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Yes, Steven Slater, the freaked-out JetBlue flight attendant, went over the top when he picked up the mic and called out nasty names for the passenger who kept dragging her bag down from the bins, when she’d been told to stay in her seat, just like the rest of the rule-obeying passengers on the flight.

Yes, Steven Slater was wrong. But wouldn’t you have liked to be him, just for that moment? It’s a moment out of Airplane, or Airplane II. (I cherish the image, unsafe and unwarranted though it may be, of Slater grabbing a beer, punching the button, and sliding down the safety chute.)

You know the moment. It’s the moment when the jerk sitting next to you won’t turn off the his (or her) cell phone, even though the flight attendant has said, repeatedly, “Please turn off all cell phones.” It’s the moment when, although the flight attendants have said, “Please remain in your seats until the plane has safely reached the gate,” some jerk gets up and starts jerking his (or her) bag out of the bin, even before the cabin lights have been turned on.

I’m not apologizing for Steven Slater, whom I’ve never met. I know flight attendants can be rude, beyond words; and I know Steven Slater faces felony charges, so I’m not taking sides in the case.

Steven Slater, and his passenger, certainly ate up a lot of time for everybody. Didn’t they?

And they still do. Don’t they?

Neither of them followed the rules, remotely precisely.

But still — although he’s out of a job — don’t you envy Steven Slater?

Just a tiny bit?

— John


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