Thursday, October 15, 2009

I’m on a Plane with Bob Costas and We’re All Gonna Die

Every time I fly I have comedian Ron White’s voice in my head, telling the story of a plane flight he was on.

We had engine trouble and lost some oil pressure…. Everybody on the plane was nervous but I’d been drinking since lunch and I was like, “Take us down, I don’t care.” Hit something hard, I don’t wanna limp away from this thing. The guy sitting next to me is losing his mind – apparently, he had a lot to live for. He said, “Hey man, if one of the engines fail, how far will the other one take us?”

“All the way to the scene of the crash. Which is pretty handy ‘cause that’s where we’re headin’. I bet we beat the paramedics by a half-hour. We’re haulin’ ass.”

Which is pretty much my way of looking at it. The only difference between me and Ron White is a couple of decades and points on a sobriety test. On my August 1 trip to New York City from Chicago, I flew on Jet Blue. The most surprising thing was a crowd gathering around what turned out to be a celebrity. A celebrity? On my flight? How quaint. A woman next to me asked who it was, and though this person’s back was turned by his profile I was able to correctly guess that it was sports commentator Bob Costas. If you don't know, Bob Costas has an adorable, Parkinson's-free Michael J. Fox thing going for him. I’ll say this about the man, if anyone could get me to love the Great American Naptime that is professional baseball, it’s Bob Costas: that man can make golf tolerable. Costas also has one of the best lines in cinema.

It was a strange experience seeing Bob there, because even though I get star struck easily, I had already met him. The only sensation stranger than meeting a celebrity is meeting a celebrity and feeling like it is old hat. I can only imagine that the coolest thing about personally knowing celebrities is being able to talk about them prosily. After seeing him, it struck me that if I had died in a plane crash, I would suddenly claim a tiny modicum of fame by proxy; suddenly, I would have died in the flight Bob Costas died on. My family could even refer to it that way. “When did your son die, Mrs. Minnihan?” “It was a couple years ago…well, you know the flight that famous sports announcer died on?”

But to my chagrin the plane landed just fine, as you could probably ascertain by now. If I ever did die in a crash of some sort, I do hope someone writes a famous song about me. On a related note, I just watched the movie Josie and the Pussycats and loved it! It totally exceeded my expectations. A funny clip can be seen here. If the pilot and crew had decided to ditch the plane, it would be great if they had said the line “take the Chevy to the levy” (5:17).

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