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Humor at altitude

We are at 36,000 feet. There’s something fascinating about a very thin young man methodically emptying his nose while concentrating on a video on his phone. If I hadn’t had fun with the man boarding behind me wearing salmon colored shorts, it might not have been quite as funny. His daughter was in line ahead of me, anguishing over the shorts and I advised that the fashion police had left the airport an hour earlier, so it didn’t matter. This amusing preface made the nose exploration that much funnier.

Flying is inherently stressful, and I observe the habits of those who experience that stress or are oblivious to it. The man sitting immediately to my right appears not to be affected. He’s about 7’2” and 300 lbs. He has no idea that his personal space does not include 10” of my seat allocation.

He’s fallen asleep, so I don’t see that status changing. If by some miracle he awakes and offers an apology, I will smile and indicate that I am losing weight and was practicing the state of smallness.

If you’ve experienced the grumpy, unpleasant or whiny fellow passenger, you know that he or she can ruin the early (or advanced) stages of your travel adventure. Because I will do everything not to be that person, I do what I can to insert some levity.

Before boarding, a person at the adjacent food court table asked to where I was traveling. My response was, “A real hot-spot – Cleveland.” Needless to say, I don’t want to offend a Clevelandian. But no-one will ever mistake it for Venice or Cabo San Lucas.

A man ahead of me in line was displaying sunburn acquired at a recent sporting endeavor. After I commiserate, I ask if he had been tied to the ground over an anthill. He laughed and said no, after which I recommended a body cast for his next competition.

Most of us have the ability to bring levity to an otherwise difficult situation. While no-one will ever suggest that I pursue a career in stand-up comedy, I’m glad to help a few people smile. Shalom.

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