Wednesday, August 11, 2010


My life is moving pretty slowly these days, (the main project I’m working on is trying to read Thomas Pynchon’s masterpiece, Gravity’s Rainbow) so since I’ve got little content to draw upon, I guess I’ll weigh in on Steven Sender, the JetBlue flight attendant who cursed out a passenger on the intercom and then departed by the emergency chute.

Like pretty much anyone else I’ve talked to, I mostly applaud the guy, especially the part where he grabbed two beers before exiting the plane; I guess I’m a little off-put about his lack of concern over the danger (and cost) of dropping the emergency chute, but what the hell; if you’re going to go out in a blaze of glory, you may as well throw caution to the wind altogether.

Obviously, whats captured the public’s attention about the event is how Sender’s actions represent a fantasy that lots of people have—the ultimate “you can’t fire me, I quit!” moment many folks dream about.

In my own job, as a college teacher, I’ve yet to achieve the level of frustration that pushed Sender over the edge, but I could sort of imagine what it might be like.

It would probably occur around the seventh week of the quarter, that time of the year when everyone, students, instructors, and administrators alike are all exhausted and stressed-out; it would probably be winter and have been raining for like two weeks straight; I’d be talking about some philosopher I admire, maybe John Stuart Mill; students wouldn’t have done the reading, and would be sitting there all bored-looking and blank-staring; the final straw would be something like a couple kids hiding behind their laptops updating their Facebook pages or watching a YouTube video, and suddenly, I’d snap!

I might not swear at the class, but I could imagine getting pretty snarky and mean; unfortunately, our classrooms don’t have emergency escape slides, but perhaps I could pull the fire alarm, at least.


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