Comedy of manners

It says something about the state of our nation when an airline has to tell us how to behave, but apparently that’s what it’s come to.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (corporate motto: “What luggage?”) now offers humorous videos instructing passengers how to act during flights. The animated videos, posted online and on flights, show passengers who behave badly, hogging armrests or bumping into others or letting their children shriek.

“We understand what you go through as a traveler,” Delta vice president of marketing Tim Mapes told The Associated Press. “These videos can reinforce, ‘Hey, you don’t want to be that guy.’”

The 25 videos are called “Planeguage: The Language of Traveling by Plane,” and include titles such as “Lav Dance,” about a passenger who bumps everyone along the aisle while returning from the bathroom, “Shady Lady,” which shows a woman who raises or closes her window shade without regard for others, and “Kidtastrophe,” which depicts unruly brats on a plane.

Experts say such basic instruction is necessary because more people are flying now than ever before, including thousands of first-timers who don’t know you’re not supposed to bring live chickens onto the plane.

Instructing these neophytes is more constructive than the reactions of veteran air travelers such as myself: Sighing and eye-rolling when the old lady in line at security says, “We have to take off our SHOES?” or the cowboy insists that his rodeo buckle always gets through metal detectors “Jes’ fine.”

Delta may be onto something here. Maybe we need humorous videos to teach people good manners in other aspects of life. Some suggestions:

“Dysfunction Junction” -- A video about maintaining proper boundaries while discussing family issues. Yeah, yeah, your childhood was terrible. Get over it.

“Hair Scare” -- In this video, women and young men with long hair are taught to pull it back into a ponytail at mealtimes rather than dip it in their soup.

“Hang Up” -- This humorous video shows a motorist chattering into a cell phone while mowing down pedestrians. Funny stuff.

“Shut Up and Eat Your Popcorn” -- This video could star Robert DeNiro in full “Taxi Driver” mode: “You talkin’ to me? You must be talkin’ to me, ‘cause you wouldn’t talk during the movie, right?”

“Queue” -- An animated video of stick figures standing in line, committing violations such as cutting, dallying or coughing on the necks of the persons in front of them. One stick figure corrects this behavior and enforces good manners -- with an ax. Hilarious.

“After You” -- A video about the proper etiquette of the four-way stop.

“Colonel Mustard in the Library” -- No one wants to find mystery stains or inked marginalia in a library book. Get a clue.

“Cracking Up” -- Keep your mouth closed while chewing gum. If you must crack your knuckles, go off someplace by yourself. And, while you’re at it, pull up your pants.

“Face Forward” -- An interactive video in which you get to twist around the heads of NFL quarterbacks who wear their sidelines caps backward.

“Thumpers” -- Rap music, big speakers, too much bass. Need I say more?

“Just Desserts” -- No one wants to hear about your new diet or how much you’ve lost.

“Spam I Am” -- Explores e-mail etiquette, and how users don’t want to hear from you, even if you really are Nigerian royalty.

“That’s Aroma!” -- If I can smell your perfume/after shave, you’re either wearing too much or standing too close.

1 comment:

Peter Rozovsky said...

"Stick It in Your Ear, Asshole" -- For jerks who listen to songs and song-length ring tones on their cell phones without sound-leakproof headphones.

"Revenge of the Cone of Silence" -- Keep your voice down, or watch what happens when I booby-trap your cell phone.
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