Sunday, November 4, 2007

Breaking the Code

It was half-way through the mission, sitting in the right seat, 30,000 feet up when it hit him, that awful feeling of urgency.

"Man, I knew I shouldn't have eaten Italian last night. I have GOT to go," he thought to himself.

Turning to the Aircraft Commander, he said, "Boss, take the aircraft, will ya? I've got to see a man about a dog."

Taking the controls, the aircraft's pilot said, "I've got it, new guy. Just make sure you don't break the code."

"Break the code, what's that?"

A bemused look spread across the pilot's face.

"You know - break the code - drop the boys off at the pool, give birth to a fighter jock, take a dump, whatever. Didn't anyone teach you about breaking the code during training?"

Pilots can be so very colorful.

He continued.

"If you break the code, you'll stink up the airplane. Our lav doesn't flush, got it? Break the code, new guy, and you get to buy the crew a case of beer when we get back to base. Oh, and one more thing? You get to carry off all the bags of sh** when everyone else follows your lead."

"You're kidding, right?" the new guy replied in disbelief. "There's no "code."

The pilot just turned in disgust.

As the new guy was leaving the cockpit, headed for the aircraft's lavatory, the pilot said after him, "Okay, whatever you say. Just don't tell me later that I didn't warn you."

He handed the new guy a garbage bag and some paper.

"Here, you'll need this."

Leaving the cockpit, the new guy made his way towards the rear of the aircraft and the lavatory. As he headed towards the lav, he passed the rest of the airplane's crew seated at their stations. Spying the bag in his hand, they turned to each other, pointed at him and smiled.

"What are they grinning at?" he wondered.

Shrugging it off, the new guy entered the lav and closed the door after him.

Just as he was finishing his business, he heard the pilot come on the airplane"s Public Address System.

"Attention, this is your Captain speaking. Lieutenant New Guy is buying the first round when we get back to base."

Through the door came the raucous sound of applause, accompanied by hooting and laughing.

The new guy opened the door and stepped out of the lavatory. There was a line of men starting to form at the door.

"My turn, now. Thanks, Lieutenant," the first one in line said to New Guy with a grin. "I'll have something for you in just a few minutes."

The rest of the line chimed in, "Us too. Oh, and Lieutenant? We drink Budweiser."

Everyone burst out laughing.

Lieutenant New Guy slinked back towards the cockpit, a disgusting task and the cost of a case of beer now awaiting him at mission's end.

Lieutenant New Guy would later become The Flying Curmudgeon.

When The Flying Curmudgeon was a pilot in the military, he flew long-range aircraft. As such, he spent a lot of time stuck in a tube with a lot of other people.

It was not unusual for Yours Truly to fly 10 or 12 hour missions, along with 20 or 30 other crew members, depending on the mission.

When one spends that much time stuck in a tube with that many people, one gets to know those other folks a lot better than one wants to, if you know what TFC means.

The same thing can be said about commercial aircraft.

Apparently, there are some folks that feel they haven't gotten the most out of their travel dollar if they don't race into the lavatory as soon as they board and leave a "calling card" for the rest of their fellow passengers to "enjoy."

The funny part is, when they have finished their "business" and proudly step out in front of God and country, they seem perfectly oblivious to what everyone else is experiencing.

At that moment, everyone knows exactly who the offender is.

Often, this occurs after a long delay at the gate. As such, the culprit's fellow passengers are painfully aware he could have spared them the entire malodorous experience, had he done his "business" back in the terminal restroom.

And this is not the exclusive territory of men.

The Flying Curmudgeon has witnessed some of the most attractive, petite females step out of the lavatory after committing this offense.

Unlike the aircraft TFC was flying in the military, commercial aircraft are equipped with flushing toilets. How can The Flying Curmudgeon put this next part delicately? Flushing doesn't always completely eliminate the evidence, okay?

When you've got to go, you've got to go. Let's face it.

However, take some advice from The Flying Curmudgeon. If at all possible, leave the aircraft lavs for #1, or for joining The Mile High Club.

Your fellow passengers will thank you.


P.S. - if you've got to, take a tip from TFC - line the bowl with paper first.

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