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George Carlin on Airplanes

Monday, December 03, 2012

Somethin’ else we have in common, flying on the airlines, and listening to the airlines announcements. And trying to pretend to ourselves that the language they're using is really English. Doesn't seem like it to me.

Whole thing starts when you get to the gate. First announcement, "We would like to begin the boarding process." Extra word, “process”, not necessary. Boarding is enough, "We'd like to begin the boarding." Simple! Tells the story...

People add extra words when they want things to sound more important than they really are. “Boarding Process” sounds important.... It isn't! It's just a bunch of people getting on an airplane. People like to sound important. Weather men on television talk about shower activity, sounds more important than showers. I even heard one guy on CNN talk about a rain event. Swear to god. He said, "Louisiana is expecting a rain event." I thought HOLY CRAP I hope I can get tickets to that!

"Emergency Situation." News people like to say, "Police have responded to an emergency situation." No they haven't....They've responded to an emergency. We KNOW it's a situation... everything is a situation.

Anyway as part of this boarding process, they say, "We would like to pre-board." Well what exactly is that, anyway? What does it mean to pre-board? To get on before you get on!

That's another complaint of mine, too much use of this prefix pre.... It's all over the language now. pre this, pre that..... place the turkey in a preheated oven.... it's ridiculous... there are only two states an oven can possibly exist in, heated or unheated.... preheated is a meaningless term... that's like pre-recorded, this program was pre-recorded, well of course it was pre-recorded, when else you gonna record it, afterwards? That’s the whole purpose of recording, to do it beforehand! Otherwise it doesn't really work does it? Pre-existing, pre-planning, pre-screening, you know...

Anyway, as part of this pre-boarding, they say, "We would like to pre-board those passengers traveling with small children." Well, what about those passengers traveling with large children? Suppose you have a 2-year old with a pituitary disorder. You know a 6 foot infant with an oversized head. The kind of kid you see in the National Enquirer all the time. Actually, with a kid like that, I think you're better off checking him right in with your luggage at the curb, don't you? Well, they like it under there, it's dark, they're used to that.

About this time, someone's telling you to get on the plane. "Get on the plane, get on the plane." I say to heck with you; I'm getting IN the plane! In the plane! Let Evil Kneivel get ON the plane. I'll be in here with you folks in uniform. There seems to be less wind in here.

They might tell you you're on a non-stop flight. Well, I don't think I care for that. No, I insist that my flight stop. Preferably at an airport. It's those sudden unscheduled cornfield and housing development stops, that seem to interrupt the flow of my day . . . Here's one they just made up... “Near Miss”. When two planes almost collide, they call it a near miss. IT'S A NEAR HIT! A collision is a near miss. POOOF, look, they nearly missed. YES, BUT NOT QUITE!!!

They might tell you you're flight has been delayed because of a change in equipment--BROKEN PLANE!

They tell me to put my seat back forward. Well, I don't bend that way. If I could put my seat back forward, I'd be in porno movies.

Then they mention carry-on luggage, the first time I heard carry-on, I thought they were going to bring a dead deer on board. I thought what the heck do they need with that. Don't they have those little TV dinners anymore? Then I thought carry-on, carry-on, there's going to be a party. People are going to be carrying on, on the plane. Well, I don't care for that, I like a serious attitude on the plane, especially on the flight deck, which is the latest euphemism for cockpit. Can't imagine why they wouldn't want to use a lovely word like cockpit, can you? Especially with all those stewardesses going in and out of it all the time.

There’ one…….There's a word that has changed, stewardess. First it was hostess, then stewardess, now it's flight attendant. You know what I call them--the lady on the plane. Sometimes it's a man on the plane now. That's good, equality, I'm all in favor of that. Sometimes, they actually refer to these people as “uniformed crew members.” Uniformed--as opposed to that guy sitting next to you in a Grateful Dead tee-shirt and a weird hat, who's working on his ninth little bottle of Kahlua, I might add.

As soon as they close the door to the aircraft, that's when they begin the safety lecture. I love the safety lecture. This is my favorite part of the airplane ride. I listen very carefully to the safety lecture, especially that part where they teach us how to use the seatbelts. Imagine this, here we are, a plane full of grown human beings, many of us partially educated, and they're actually taking time out to describe the intricate workings of a belt buckle.

"Place the small metal flap into the buckle." Well, I asked for clarification at that point. Over here please, over here, yes, thank you very much. Did I hear you correctly? Did you say place the small metal flap into the buckle or place the buckle over and around the small metal flap? I'm a simple man; I do not possess an engineering degree nor am I mechanically inclined. Sorry to have taken up so much of your time. Please continue with the “wonderful” safety lecture. Seatbelt--high-tech crap.

