The Stupidest Fish In The River

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”



Most of the time, about 90 percent, in this blob we look at stupid humans and the various ways we interact with them and they themselves interact with society.

Sometimes these incidents have involved animals and other species. But animals and the rest can be dumb in their own right and do dumb things.

A while ago one of my posts, “Care To Dance”, featured, let’s say a less than successful but very funny fisherman called Bill Dance from Tennessee

If Bill had just gone to the Wabash River in Indiana he might have been a lot more successful with his catch!

Have a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean.






Tarzan Takes A Vacation

“Fight Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


I used to be friends with a guy from Northern Ireland. We are going back thirty years here so quite a while ago. We’ve lost touch since as you tend to do with some if not most acquaintances.

This story is about his Dad.

As you may or may not know the weather in Ireland is awful. Cold, wet, windy, rains every day with a ‘y’ in it, or so the locals say. One traveler from Africa once remarked that it was like living under an elephant!

The result has been a continual decline in vacation resorts, towns and villages there. People still come for the golf, there is renewed interest in that with the recent success of Rory McIlroy and Darren Clark. But on the whole the locals prefer to get away for one or two weeks to a location with at least the chance of a bit of heat and sunshine.

But in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the period in which this story is set, foreign travel was a fairly new phenomenon for most ordinary people.

But my friend’s father and mother thought it would be a nice and different break for them and they booked two weeks in the south of Spain.

They arrived without incident, booked in to their hotel and that first night just had a meal in the hotel restaurant and went to bed. Traveling is always tiring.

The next day they partook of the buffet breakfast that most of the touristy hotels in Spain provide and after that went back to their room, got their towels and creams and so forth, and headed for the beach, which was only about 100 yards or so from the hotel.

My friend’s mother lay down on a towel to take some rays, as they say, and his father who wasn’t really the type of guy who liked to lay about all day, got a beach chair from which he had a better vantage point to survey the beach and sea activities.

We’ll never know whether it was the heat, or just the sight of bare heaving glistening continental bosoms, (they are not a bit bashful in some parts of Europe), but after about half an hour on the beach it all became too much for my friend’s Dad. All of sudden, without any warning whatsoever, he jumped out of his beach chair, started to yell like Tarzan, beating his chest at the same time, and ran towards the Mediterranean Sea.

There was a slight slope in the beach and by the time he had reached the water he had built up a considerable head of steam. His momentum took him quite a bit into the water, not quite waist deep but getting there.

Now, I should say that the Med is no Pacific Ocean, but there are nevertheless waves and as everyone knows the seventh is usually bigger than those preceding it.

And just when my friend’s father reached about as deep as he could on his feet he decided to dive through the next wave, which was a relatively big one. According to his wife, who was looking as this spectacle with more than a little bemusement, he was still doing his version of a Tarzan yell and beating his chest. And so into the sea he dived still yelling and open mouthed.

I forgot to tell you he wore dentures, which is rather crucial to the rest of the story.

Yes, when the wave passed and he resurfaced not a tooth of any kind had he in his mouth.

Of course he frantically searched for both sets of gnashers.

I love watching when people who don’t know how to dive underwater try it. Their ass goes way up in the air, their head maybe six inches or a foot under, and then after maybe two or three seconds they re-emerge gasping and spluttering as if they’ve just been down to the bottom of sea. I imagine that’s what he did.

But you know what the sea is like. Both sets of false teeth were long gone, never to be found again.

I have heard tell of people packing extra underwear, or shoes (hey ladies), or even glasses as emergency back-ups. But I have never heard of anyone packing an extra set of teeth.

My friend’s father wasn’t to be the first one to do it and so he had to spend the next twelve and a half days of his vacation completely toothless, only able to eat soft mushy stuff and soup, but having to avoid the juicy steaks completely.

And he looked like a prat, maybe not quite as bad as the photo below but you get the idea.




Be Very Careful How You Grab A Granny

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


I think the moral of this blog post is, if you have to grab a granny at all then be very careful how you do it; and if you do do it hang on as tightly as you can no matter how much she struggles.

