It’s September 8th. Which means we’re all about to get bombarded with September 11th tributes and memorials for the next week. My brother decided to kick start this gruesome extravaganza by calling me last night and leaving the following, highly agitated message, which I just played for my entire office:
“Hey, sis. Okay, so I’m watching the Flight 93 movie on A&E right now. Not the movie version, but the A&E version. Beth, we need to come up with a fucking plan. The women in this movie are a bunch of whiny wimps. I can’t have you doing this. If we get hijacked, I need you on the ball. I don’t want any crying ‘I love you’s, let’s look out the window and pray’ shit. I want you stabbing these bastards with pens and shivs. If you’re on the ground, I want you giving me real fucking information. I need you to fucking keep your shit together. Because I’m fucking fighting to the death. They are stupid. We are smart. They’re ready to die. I want to fucking live. We have the upper hand and there is no way you can be some wimpy chick crying and giving up. Alright. Call me back.”
Ladies and gentleman, my brother.
Needless to say, I called his paranoid ass right back, assuring him that under pressure, I am a goddamn stoic problem solver. When shit truly hits the fan, I rock. And if you’re being hijacked by terrorists, you want me on that plane.
This might seem a morbid conversation five years after the fact, but keep in mind my brother is the one that as a child, would carry an “Air Disasters” book with him when traveling, the very hardcover which featured a photo of a 747 half submerged in Kowloon Bay. Why, you’re asking yourself, would a 10 year old child not only be in possession of such a book, but openly and proudly carry it aboard airplanes?
Alex’s answer? “What are the odds of our crashing WHILE I’m reading this book?”
The kid had a point.
My parents share a similar half joking/half preparatory attitude towards air travel, particularly in a post 9/11 world. When flying to New Orleans immediately after September 11th, they were upgraded to first class, most likely because no one else was flying anywhere. They found themselves in the first row of the cabin, and my mother chose to lean over to my terrified father and whisper, “You know what I just realized? We’re the last line of defense before they get to the cockpit.”
Ladies and gentlemen, my folks.
So I spent the better part of last night on the phone with both my livid, suddenly feminist brother and my blasé mother, pointing out that if terrorists plan to strike America again, they’ll probably find a different MO. I also reminded my brother that again, I am awesome in emergencies. I don’t know when he lost such faith in my abilities to save the day, but I refuse to be lumped in with a bunch of heavy-handed basic cable actresses who can’t make a weapon out of a plastic fork…