So A Guy Jumps Off The Plane…

With Keith Halloran on the back burner… some of my attention has to be given to this flight attendant and his public resignation…

While I was driving my wife to the airport I was thinking about a news story from this week. My imagination was captured by the story of Steven Slater who was having a bad day with his job as a JetBlue flight attendant and quit in a very public and dangerous way.

There were questions mulling about in my mind. Why don’t these things ever happen to me when I have my camera and audio recorder close by, and why didn’t that happen during our trip to Florida this past March? Maybe we should switch to JetBlue? When will I ever find the time to rant about this news item that’s rife with social commentary?

Now that my wife Carol is safe and sound at her destination, and I have all this time to myself now that she’s gone; I’m free to rant. With that said… Could you imagine if Steven Slater had his meltdown during my flight? !?

FEDORA CHRONICLES EXCLUSIVE – Pictures of the Flight Attendant sliding down the inflatable ramp! [Then there would be another set of pictures of a man in a brown fedora chasing after Mr. Slater with a camera!]

By now you’re thinking… "that’s really funny Ren – but you weren’t there! What does this say about society, we want your commentary." (Or, "Geezus Ren! When are you going to write that review of Millers Crossing!?! The movie’s now 20 something years old!")

Daily Mail - UK

World discovers a new hero: The air steward who lost his cool, grabbed a beer, slid down plane's emergency chute and launched himself into stardom on Facebook" By DAVID GARDNER Last updated at 10:14 AM on 11th August 2010

Steven Slater

In this day and age, it’s easier than ever before to become famous for doing the least amount of work. For some of us, all you have to do is make a controversial remark on Facebook and with-in 24 hours a news truck will be in front of your house interviewing anyone who stops. Do a funny dance on YouTube, GOLDMINE! Write a rant and… you get the picture. Now it’s getting to the point where the stakes have been raised and it takes even more outrageous behavior then before. It’s also random, who knows what’s going to capture the imaginations of the media and the public at large? Cutting your own fingers off with a chain saw? Setting yourself on fire? Jumping out of a plane with out a parachute?

Attention starved people have to be even more outrageous then the people were before, and more spontaneous. The people who are at the highest risk are innocent bystanders who don’t want the notoriety and might get hurt, or worse find themselves in the spot light themselves.

Which brings me back to Steven Slater and his antics; from what we’ve heard he was having a rough day at work serving drinks and catering to passengers onboard this flying sardine can. Once the jet landed, he became abusive, spoke obscenities over the intercom, then opened the airplane’s hatch and slid down the emergency raft with some bottles of beers… then I guess he just walked off the runway?

Hours later the man becomes a folk hero representing everyone who has ever wanted to quit their job in a loud and public way. Translation, we can live vicariously through a limp-wristed idiot who’s oblivious to the abysmal job market and has never had to deal with one of the toughest employment situations: homelessness.

Yes, Eric Renderking Fisk is going to use the trump card of his own personal experience to illustrate this point!

I have no sympathy for someone like Mr. Steven Slater or anyone who has ever thrown away a good secure job without having a new one to go to. I say this as someone who has traveled across country in a vintage Chevy looking for any kind of work. I know what it’s like to live in abandoned houses and factories, with no electricity or hot water. Someday I need to write` my rant about living in a tent at the campground of Lake Denison while the remnants of Hurricane Hugo blew through the north east in September of 1989.

I have taken jobs that were “beneath” me because that’s all a stranger can get when your address doesn’t really exist. When an employer hears “I’ll be ready to work tomorrow, just tell me where the time clock is…” it’s hard to say he’ll have to think about it for a week or two when it’s a job he’s having a hard time finding motivated people to fill.

I know what it’s like to starve, and not have a shower or a bath that wasn’t in a public wash room. For those reasons and more, I have no respect or even admiration for the Steven Slaters of the world.

The people who I have to reserve judgment on are those people who were also on the passenger jet. What few people fail to acknowledge is that when Mr. Slater opened that door, he might not have known if the cabin was pressurized or not. If there was still cabin presser left-over from the flight, then he would have been sucked out the hatch-way when the door opened. Maybe even taking some people with him?

What’s more of a mystery is that there wasn’t someone like me on that flight that was flying with his children. Were it me on that flight, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be taking pictures of this man for use on The Fedora Chronicles, as funny as that might be. No, I would be the man not with a fedora and a camera. I would be the man with a fedora and broken off armrest beating him into submission: "You sit the f#$% down and get a grip!" Yes, I have used the threat of violence for behavior correction. And I have practice of violence to get it. Where were the men on this flight?

To paraphrase what I wrote earlier – Steven Slater is not the problem. Granted, he’s responsible for his own actions and mental health. But we also have to look at the society we live in. How is this acceptable or tolerated?

A final note… we’re less than a month away from another anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Thanks to this idiot, it’s been proven that passenger jets are neither safe nor secure. Happy flying!

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