It rather strange advice I know, but there is a reason for giving it.

First of all, here’s granny Lucerne.


As you can see she is in good spirits. I don’t know whether she had a bucket list, but one of the things that this 80 year old granny wanted to do and had been planning for a decade was to skydive.

As for myself, it has never been an ambition of mine to jump out of an airplane that wasn’t in trouble. Although I would much rather that they would stick a parachute under my seat on an airplane instead of a bit of glorified polystyrene, I mean on a flight from L.A. to New York for example how much ocean is there to be worried about?

But back to 80 year old granny Lucerne. For a while everything went well. She was very happy and excited by the prospect of her first skydive parachute jump.


The trouble started when she got to the door of the small plane and peered outside at planet earth below.


As her skydiving buddy, to whom she was attached, also tried to push through the open door ready for the jump, granny’s reluctance turned to panic.


She was heard shouting “No”, but by that time it was too late, the whole process had gained its own momentum.


And out they tumbled.


And tumbled, and tumbled, plummeting earthwards at an accelerating rate


By now granny must have been in a blind panic because instead of relaxing and going with her skydiving buddy, she flailed about and started to slip out of the harness that was holding them together. Remember just the buddy had the chute.


The next few shots show just how far out the harness her struggling had caused her to slip. By the way, the hand in the bottom left of the photo belongs to the photographer who had realized what was happening and guided himself over to them to try to help.


Another photo also showing just how far out of the harness granny had managed to wriggle.


Eventually her skydiving buddy gets the chute opened. (He has got a complete right leg in case you’re wondering, it’s just the angle of the photo!)


And with granny held in what had to be a vice like grip they both made it to the ground, a little worse for wear but thankfully, alive.


And here’s the video.


Never Hitch Your Wagon To Another Man’s Horse

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


Strangely this blog post is neither about wagons nor horses, but I thought the title was catchy. It is related though, I haven’t reached the stage yet where I have to deceive people into reading my blog.

This post is about Chief Petty Officer Roman Styles, U.S. Coast Guard Station, Jacksonville, Florida who decided to repair some damaged shingles on the roof of his house himself, instead of paying a contractor to do it for him.

Ever conscious about the dangers of working at heights and on sloping shingles in particular, Chief Petty Officer Styles tied a safety rope to the trailer hitch of his truck prior to climbing up on his steep roof. Then, once he had climbed up to the peak of his roof he secured the other end of the line around his waist and slid over the top of the roof to repair the shingles.

So far so good. He started his repairs.

As luck would have it, bad luck that is, shortly after he started to work, his teenage son called for a ride home from a Boy Scout trip. Mr Styles’ wife, Jane, took the call and went straight out of the house, got into the truck and yelled to her husband that she’d be back right away.

“I didn’t see the rope,” Mrs. Styles said later, “until I saw it in the rear-view mirror. By then I was half-way down the street.”

Bill Schlimm, a next door neighbor, said, “I’ll never forget the look on Roman’s face as he came sailing over the peak of that house. If it hadn’t been for that tall cedar tree he would have been really hurt.”

After realizing what had happened, but not before she had dragged her poor husband quite a ways down the street, Mrs Styles summoned emergency help.

Mr Styles’ bad luck was compensated by the good luck that he only had to be treated for a slight concussion and a few scrapes and bruises.



Lost In Transit

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”



I wrote a little while ago about Tommy who got lost in the fog in a field beside his own house, and about Thomas Nutall the worst explorer in the world. Well, sense of direction, or the lack thereof, has come up many times in my journeys.

I used to travel on business with a guy called “Bill”. Bill was a nice man, old-school, good manners, fairly prim and proper I suppose you would say. He was in his seventies when I got to know him and worked along with him.

He should have been retired from business but he had a wife who sounded a lot better from a considerable distance and luckily she was not unhappy about getting rid of him for a while – as often as possible as it turns out!

