|You talkin' to me, gorgeous?|
Periodically, Die in a Fire must pause from administering its signature brand of vigilante justice to recognize a citizen soldier. An individual who has stared into the abyss and, not liking what he sees staring back, grabs a couple of beers, deploys the chute and rides off into our seething, malcontented hearts. These individuals must be singled out for their commitment to feckless rage and for embracing their inner-tantrum. And for providing delightful daydreams for the countless chicken shits out there who talk a big game (see authors of this blog) but at the end of each day go meekly into that good night.
We recognize Mr. Slater as our Profile in
CouRage for August. Not because he snapped like dry tinder in the Moscow suburbs, threw his career away and bitched out the passenger who epitomized what happens when you put Americans in cramped, enclosed spaces with other Americans. No, we recognize Mr. Slater for staging his epic flameout when the plane was already at the gate. And remember this was a Pittsburgh to NYC flight - what is that ninety minutes airtime tops? Can't imagine why he wasn't scheduled on international flights. Hello flash rage! Seven years in jail, or wait the ninety seconds for the plane to open normally? He chose jail...he chose jail! No one makes Stephen Slater bleed his own blood. No one puts Stephen Slater in a corner. No one.
Now some would argue that Mr. Slater is a criminal. Sure, technically. But since Mr. Slater jumped in his Jeep and drove home, he isn't a very good one. Some would argue that deploying an emergency chute endangered lives. Sure. But ask yourself during rush hour if you would really miss them. Some would argue that grabbing two beers is incredibly shortsighted...actually, here we can't argue with you. But Mr. Slater is his own crazy person, and sometimes crazy people think they're only going to need two beers after spontaneously and publicly quitting their entire industry. Sad but true.
Now a word of warning to you, Mr. Slater. The sad truth is you're going to die in a fire. Not by our hand (well at least not until you try and capitalize on your new found celebrity), but don't be mislead by this outpouring of support. Sure, there are already "Free Stephen Slater" T-Shirts for sale online. Yes, you've created quite a buzz and people are currently rallying around your Peter Finch-esque tirade against self-entitlement and mefirst-ism. Passenger behavior will be a hot topic on the Internet and cable news until, oh, Friday, but don't make the mistake of thinking this is about you. All you've done is given happy thoughts to a nation of cowards who dream of drawing such a showstopping line in the sand. That's it. But, right about the time you accept that invitation from Letterman to do a Top Ten list, right about the time the thirtieth parody/tribute video hits YouTube, right about the time South Park features you in yet another "oooh aren't we so topical" episode the worm is going to turn and that worm will have matches. Who knows, maybe you make it all the way to October, but the pop culture hipsters who dress up as you for Halloween will be your death knell.
Americans eat their own media creations (and Britain's, we're looking at you Susan Boyle). We're very efficient that way. So be careful how much you milk this. Keep your yapper shut and don't believe the hype. Eventually the irony of celebrating a guy who stood up to self-entitlement by deploying an emergency chute (thereby selfishly inconveniencing the rest of the passengers) will catch up with America. And on that day, it's going to get very flaming torches and pitchforks around your condo.