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What hath Steven Slater wrought?BY: Dan Rottenberg 08.24.2010
Are you as inspired as I am by the dramatic resignation of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater? Let’s consider how other frustrated service workers might follow his example.
A role model for our time:
News item: After 20 years as a flight attendant, Steven Slater became a folk hero to millions of service workers this month when he found a uniquely dramatic way to quit his job. As his arriving JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh was taxiing to its gate at Kennedy Airport in New York, Slater turned on the intercom, cursed the passengers, grabbed two beers from the galley and then exited the plane by deploying the emergency chute.
“That’s it, I’m done,” were the last words the passengers heard from Slater before he slid down the chute to the tarmac, ran to his car and drove off into the sunset (or at least his apartment in Queens).
The trouble apparently started when an impatient passenger jumped up to grab her luggage before the seatbelt sign was turned off, then reportedly ignored Slater when he told her to sit down. When Slater again told the passenger to sit down, he was hit in the head with her falling bag. When he asked her to apologize, she responded with a foul refusal, according to reports.
“I’ve been thinking of doing that for years,” Slater told the New York Times afterward.
Are you as inspired as I am by Slater’s response? Let’s consider the possibilities…
MONTCLAIR, N.J.— Eleanor McSwaggle, a veteran nurse at the Pleasant Acres senior intensive care center, became a folk heroine to millions of health care workers when she quit her job in spectacular fashion, cursing her patients over the public-address system and switching off their resuscitators before driving off in the facility’s mini-van.
“I’ve been shat on for the last time!” McSwaggle reportedly shouted. “From now on you can clean up your own feces!”
McSwaggle apparently cracked after a demented 103-year-old patient asked her the same question 26 times in a row, then called her a “stinking doodyhead” when she failed to reply on the 27th time.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.— Dr. Otto Schwenk, a respected psychiatrist, became an instant folk hero to millions of therapists when he interrupted a group session by dumping his goldfish bowl on one of his clients, grabbing his golf clubs and vanishing.
“Who gives a shit about your problems?” Dr. Schwenk reportedly told the group before flying off in his private helicopter. “What about my problems? Goodbye and good luck!”
PHILADELPHIA— Richard Sprague, wily lion of Philadelphia’s criminal defense bar, became a folk hero to millions of courtroom litigators worldwide when he dramatically quit his practice by challenging the prosecuting attorney to “step outside in the hallway where we can settle this like real men.”
When Judge Angel Santiago warned Sprague that he could be held in contempt, the 85-year-old litigator replied, “You can take your subpoena duces tecum and stick it where the sun don’t shine! I’m outta here!”
BEAUMONT, Texas— Mother Katharine Drexel became an instant folk hero to millions of teachers when she dramatically quit her job after more than 50 years spent building a nationwide network of schools to educate poor blacks and native Americans.
The boiling point apparently came when Mother Katharine’s mischievous seventh-grade students showered her with spitballs after she turned her back on them to write on the blackboard.
“I gave up a fortune to teach turkeys like you?” the former Philadelphia banking heiress shouted. “Fuhgeddaboutit!” Then, announcing, “Class dismissed, for the rest of your worthless lives!” she drove off in the school bus, leaving the children to walk home.
“I’ve been thinking about doing that for years,” Mother Katharine told the New York Times later that week.
VATICAN CITY— Pope Benedict XVI, under increasing pressure over the Church’s priestly sex abuse scandal, became an instant folk hero to religious leaders when he dramatically quit his job by mooning more than 1 million supplicants gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“So you want my blessing?” the pontiff shrieked at the astonished crowd from his balcony. “All right, you asked for it: You can all go straight to hell!” Then he doffed his priestly vestments, slid down a drainpipe and vanished into the crowd.
JUNEAU, Alaska— Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate who electrified her party’s campaign in 2008, resigned as Alaska’s governor in a dramatic decision that has fuelled speculation she is positioning herself to run for president.
In an at times rambling speech, Palin compared herself to battle-wounded American soldiers in Kosovo and said only dead fish go with the flow. Palin also repeated a quote she attributed to General Douglas MacArthur: “We are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction.”
On second thought, scratch that last item. Who on earth would believe it?
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