Anyway, domestic bliss aside, Bill made frequent plane trips which obviously meant using airports.

Getting him on to a plane usually wasn’t so bad, although if he stopped to buy something or talk to somebody and you walked on without him, he would always be the last man on to the plane.

But the real fun was when Bill got off the plane. Even on short trips, where the gin and tonics hadn’t been flowing in his direction.

Actually, I’ll come back to that in a moment – I’d forgotten about this until I started to write this blog post.

Bill even got lost once inside the airplane itself. I mean actually inside the airplane! Can you believe it?

He had got up, I presume to go to the bathroom – no, hang on, I absolutely refuse to call what they have on airplanes a “bathroom”; for a start there’s no “bath”, and for another thing there’s no “room” either; it’s a “toilet”, and a small one at that, okay! And for another thing why are they always so small, whether you are on a huge 747 Jumbo jet (I haven’t yet been on one of those Airbus monsters) or a piddly small 737, the toilets are still the same size. All for the sake of being able to offer a couple of extra seats to keep more passengers total discomfort. End rant. Sorry about that, back to today’s blog.

As I was saying, he had got up, I presume to go to the bathroom. There had been a queue at the toilet closest to where Bill was sitting, so he wandered to another one on the far side, and at the back, of the plane (it was 747, small toilets but a big plane!)

But when he opened the door and walked out he didn’t know where he was! I mean, he knew where he was, he knew he was on a plane, but he didn’t know where his seat was and he couldn’t remember the number. And his routine was to put boarding passes, tickets and other paperwork neatly away in his carry on bag before take-off, so he had nothing to refer to.

He had a walk round first class and was gently ushered out of it by a polite, but firm, flight attendant, before he managed to make his way up the stairs. He inspected business class but saw nothing familiar. Then he spent the next twenty minutes walking up and down the wrong aisle looking for his seat in coach.

I watched what was going on. But I didn’t help him out. And I kept my head down so that he wouldn’t see me. We were sitting together and I didn’t want to give him a clue as to where to look. It was too funny and I was enjoying it, much better that whatever film they were showing at the time. And I knew there was a limit to where he could go.

After a good half hour he showed up.

“You were away for a while,” I said when he got back.

“I didn’t feel too well,” he told me. “And I went to ask one of the flight attendants for some water and an aspirin.”

“Oh?” I answered. “I though maybe you’d got lost or something.”

“No, no, nothing like that.”

I just left it, he’d already given me enough entertainment. He went to sleep and that was it until we landed.


Which is actually what I started to say in the first place. Bill was just a normal bloke when the airplane doors opened and everyone started to funnel out into the terminal. It was when he got out into the open that the fun started.

For some strange reason Bill invariably took off like a bullet. And always in the completely wrong direction. If he was going for a connecting flight he headed for baggage claim and the exit. If he was at his journey’s end he headed for connecting flights. And all at top speed.

The first few times I tried to run after him, but it was hard work, he had a remarkable turn of speed for an older man. After that I just let him run wherever he thought he was going. Once he even walked from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at Heathrow airport, and back again, and that is quite a distance despite what the airport brochures tell you. It was perhaps fortunate that he didn’t get on the underground train and end up in the middle of London somewhere.

By the way, when an airport brochure says “close” reckon on at least half a mile or more, and if have lots of luggage that’s a long way.

Remarkably though, he always turned up – eventually. He never said what had happened or where he had been. And I never asked, so I don’t know.

I’m certain that made two of us!



Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.

The Worst Airport Greeting In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


This is a sort of follow on from yesterday’s blog about Mr Nicholas Scotti, the worst tourist in the world.

Today’s is about Mrs Josephine Williams and her family, who in 1975 went to meet a long-lost brother at Heathrow Airport (London).

Eventually the traveller wandered into the airport lounge, greatly relaxed by the in-flight drinking facilities, and was immediately smothered with the kisses of Mrs Williams and her sisters.

“Gee, this is great,” he kept saying, all the while cuddling Mrs Williams in a manner which she later described as “not like a brother.”

