Monday, April 26, 2010

"I Gotta Use The Can"

"I gotta use the can."  Until yesterday I hadn't heard that expression in maybe 10 or 20 years.  On reflection, I suppose I thought it might have been merely a 1970s sitcom idiom, spoken by the likes of Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple or by Archie Bunker, but not used in the real world.

As I was boarding a flight from Chicago to California last night, however, the guy in the row in front of me said that loudly to his wife within seconds after they found their seats. And with that, off he went to the bathroom, struggling past the crowd of other boarding passengers standing in the aisle. Then I noticed later during the flight that he was intently reading a book which looked like a paperback textbook.  On the open page was a bolded heading that said, "Identify and Bring Attention To Islamic Action." He had a yellow highlighter in his hand and this phrase had been highlighted repeatedly.  He also appeared to have crossed out the capital "I" in "Islamic" by hand with a pen.

Having now briefly described this scene to you, would you be able to guess: his ethnicity (Afro-Caribbean? No.  Hmong? No....); his age (Was he a so-called "millenial"?  No.  Generation X? Nah.....).  And if you further guessed that within seconds of the plane taking off he would throw on a neck pillow and ease his seat back for the entire flight, you'd be right....

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