Delta Flight 1229 / San Diego to Newark, Dec. 22, 2014: I am en route to New York for the holidays. As per usual when flying, I pop a couple of Vikings (my pet name for the pharmaceutical barbarians known as Vicodin) and then settle into aisle seat 21C and wait for the Valkyries of Norse Lore to whisk me to Valhalla—Viking heaven.
At first, the plane is boarding smoothly. There are no drunken rabble-rousers stumbling down the aisle, no terroristy-looking characters loading bulky, black duffels into the overheads, no chatty-fatty sitting in the seat beside me anxious to start yammering about his or her fascinating job proofreading Ikea assembly manuals. And as I look out the window to execute my requisite inspection of the plane's exterior, I am pleased to note that there's not a single aviation technician tinkering with the horizontal wing stabilizer with a confused and worried look on his face.
In short, all is going well on Delta Flight 1229 from Lindbergh to Newark—until, that is, I hear a terrible sound. It's the sound of a baby happily gurgling and cooing and making all those other happy-baby noises that, in other settings, evoke a sense of joy in people. However, when those noises are heard during boarding, they inspire great dread. Because everyone knows that no child, not even a young Mahatma Gandhi, with a tit in his mouth and a lullaby in his earbuds, can remain calm during a five-hour flight.
It's then that I'm visited by Odin, the Viking Allfather, lord of all mortals and god of all gods, who whispers, "Not to worry Edvar. It won't be long before the hydrocodone kicks in and you will be skipping through the meadows of Valhalla, where no baby may bellow."
Comforted by that thought, I settle back and patiently wait for the beautiful brain shine that comes after you swallow a couple of quality pharmaceuticals. But then, another woman steps on board carrying another squirming infant; it looks like a lindwyrm, actually—the serpentine creature of Norse mythology.
"Stop yer whining, Edvar!" thunders Odin, the Furious One. "You already ate the Vicodin. Just add some hot grog to the mix and the Valkyries will take you to Valhalla twice as fast and thrice as hard."
That might actually work, I think. A one-two punch of alcohol and Vicodin might just do the trick on a two-baby plane. Ah, but it's a moot point as, unbelievably, a third lindwyrm boards the aircraft. And let me tell you, this is no goo-goo-gooing Baby Gandhi. It's already bawling and thrashing in the arms of its harried mother as she plods down the aisle, followed by a couple of unruly, obnoxious preschoolers, then an adult male, probably the father, whose fuckrod face is so deeply buried in his assPhone that he couldn't be bothered to control his damnable brood.
"Please, Odin, please," I pray, as they tornado down the aisle. "Please don't let them sit nearby." But my prayers find no purchase, and the uncivilized pagans pour into the row directly behind me.
Well, shoot me in the teeth and call it dentistry if it isn't a Three Baby Plane.
After the passengers are seated and the plane reaches cruising altitude, I wait for the flight attendants to roll out the beverage chariot. Ever so slowly, it creeps down the aisle. Ever so slowly, the attendants pour and deliver the drinks. Ever so slowly, my nerves begin to fray and snap.
When it finally arrives, I remove the plugs from my ears, open the lid to the overhead compartment and climb back down into my seat. I order two mini-bottles of vodka (they're all out of grog), snort 'em back with a chase of Mary mix and wait for one of the lovely and gallant Valkyrie goddesses to take me away. And take me away she does. On a winged horse, my beloved Brynhildr lifts me up, up, up to the gates of Valhalla, wrapped within a glowing, pulsing cocoon of asexual ecstasy.
Behind the gate sits the feared and powerful Odin. I approach the throne, kneel before him and say, "Yo, Pops! Three babies? For reals?" This displeases the Allfather, and he releases a cacophonous bellow. It sounds how you would imagine three lyndwyrms would sound if their diapers were soiled and their ears were popping from altitude. It's a scream so piercing, it lurches me from my golden slumber to see not one, not two, but all three babies thrashing and shrieking, the two delinquents swinging on oxygen masks like a marauding band of berserker monkeys and the father playing Words With Fuckrods and wearing noise-canceling headphones.
Now, it should be known, for the record, that I don't dislike children. Not only are they cute and cuddly; they also make great fishing bobbers. And, I truly am sympathetic to the fact that parents have to fly with their offspring from time to time. I just think we need better rules that are fair to everyone. For instance, there should be a two-baby maximum for any flight lasting more than two hours. And the airlines should always keep kiddy muzzles and kiddy tranquilizers on hand. Also, children should be placed in an exit row, so that if the
hellhound adorable little angel should become uncontrollable, a quick yank of the lever and it'll be sucked out of the plane with relatively minimal fuss. Oh yeah, and no more of this "Babies fly free" nonsense. Babies pay extra! The airlines can use the money to pay for muzzles, tranqs, noise-canceling headphones, complimentary booze and complimentary doses of Vikings for all passengers—alle hagl Odin.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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