His enthusiasm for British hospitality was modified, however, when Mr Williams shook his hand firmly and ushered him to a parked car.

They first suspected that something might be amiss when their long-lost relative tried to jump out of the car while travelling at speed up the motorway.

When told that he was being taken to a family reunion in Coventry, he replied, “Take my money. Here’s my wallet. Take it and let me go.”

Slumped miserably in the front seat, he added, “This is the first time I have been to England and I am being kidnapped.”

“I thought from the beginning he wasn’t my brother,” Mrs Williams said later, “but my sisters wouldn’t listen. They said I was only twelve when he left for America and wouldn’t remember.”

They had taken home a complete stranger!  I don’t know if they ever met up with their brother or not.


Airline Announcements And George Carlin

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

Today we seem to be back on the subject of travel again. It has a way of cropping up quite a bit.

This time it’s another video presentation, part of a routine by comedian and life observer George Carlin.

I was always a big fan of George Carlin. I didn’t agree with a lot of the things that he said, and he never refrained from using strong language when he wanted to, but he had a great gift for seeing the funny side of life, and for that I was grateful. Too often we get too frustrated and angry at the idiots we have to deal with and miss the ridiculous absurdity of what is happening around us. Not George.

Sadly George is no longer with us, but his work lives on.

*** WARNING: As usual if you are likely to be offended by strong language, then perhaps you should give this one a miss, otherwise, enjoy!

A Day When I Didn’t Feel A Tit!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


We’re back on travel today. Sort of. Well it’s about an incident that occurred while I was traveling. A lot of noteworthy incidents seem to happen in and around airports and plane journeys, not sure exactly why. This one is about the impractical things some people wear on airplanes.

Ok, ok, so it’s actually about breasts. Traveling breasts, but breasts. You just knew there had to be one, right?

This may upset some female readers (I know not why) but it is a fact of life that men like to look at womens’ breasts. I mean, when do men ever do anything, be it a blog, or a book, or a movie, or just a walk down the street and not take an interest in female mammary glands?

Even men with big boobs of their own, will still look at womens’ boobs, and even at women with smaller boobs than theirs. Similarly, men with little boobs will look at women with little boobs too, and big ones, and medium sized ones. And men with no boobs at all will look at women with boobs of all sizes and descriptions.

On behalf of men everywhere I feel obliged to point out that this fascination we have is not our fault, in fact it’s not a fault at all. It’s just a natural instinct residing inside every healthy heterosexual male.

Some women like to complain about it, but if they don’t want them admired why spend so much time and money pushing them up, pointing them out, paying for implants and using all the other mechanical aids and devices that has made the fashion industry $billions?

And before there is a burst of protest over that last statement, please remember that women have their own fascination…. with men’s butts. Only, because us men haven’t got eyes in the back of our heads, we can’t see them doing it so we don’t get annoyed or feign annoyance. Not that we would in any case. We’d just be grateful for the attention.

And it has to be said, there are a lot of men who also admire women’s butts too. But the women never see the faces we make when we are having a look. I bet they’d love to now! (Did I just say “we”? Oh dear!).

So we’ve established that today’s blog is about breasts, or boobs as they are called these days. Just one boob in fact, but a very nice one.


Actually, I’ve just thought of another justification for this story on my blog. “Boob” used to be a word that meant stupid people, or to do something stupid. Years ago anyone could say, “Hey, I made a boob,” and everyone knew what they were talking about. Now only a cosmetic surgeon can use that line and still illicit the same understanding response. But back to the story.


It was on a flight from Las Vegas to New York, New York. Because of the time difference it was a night flight arriving early the next morning at JFK. I was in my usual aisle seat and in the window seat was a woman approaching middle age and trying very hard not to look it. She was wearing a pair of tight denim jeans and a very, very low cut V-neck cardigan. I think it had sleeves, I’m not sure, my attention was elsewhere. Yes, she had large beasts. We were in double-D grand canyon territory at least. Quite a lot was showing thanks to the V-neck, and the whole stack appeared to be bra-less (that is an important fact to remember for the rest of this blog).

