When I travel to a gig I usually get an early flight so I can get to the location early, christen the bathroom and still have time to spare before the gig begins. Thursday was no exception. Having secured a $68 flight on Southwest I decided to to take a break from my lucrative Greyhound/Amtrak endorsement deal (don’t worry I am taking a 19 1/2 hour Greyhound trip back to NYC on Sunday) and take a quick flight to Indianapolis.
Readers may or may not know that I have a slight fear of flying/heights, which is ironic given my choice of profession and the fact that I am very tall. My flight was to depart at 11:20 am and we were only running about 15 minutes late when the plane started speeding down the runway. But then, just after I had said a silent “Please God don’t let me die” and then just as I was about to do my customary urine-in-pants move, the pilot hit the breaks on the plane. I said out loud, “that’s interesting,” and inside I said, “We are going to die on this plane! (accompanied by the opening shriek that Prince does in the song Get Off)”
The pilot told us that while we were going on the runway there was a landing plane crossing our path or something to that effect. So under that explanation I saw that I almost died the way many people died on the season 2 finale of Breaking Bad (in retrospect at least a dozen comedians would be right to make the connection while mourning my loss on Facebook).
The pilot told us that because of the aborted takeoff we would need to return to the gate to refuel. This sounded strange to Dana, the Mom from Maryland sitting to my right, who informed me that her father had been a pilot for Pan Am. When we got back to the gate men in Southwest windbreakers began coming onto the plane (Southwest polo shirts – safe, Southwest windbreaker – bad). Then the pilot told us after about thirty minutes that an emergency light had gone on and that they were trying to figure out if there was a technical problem with the plane or just with the emergency light. In other words I think our pilot lied as to the original cause of our slow down. I have always suspected pilots of being liars. Like when then pretend not to be afraid of severe turbulence with that generic, horsesh*t, calm voice that they all seem to have.
So we waited two hours, listening to a Southwest flight attendant crack jokes on the loudspeaker (to which Dana said, “Oh she thinks she’s a comedian” in a way that sounded scornful of the flight attendant’s jokes (justified) and stand up in general (only semi-justified). So I was committed to keeping my secret identity a secret and then we started talking.
“Are you from Indianapolis?”
“No. Going for business.”
“Oh, will you be late with the delay?
“Nope, not working until tonight.”
“What do you do?”
“Stand Up Comedian.”
That is how long it took to break me. When I said comedian, the sophomore college student headed home for fall break next to me, Mackenzie, if my memory is correct, piped up and asked:
“You’re a comedian?”
“Do you know any famous comedians?”
(inner monologue) Have you heard of Patrice O’Neal or Dave Attell? Probably not.
“You mean like Dane Cook?”
Now during these pleasantries with these two women (Mackenzie – a 20 year old woman who hates Twitter, does not have Internet on her phone and likes math and science – sort of like the 20 year old I would clone for a better America if I had the machine from Weird Science and Dana, the Al Gore hating, Barack Obama-voting (I have a soft spot for politically varied people, even if I don’t agree with them) mom) I never lost the thought that these might be the last two people I would ever speak to. You may think I am being too paranoid of flying, but the passengers on this plane gave me reason to be concerned. First we had a female co-pilot. And second, two rows in front of me, for several rows, was a deaf high school (or small college) football team from Maryland.
You may be asking yourself what is the big deal about a deaf football team? Everything! First off when a crowded plane goes down there is always some sympathetic story. How does the headline “200 perish in plane crash, including entire Inspirational Team of Deaf Football Players. President Obama mourns the loss of these heroes and 160 losers who could not afford Delta on short notice” sound? I mean they would make an inspirational sports movie and call it something like “Heard Around The World” or “Deafinitely” or “Heard and Long” (my favorite) or “The Sounds of Silence” and it would probably have Marlee Matlin as a fictional team trainer who becomes the romantic lead for the head coach. But you know who is not in this movie? The hilarious comedian killing it in row 20 of the plane. He is an extra or an under 5 at best. Oh and did I mention the co-pilot was a woman?
Well the plane eventually took off and I had a pleasant conversation with both women (I gave them both my website and I think passengers around me thought I was a male escort with a wide age range (I work at night, I have banter with 19 and 56 year old women, and he caught me masturbating uncomfortably in the bathroom). I have found that conversation is often the best way to be calm during a flight. We did not crash, obviously, unless I am a character from the show Lost. So now it is time for some Dave Attell shows. (I will give a full recap of all shows on Monday – like how on Thursday I divided the crowd between people with brains and without when I asked who believes climate change is a myth). So Indiana – I survived and I am going to make you wish I’d died on that plane! I mean I am going to kill! That’s the expression I was looking for.