The safety lecture continues. The next thing they do, they tell you to locate your nearest emergency exit. I do this immediately. I locate my nearest emergency exit, and then I plan my route. You have to plan your route--it's not always a straight line, is it? Sometimes, there's a really big fat guy sitting right in front of you. Well, you know you'll never get over him. I look around for women and children, midgets and dwarves, cripples, war widows, paralyzed veterans, people with broken legs--anybody who looks like they can't move too well. The emotionally disturbed come in very handy at a time like this. You might have to go out of your way to find these people, but you'll get out of the plane a lot quicker, believe me. I say, let's see, I'll go around the fat guy, step on the widow's head, push those children out of the way, knock down the paralyzed midget, and get out of the plane where I can help others. I can be of no help to anyone if I'm lying unconscious in the aisle with some big dude standing on my head. I must get out of the plane, go to a nearby farmhouse, have a Dr. Pepper and call the police.

The safety lecture continues. "In the unlikely event . ." This is a very suspect phrase, especially coming as it does from an industry that is willing to lie about arrival and departure times. "In the unlikely event of a sudden change in cabin pressure"--ROOF FLIES OFF! " . . An oxygen mask will drop down in front of you. Place the mask over your face and breathe normally." Well, I have no problem with that. I always breathe normally when I'm in a 600 mile an hour uncontrolled vertical dive. I also poop normally. RIGHT IN MY PANTS!

They tell you to adjust YOUR oxygen mask before helping your child with his. I did not need to be told that. In fact, I'm probably going to be too busy screaming to help him at all. This will be a good time for him to learn self-reliance. If he can program his stinking VCR, he could jolly-well learn to adjust an oxygen mask. Fairly simple thing, just a little rubber band in the back is all it is. Not nearly as complicated as say, for instance, a seatbelt.

The safety lecture continues. "In the unlikely event of a water landing . . ." Well, what exactly is a water landing? Am I mistaken, or does this sound somewhat similar to CRASHING INTO THE OCEAN!? ". . . your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device." Well, imagine that, my seat cushion. Just what I need--to float around the North Atlantic for several days, clinging to a pillow full of beer farts………..Thank you, thank you…… The flight continues, a little later on, towards the end, we hear, "The captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign." Well, who gives a crap who turned it on? What does that have to do with anything? It's on, isn't it? And who made this man a captain, might I ask? Did I sleep through some sort of armed forces swearing-in ceremony or something? Captain--he's a stinking pilot and let him be happy with that. If those sight-seeing announcements are any mark of his intellect, he's lucky to be working at all. Tell the captain, Air Marshall Carlin says go suit yourself!

The next sentence I hear is full of things that piss me off. "Before leaving the aircraft, please check around your immediate seating area for any personal belongings you might have brought onboard." Well, let's start with immediate seating area--SEAT! It's a seat! Check around your seat! "For any personal belongings." Well, what other kinds of belongings are there, besides personal--public belongings? Do these people honestly think I might be traveling with a fountain I stole from the park. "You might have brought onboard." Well…….I MIGHT have brought my arrowhead collection--I didn't, so I'm not going to look for it! I am going to look for things I brought onboard, which seems to enhance my likelihood of finding something, wouldn't you say?

Tell me to return my seatback and tray table back to their original, upright position. Fine, who's going to return this guy with the Grateful Dead tee-shirt and the weird hat to his original upright position.

About this time, they tell you you'll be landing shortly. That sound to you like we're gonna miss the runway. Final approach is not very promising either, is it? Final is not a good word to be using on an airplane. Sometimes, the pilot will get on and he'll say, "We'll be on the ground in 15 minutes. " Well, that's a little vague, isn't it? Now we're taxiing in, she says, "Welcome to O'Hare International Airport . . ." Well, how can someone who is just arriving herself possibly welcome me to a place she isn't even at yet? Doesn't this violate some fundamental law of physics? We're only on the ground for 4 seconds; she's coming on like the mayor's wife! ". . . where the local time . ." Well, of course it's the local time. What did you think we were expecting--the time in Pango Pango?

"Enjoy your stay in Chicago, or wherever your final destination might be." All destinations are final! T hat's what it means, destiny-final. If you haven't gotten where you're going, you aren't there yet.

"The captain has asked . . ." More crud from the bogus captain. You know, for someone who's supposed to be flying an airplane, he's taking a mighty big interest in what I'm doing back here.". . . that you remain seated until he has brought the aircraft to a complete stop. Not a partial stop, cuz’ during a partial stop, I partially get up. "Continue to observe the no-smoking sign until well inside the terminal." It's physically impossible to observe the no-smoking sign even if you're standing just outside the door of the airplane, much less well inside the terminal. You can't even see the planes from well inside the terminal.

Which brings me to terminal--another unfortunate word to be used in association with air travel. And they use it all over the airport, don't they? Somehow I just can't get hungry at a place called the Terminal Snack bar. But, if you've ever eaten there, you know it IS an appropriate name.

Thank you…… thank you very much…..
All material written and owned by George Carlin...
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