Life Lessons

Americans use Guillotines (and so does United)

During the French revolution, there were so many people to be beheaded, the executioners’ axes would break. Worse, was when the blade became dull, one throw of the axe would not kill one instantly, leaving them to be wheezing in bloody agony “resting” your head on the cutting block. Thus the guillotine was invented.

The need for such swift and massive executions have passed, but a modern day reincarnation of this mid-evil device lives in the bowels of a flying monster we call the airplane.

Many airlines have adopted the adjustable head-rests on their first and business class cabins. They are a godsend to the tall and a silent guardian for those who tend to roll into their neighbor while asleep. Unfortunately, they are also a tool for those flight attendants to effect blinding pain to those who deserve it and some that don’t.

Fifteen minutes prior to landing, the inflight announcement will kindly ask you to stow your tray-table, lower your leg-rests, and return your seat-back into the upright position. At this time, flight attendants will come through the aisles picking up glasses and headphones. If you have forgotten to lower your head-rest but are still relaxing with your head on it, the flight attendants will swiftly arrive at your position and slam the head-rest down; giving you the “guillotine treatment”.

You will definitely know you have received such treatment when a lightning bolt runs down your spine and a lingering fireball lights up on your shoulders. This excruciating pain will stay with you for a few hours, probably throughout your business meeting in Paris, dinner with the diplomat, and until you finally fall asleep gritting your teeth in agony. Maybe you should even see a doctor.

The slamming action of the head-rest will exert about 100 lbs. of force on your neck and shoulders, making you wish you were dead. And this reenactment of the French revolution is performed routinely to passengers who have paid thousands of dollars to utilize the comforting nature of this device we call the “head-rest”.

So, the next time you fly first or business, pull that head-rest down before the minions of the sky get to you first. And if you are a flight attendant, remember this ultimate weapon.

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