Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll asks a simple question: FIRST CLASS? She also gives Steve and me our shot at immortalization in poetry:

Sorry, dear readers. I simply cannot write about politics again this week without losing what’s left of my mind. I’ll be back again next week at Full Ferocity. Probably. Besides, my original mission, should I decide to accept it, was to be funny…

This column is brought to you by Delta Airlines. I also stipulate in advance that you may as well all begin making the universal hand sign of the world’s smallest violin playing “My Heart Bleeds For You.” I realize what follows will elicit no sympathy. But stay with me, friends, and try to grasp the full horror of an unsatisfactory First Class experience.

As you know, I had to fly back to Minnesota a month ago for my dear mother’s memorial service. That meant an extra layer of stress in an already stressful form of transportation. And this was even before the TSA decided to punish us for their flunking every security test. So, Mr. AG – normally a super-thrifty fellow – offered to pay the extra $250 to bump me up to First Class. My last First Class flight was on a fancy new plane with plush seats, movies, television shows, music, electronics plug-ins, and the like. Woohoo!

Well in advance, I chose seat 2C. I prefer the aisle and I like there to be a seat in front of me so that I can stick my “Go Bag” with my books, games and snacks under the seat.

When I got to the airport, I found that there had been an “equipment change.” Somehow I had lost my 2C seat and was now in 1C. Once before that had happened, and I was not even in First Class any more, but actually in Steerage! In a middle seat! Oh, the humanity!

So here I was in the dreaded Bulkhead. In a decidedly unfancy old plane. My Go Bag had to be stowed in the overhead compartment. Oh well, perhaps I would chat with my seatmate. Sadly, not. He rebuffed my two attempts to begin conversation except to tell me that he was NOT from a Dusty Little Village, but from tony Scottsdale. I was not worthy. Got it. Also, he didn’t drink and scowled at my Bloody Mary. I would have understood completely if he had had a book. I get very annoyed at yakkers who interrupt my reading. But, no. He preferred staring into space to chatting with me. Yeah, I know, unbelievable!

Once we were airborne, the flight attendants began breakfast service, which would surely justify the extra $250. Two choices were on offer, and the flight attendant began at the back of the section. There was a delicious-looking hot egg and cheese sandwich, and Cheerios. When she got to 1C and 1D – me and Mr. Congenial – there was only one sandwich left. With every gentleman for himself, my seatmate rushed to claim it, like your brother yelling “Shotgun” on a road trip. Now, why, for $250 extra per passenger up front ($4,000), Delta could not have made sure that there was a hot breakfast for all 16 of us, I cannot say.

I showed them. I declined breakfast altogether and got by on another Bloody Mary, while secretly vowing that if my seatmate choked on his entree, I would neither ring for the flight attendant nor perform the Heimlich Maneuver. I was also gratified to feel the Mandatory Mealtime Turbulence kick in. Not that I totally am a sore loser or hold grudges or anything.

I took down my Go Bag, only to find that the battery on my little game and book device was dead with nowhere to plug it in. Perfect. I had one old copy of American Rifleman, which sometimes scares people when I bring it out, as though just a PICTURE of a gun could somehow hurt them like a “gun” chewed out of bologna in a gradeschool lunchroom.

With the turbulence, I started making shaky notes to turn the experience into a column. Lemons to lemonade and all that. Then the flight attendant knelt down beside me and told me that she could bring me the fruit cups and two warm croissants with butter and jam from the Cheerios plates nobody wanted. Bless her heart. Had I but known croissants were included, I wouldn’t have been so quick to reject the Cheerios. My will to live was renewed such that I composed this homage to Alan Sherman’s “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda” song:

Hello, Hayward; Hello, Johnson
I think First Class is a con, son.
And my seatmate is a stinker
Who loudly told the stew he’s not a drinker.

Hello, Johnson, Hello, Hayward.
Hunger made my mood go wayward.
Here’s a croissant! I’m less solemn,
Johnson, Hayward, kindly disregard this column.

Have a great weekend. May all your troubles be this trivial.

P.S. After two Bloody Marys, I was not up to the challenge of rhyming either “Mirengoff” or “Hinderaker”. I got as far as “Pinter mocker,” and “sneer ‘n scoff” but, try using them in a song parody.

JOHN adds: “Hinderaker’s off his rocker” is the rhyme I remember from elementary school, but I appreciate your not coming up with that one!


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