Wiley gets to lead off today because this Non Sequitur sparked two — count them, two! — personal memories of no particular significance.
The first involves names, because everyone named “Peterson” gets called “Pete”at some point. My son was Pete in the Navy in his day, his son-in-law is Pete in the Navy now because he accepted Peterson as half of a hyphenated name.
I was Pete from the last two years of high school, through college and then for a decade and a half in Colorado, where I knew a Peterson who was a professor and universally known as, you got it, “Pete.”
So he gets to the gate just as his flight has left and started taxiing out to the take-off area, only when he asks if he’s too late, they turn the plane around and bring it back so he can get on.
At the time, the former US Secretary of Commerce and current Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations was Peter G. Peterson, one of the few Pete Petersons who actually owned the name.
And had the power to turn airliners around.
But was already on board. My friend Elmer Peterson was happy enough to have made his flight anyway.
The opposite story took place in 1987 when the first cut-rate airliners were going into business, including one called “People Express,” and if you follow that link you’ll find the name “Freddie Laker,” which ought to give you the heebie-jeebies if you lived through that era.
Actually, People Express should be enough to give you the heebie-jeebies because flying on People Express meant camping out in Newark Airport, but not getting too comfortable because while you waited for your flight to finally start boarding — hours, often — they’d keep changing the gate and you’d have to gather up your stuff and move again, generally for no purpose.
So I’m sitting at my third gate of the day, and this guy comes sprinting down the concourse and presents his boarding pass, only to be told that his plane just left.
He starts yelling at the gate attendant, who calmly points out that the flight was for such-and-such a time and it is now ten minutes past that time, at which the guy goes absolutely batshit and starts screaming that this is the first time that g-d airline has ever been on time and how the hell dare they?
Which gave everyone in the gate area a good chuckle because our own flight was already 90 minutes late and nowhere in sight.
Plus standing there shouting as if you were someone important was pretty ridiculous if you were flying People’s Express in the first place.
People’s Express was like hitchhiking in the air.
Second in the “perhaps this only amuses me” category today is this chapter from the ongoing story arc in “Between Friends” where Susan and Harvey have been trying to reduce their clutter.
Well, Harvey has been. Susan’s dedication to the project is a little less hardcore, as seen here.
I’m sympathetic. I’m in an apartment that is just livingroom, bedroom, kitchen, bath, and, small as it is, it clutters up nicely and has been approaching critical mass for awhile.
There’s some storage in an area in the back, and I’ve got stuff there that belongs in a garage sale or down at the thrift shop, but also a substantial collection of empty cardboard boxes I kept in case I decided to move again.
I’ve been here 10 years.
Speaking of no room for clutter, I looked at some tiny houses online recently, which are for people who only own four things and can climb like orangutans. Found one I liked that was only $235,000.
Even if I got it all down to four things, my orangutan days are well behind me, so the money thing is irrelevant.
Speaking of unjustifiable clutter, let’s play “I’m so old …” with Mike Thompson over at Grand Avenue.
I’m so old that when he confused tennis rackets with snowshoes, I thought the kid was confused because his grandmother has a pair of gut-strung wooden rackets in presses, which do look a lot like snowshoes.
But when she indicated that she uses them, I realized she can’t possibly still own wooden rackets.
And then I realized how long it’s been since snowshoes were made of wood and strung with rawhide.
And then I realized that I’m so old that I never bothered to make either transition.
Older, yes, but wiser
Norm Feuti has never pulled his punches, but the countdown to the end of Retail is getting grim and realistic indeed.
Stuart’s last line in this two-day pairing echoes a recent conversation I had with someone whose current employer is in the clutches of vulture capitalists, because we’re both old enough to shrug and walk away.
On the other hand, Marla is young enough to shrug and walk away, but the tension in the strip has always been about her knowing that and declining to do it.
I may be too willing to pull the rip cord before we’re sure the plane is really going to crash, but, on the other hand, some people need a good shove while you’re still high enough for the chute to deploy, and if Marla walks away with regrets, it will be that she didn’t get out sooner.
Meanwhile, I have some sympathy for people halfway between Marla and Stuart, who aren’t old enough to retire but are so old that they don’t feel able to start over.
Still, I had a boss in his late 40s with a house and mortgage and teenaged kids and a wife who was a tenured teacher, which sounds like having both feet nailed to the floor, but when they handed him the cardboard box it came as a relief and he only fuddled around briefly before re-inventing himself and moving on.
“If your dreams aren’t coming true, maybe it’s time
to get yourself some new dreams.” — Bill Walton