So that was okay. We both got seated, buckled up, listened to the safety speech and took off more or less on time. It was dark and after refreshments were handed out, which happened quite quickly after take-off, the lights in the cabin were dimmed and the windows shut to allow any passengers who wanted to, to sleep.

The woman beside me turned on her overhead light and began to read a novel she had taken from her bag. For a short while I read over a few of the papers I had with me for a meeting the following morning. Then I turned out my light and sat back to try to, if not sleep, at least relax for a bit. I knew I had lots of time to finish reading my stuff later.

Apparently I dozed off, I can’t remember for how long, but when I wakened later most of the other passengers also looked as if they were asleep or trying to get some rest. I unbuckled my seatbelt to change position slightly after having slid down in the seat a bit while asleep. That was ok, not a big operation, and I tried to do it as gently as possible so as not to disturb anyone close to me. Then I re-buckled my seatbelt.

In my efforts to check that I hadn’t disturbed anyone I turned my head to the left to see if the woman beside me was still reading her book. Her light was still on.

It was a simple act, but as many simple acts do, it had consequences. Not the kind that changed my life or anything like that, but the kind that certainly changed the flight completely. I never did finish reading my papers.

The woman had fallen asleep as well and was still sleeping. The book she had been reading hadn’t quite fallen out of her hand, but was resting on her legs. Her head and the top half of her body had slumped downwards and a little bit in my direction, which was fine because there was no one in the middle seat so there was lots of room.

But her left breast which had originally been showing a little bit, tittilatingly one might say (groan!), was now almost half the way outside her cardigan.

Before I continue, I should rush to my own defence here and preface this next bit by saying that long night flights in particular are very boring if you’re not lucky enough to get to sleep. I had been asleep for a while, but there was very little chance now of me repeating my slumber. There was only one thing to do.

You see I had become fascinated by what was happening. There wasn’t a stirring in my loins or anything like that, she wasn’t my type, and anyway these days boobs are on show all over the place. This was more of an intellectual “I wonder what’s going to happen next” kind of fascination.

This included, of course, an overwhelming urge to look, not once, but frequently. Always quickly glancing back to see if anyone else was watching, not her, but rather, me watching her. They weren’t so that was ok.

There were lots of permutations going through my head, but the three main ones were:

A. Would it simply fall all the way out?

B. Would it see its shadow, like the groundhog, and scurry back into place again, signifying another six more weeks of winter?


C. Would the woman waken up, realize what had happened and quickly rectify the situation?

Unlike Bill Murray, I hadn’t time to learn how to play the piano. In fact I hadn’t long to wait at all. The plane hit some fairly strong turbulence, and it was door number ‘A’ that opened.

Yes, another quarter or more jostled out to join the half already exposed, so now almost all of this woman’s left boobie was on show to the world. Well, in truth the world wasn’t paying attention, but it was on show to me.

Now, as most women and men know there is an unspoken law, what you might call a ‘titti protocol’. This law states that women don’t usually mind (in fact they like??) strangers, particularly men to look and admire the top part of their breasts. The sides are okay too. Clevage in the middle, positively encouraged. But the, shall we say more sensitive, nipple area is out of bounds (without prior permission, that is).

Well there beside me on the plane, out of bounds or not, the whole shebang was out there. The turbulence earlier hadn’t even stirred the woman let alone wakened her, so there was a good chance she was going to sleep for a while.

What to do?

Was there a solution to the problem?

Was there even a problem?

You know how, these days, identity theft has become a big thing. People are constantly being warned to burn or at least shred any mail and paperwork that may have details about them, because when your rubbish is outside the bounds of your home waiting for collection it is deemed to be in the public domain.

You know what’s coming next.

Yes, that’s right. I was sitting there debating whether this rule applied to wayward boobies. Now that this one had made its way independently outside the bounds of this woman’s cardigan was it, or was it not, in the public domain?

