered some type of gig for people who quit in extravagant ways. I hope it doesn’t spawn a cottage industry in flight attendants quitting when I am on the plane.
I do have somewhat of an insight on flight attendants in their duties. Years ago I went out with the young lady who was a flight attendant. She told me about the many challenges, long-distance phone bills and ungodly hours that she had to work. That was a time when I think flying was somewhat more glamorous than it is today. She was flying on planes from Canada to Europe; Steven Slater was doing the grunt commuter work in the United States. If you have ever flown in the United States, like many people in southwestern Ontario have, it’s a different game. Everything is bare bones including a small bag of pretzels tossed your way.
Of course we all have our airplane stories. I will not buy a ticket on Air Canada because of my own story. It’s too long to write about here but it’s a dilly. Making a living in that environment in 2010 must be a real challenge.
The lady who wants her chicken McNuggets for breakfast was a bit of a different animal, as there was a little bit of mild violence involved. I think that she was arrested. Needless to say both incidence show how ridiculous the human species can be when something snaps in our brain.
About four years ago, your loyal scribe was involved in quite a few farm protests, one of which was 10,000 strong in Ottawa. There were many others, some of which were a third of that size but all of them involved “keeping your head” in volatile situations. Thankfully, almost all the organizers realized that, taking great pains not to violate any societal codes. I remember when the numbers grew so large in Ottawa, the police were nervous. The farm leaders work with the police and at the end of the day there was even one request to pray for the police. I often look back on that and think about the “civility” of the situation. If we had chosen to we could have caused real problems. However, our goal was to get an agricultural stabilization program, which was consistent and long-term. So while there was great protest, there was also great civility. It was a great example of respecting our societal differences with regard to what we wanted and the people around us protecting everybody.
I guess it means that none of us farmers in Ottawa that day got a role on a new reality TV series. Maybe if we had dove head first through a Parliament buildings window with a couple of beers in hand, we’d get one. Dunno. What I do know is there is something very wrong about doing the wrong thing and possibly getting rewarded for it. Steven Slater should have just put it in the rear view mirror and everybody else should too.