Hero Today, Gone Tomorrow: Steven Slater, Former Jetblue Flight Attendant
The best stories are all about the details, the nuances, those additional layers that elevate it from marginally funny anecdote to the stuff of legend. So it is with Steve Slater, former Jetblue flight attendant. It wasn’t enough that he told a rude passenger to fuck themselves, he did it on the PA. It wasn’t enough that he told a rude passenger to fuck themselves on the PA, he realized almost right away that he’d put such a kink in his commercial aviation career (one he obviously didn’t care for) that he may as well turn that kink into a permanent wave: he facetiously thanked no one in particular for his terrible time in the air, grabbed a couple beers from the fridge, pulled the emergency lever, inflated the slide, slid down and walked away from the plane. Right now, Johnny Paycheck is looking down from heaven and smiling.
But wait! It gets better! As you would expect, sliding down an emergency slide unnecessarily and walking across the tarmac to your car is kind of a big deal in airport security circles. Mr. Slater had to answer for his crime, but when the police went to his house on Long Island to arrest him a couple hours later, they found him...having sex! Because dropping a load of malt on a partner’s back is how alpha dogs celebrate ill-advised decisions. Hoowah! I have no doubt that Mr. Slater is about to inspire copycats; employers all across North America should prepare themselves for a widespread workplace revolt as disgruntled workers everywhere make similarly grand, symbolic, career-ending gestures.
Now, as inspirational as Steve Slater may be, should a Better Man do this? As tempting as it is to say “fuck YEAH!” I’m going step off that ledge, pussy out and go with a tepid “uh…no.” Early in my career, I had one job where the circumstances were so bad I felt I had no recourse but to leave immediately. Now, it would’ve felt great to pee on my boss’ desk, but before I relieved myself I thought it would be good to confer with my dad, a wise man who put up with a lot of shit in his life (I know this because he lived with my mom). I told him what was happening, and what I felt I needed to do. He replied with fateful words: “What would Tarzan do?”
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