The Good Samaritan in me felt obliged to cup my hand and gently set it back inside her top. On my other shoulder however was another voice telling me what I should really be doing was to leave it alone and just enjoy the view.

In the end I decided it was one of those heads I would lose and tails I would lose as well situations.

If I tried to help, and took matters into my own hands, or hand in this case, and she woke up during the procedure would she think I was pushing it back inside her cardigan, or in some pervy way pulling more of it out to get a better look. Maybe I would get the blame for pulling it out in the first place! Either way I doubted very much if gratitude would have been her first reaction.

But then a stewardess came walking down the aisle checking seatbelts and so forth. When she got to my seat I stopped her, indicating the problem. She was highly amused at the spectacle and then she looked back to me and promptly went away. I thought that was that, but in a few moments she arrived back with another female colleague, her supervisor perhaps, and she too looked at the situation. They both giggled. I think it was at the woman, but it could equally have been at me. As a matter of fact I think it was a bit of both.

In a moment however, their professional training kicked in and the supervisor reached across me and shook the woman gentle by the shoulder. The woman wakened, the problem was indicated by the stewardess and, rather embarrassed, she turned slightly away and gathered up and packed away the offending article. Not that it was in the least bit offensive. After all was rectified she looked over at me and apologized profusely.

I told her not to worry, there was no need to apologize, these things happen.

And anyway I had hardly even noticed!



Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.

What Color Was It? (The Journey, part 4)


Having just made my connecting flight in the very nick of time, this flight was uneventful, quite peaceful in fact.

I arrived at my final destination for that day, which was Miami.

After the helter-skelter rushing about earlier, this time I took my usual leisurely stroll from the arrivals gate to the baggage collection area.

As always, people were pushing and jostling and running past me in a frantic dash to get into a queue somewhere. I’ve experienced that phenomenon a lot. There are three main categories of these retards, 1. the inexperienced travelers, 2. the bloody idiots, and, frequently, 3. guys with suits and briefcases trying to look as if they’re so important the world can’t wait an extra five minutes for their arrival.  I think the mentality of all these poor fools is, the faster they run the quicker their bags arrive. It’s moron logic, it’s always been that way, and I’m sure it always will.

Eventually cool dude me sauntered up to the baggage collection area, having had a pit-stop to change my oil and check my tires so to speak, and sure enough all the runners and jostlers were still standing there waiting for their bags.

A satisfactory smile appeared on my face, only dimmed by having to fork out $5 for a trolley (Miami Airport/rip-off city or what!).

However, it was only another brief moment of triumph.

Whistles and bells eventually started sounding signifying that the luggage was on its way, and sure enough in a few moments bags started appearing and people started doing themselves injuries trying to haul them off the conveyor belt. (Why do the smallest women always need the biggest and heaviest luggage?)

All of them seemed to be doing well, except for me, of course. I stood there waiting for my luggage to appear, but it didn’t, and slowly the number of bags on the conveyor dwindled to just a few, with mine nowhere to be seen.

I strolled round the conveyor, just to double check that no one had mistakenly lifted my bags off the conveyor and then not bothered to put them back on again. That happens a lot too, people are so selfish and self-absorbed these days.

But I wasn’t too concerned. On the flight here I had come to terms with the fact that, whilst I had made valiant efforts to get the connecting flight, the baggage handlers didn’t have the same commitment and anyway when I thought about it, there hadn’t been time to get my bags off the other flight let alone sort them and transfer them the mile or so to the Miami flight.

So there I was, carry on bag only, and with an empty trolley. A trolley that I had to pay $5 for, did I tell you that?

I made my way to the airline baggage office to plead my case – or lack of cases as it turned out.

There were a couple of desks and officials standing behind them.

The one I needed was occupied by a couple from Brazil who had lost a case and were flying on soon to San Paulo or somewhere. The woman claimed to understand a little English, but unfortunately the guy behind the desk must have chosen all the words she didn’t understand because he was getting nowhere fast.

“What colour is your suitcase?” he asked.

