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If This Were a Movie, I'd be Dead Now
I write this from Nowitzki’s, Dirk Nowitzki’s restaurant in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, waiting for my order of loaded fries. Understand, I know loaded fries aren’t good for me, but I’m simply unwilling to pay $19 for a flatbread pizza, which also isn’t good for me. They’re unhealthy, but they’re affordable by comparison.
It’s a layover on the way to the National Funeral Directors Association International Convention and Expo where I’m speaking for the second, and surely the last, time. My topic this year is Improv for Funeral Directors. Last year’s was on humor and grief. They can’t let me keep doing this, right?
My fries just arrived, and they at least seem to be beer-battered, so that’s a plus. Now, let’s get to why, if Hollywood scripted my day, I would not be alive right now.
In Memphis, I was feeling uneasy about flying, not because I was afraid of crashing but afraid of puking which is a whole issue I won’t get into here. Waiting at the gate, the American Airlines app notified me we’d be boarding at 11:50 AM. It was 11:20. Then is was 11:45. Then it was 12:00. Then 12:10, and I was still sitting at the gate.
Finally, over the speaker, the nice lady at the door announced we’d be boarding. As I approached her to scan my boarding pass, she sounded frustrated on the phone.
“I don’t know. I just went down there, and the plane didn’t have power. Nobody even told me! I just went down there, and there was no power!”
Wait. Were we delayed because our plane, the one that was going to go up very high in the air, for a reason unknown to the professionals in charge, did not have electricity? And did she just blurt that out as we, the passengers with no control over anything once the plane got very high into the air, were being herded into the little tunnel to board the plane that didn’t have electricity? With no one there to tell me anything different, I could only assume that’s exactly what what happening. Suddenly I was a lot less concerned about puking.
(NOTE: These Dirk Nowitzki fries are pretty good. I’m glad the pizza was expensive.)
Now I’m on the plane in the front row of first class for the first time in my life. There were seats available, so I upgraded for, like, $50. I think we’d all agree I’m not normally first class material. The reason my positioning is worth mentioning is that it allowed me direct eye contact with the pilot while he welcomed us aboard. He looked to be about 20 from the hairline down. From the hairline up, he was a solid 40, so I split the difference and assumed he was 30. Trying to guess this man’s age, I missed everything he said, but then his tone changed catching my attention. He sounded wistful and sentimental in an almost jarring way.
“This will be my last flight with American Eagle Airlines before moving up to the larger American Airlines. I’ve been with this airline six years—started at 23 as a young man with a dream of moving up to my dream airline by the time I was 30, and that’s what I’m about to do.”
First, he’s 29, so I was real close.
Second, imagine that level of foreshadowing in a movie, and tell me that plane’s not going STRAIGHT INTO THE GROUND.
I guess Randall and Doris Patrick are on the flight today celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary, and it’s the first time for both to fly on a plane, or We also have some extra precious cargo on board because little Delaney Morrison is in Dallas right now waiting for a transplant, and we’re happy to be entrusted with her new heart, or Sgt. Chadwick Tucker’s first child was born while he was deployed, and he’s with us today going home to meet his three-year-old son for the first time, were just too on-the-nose.
Thankfully, this is real life—no twists, no drama—so I got to land safely, experience a Dallas Maverick legend’s loaded cheese fries, and then head to Vegas to hang out with funeral professionals for a few days.