A reasonable question I thought.

“A blue one,” she told him.

“Very good, madam” he replied, sure he was making progress.

“Was it a blue one like this?” he then inquired, pointing to a dark blue suitcase on a large card full of colour pictures of cases of all shapes and sizes.

“No,” she informed him. “It was one like this,” and she immediately pointed to a picture of a big red one!

To be fair, the man behind the desk took it in his stride.

He tried another time. He pointed to one like the red one the lady had indicated, only in blue as she had first said.

“Like this?” he asked hopefully.

“No, no, no,” she replied this time. “Assim, assim,” she went on, which I assumed meant something like “like this”, and pointed this time to a green bag sitting on the office floor that didn’t resemble any of the others.

I heard a few muffled snorts and wheezes, that I discovered was me trying hard to suppress guffaws of laughter. So rather than upset anybody any further I turned my attention to the other desk, hoping the guy there would help.

I should have known better. It was the Luftwaffa.

I inquired about my luggage and handed him my luggage tags. He looked down at them momentarily, then back up at me with disgust and contempt written all over his face. “Vee do not deal vis ziss,” he said and dismissed me from his humourless life.

I tried to take back my luggage tags with the same disdain, I don’t know whether I managed it or not. That’s my second run in with Lufthansa, on neither occasion did I enjoy the experience. They really need to work on their people skills.

So I was back in the other queue again. Not much of a queue really. Still just me and the Brazil nuts in front of me. The airline guy was still struggling, although he seemed to have progressed as far as having identified a suitcase of the correct type and colour. I assumed so anyhow.

He was now trying to tell the woman that her suitcase would be sent on the next available flight and she could pick it up at the Varig airline office in her home town in Brazil the following day.

It was simple enough, but her little English was very little indeed, and she just looked at him with a blank expression, as if he’d just tried to explain the fundamentals of quantum physics.

I kind of expected him to start with that weird non language that many people try with foreigners when they are stuck. You know the kind of thing, “Pickie uppy casey manana….”

But to his credit he didn’t. Instead he persevered. It took a while but he eventually printed it all out in Portuguese, gave it to her and off she and her even more confused husband went.

Now it was my turn.

“This will be an easier one for you,” I confidently said, quickly explaining the lateness of the first flight and that there was probably not time to transfer the luggage.

Sure enough he had already been informed and all I had to do was identify my bags. For the black one I pointed to a black one on his card, and so on. I felt ever so smug. Then he gave me the paperwork and assured me that the bags would be delivered to my hotel later that night or first thing the following morning.

He was a nice guy, very patient and polite. I thanked him and folded up my papers and started to leave.

I have some Scots blood pulsing through my veins and just then it kicked in to play. Thank goodness!!!

“Hang on a minute,” I said. “I paid $5 for this here trolley gizmo and, through no fault of mine, I’ve no bags to put on it! You’re going to have to refund my money.”

He sympathised profusely. “I understand what you’re saying,” he replied. “But unfortunately I have no authority to issue a refund for that, it’s the airport that charges for the trolleys not us.”

I told him that may be so, but it was really unsatisfactory.

In truth I didn’t really care that much, but this had become a matter of principle, and I wasn’t for backing down. No, Sireee! Never!!

But then he said something else that shook my principles to the core.

“I can’t give you the $5,” he repeated, “but did you have to pay anything for your second bag?”

I told him, yes. They had charged me $70 for the second bag at embarkation airport, which is their standard charge for additional bags on transatlantic flights.

“Ah, ok,” he said. “What I can do is void the charge for the additional bag. I have the authority to do that.”

The bastard had outsmarted me and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.

There was nothing for it but to throw my principles to one side, forget about my $5 and take the $70 refund.

But I had held out for a few seconds. You can’t take that away from me.

And I did put my carry on bag on the trolley and wheeled it about the airport for a while until thought I had got my $5’s worth, which, coincidentally, was when I got to the hotel shuttle pick-up point.

That good old Scots blood again, you don’t forget!



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