"If My Plane Crashes..."


I travel a lot. And I love flying. When I'm traveling, I don't feel bad for not working, which means that anything I manage to accomplish feels like Virtue. I even enjoy airports--those snack-full, judgement-free zones where time has no meaning and people let their true natures surface.

That said, there is always a moment when I'm boarding a flight and it occurs to me that Things Happen. At this point I am usually overwhelmed not with a wave of love for my family and friends, but rather with a surge of horror at the state of my house.

plane

(Me on the plane to Beijing in 2012, thinking about how I didn't finish the dishes before I left.)

Don't get me wrong--my house isn't going to traumatize any impromptu visitors! I just get stressed out remembering how my bed is only made in the sense that I vaguely flipped the covers towards the pillows as I ran out of the room to grab my toiletries, and how there's half a loaf of bread that's going to go stale before I get home.

(It occurs to me, writing now, that this particular source of stress might be unnecessary. The fact that this is literally the first time that's occurred to me is probably related to why I felt compelled to eat recently at a place called the Perfectionist's Cafe.s)

In any event, partly as a distraction, and partly because I find them fascinating, I started a collection of photographs of safety cards from airplanes that I've titled, "What Will Happen to My Child if the Plane Crashes?" And because this is what blogs were made for, I hereby present that collection to the general public, along with the FAQs that I made up to go with them.

1.

photo1

Question: Should I worry about the inflatable life vest working?

Answer: No. Your child will be fine, and in fact will enjoy a pleasant float in the ocean. You? That's another story.

2.

photo2

Question: Should I put pants on my baby before casting it into the ocean?

Answer: No. Your baby will be much happier floating in the starlit water with only a diaper on and will be even more adorable that way when rescued by the coast guard. (You, on the other hand … well, you better hope you made it to that raft.)

3.

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Question: My child doesn't look like other children. Will this life vest keep even my unhappy, non-jointed child safe?

Answer: Yes. Our life vests are approved for use by jointed and non-jointed children alike. Although still unamused, your child will float safely in the water until rescue comes. (You? Well, let's just say it's good that you've already reproduced.)

4.

photos4

Question: Will my child be traumatized by our plane crashing?

Answer: No. Your child will simply be delighted at the extra-tight hug.

5.

photo5

Question: I remembered to use my seat cushion as a flotation device. But I forgot my child. Will this be a problem?

Answer: No. Mysterious forces will pop your child into an exosaucer-type flotation device, and you can then float together to safety. Note--abandoning your child is the ONLY HOPE for your survival.

6.

photo6

Question: My child is pretty flat. If I put his oxygen mask on, will it help him round out a little?

Answer: Your child should puff out nicely, even if the oxygen bag does not fully inflate.

7.

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Question: I don't have any children, but I did find a dress I really like! What should I do?

Answer: You should buy that dress in ALL THREE COLORS, so that you look extra-lovely putting that life jacket on. Who knows--perhaps you'll even meet a handsome stranger who's inflating his vest right next to you! That night-time float might not be so solitary after all...

8.

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Question: I am European. Does this change how I should approach my child's safety in the event of an upcoming evacuation?

Answer: Yes. You should simply put the life jacket on the child (carefully avoiding any eye contact) and then allow the child to fend for itself. Don't worry, though -- you look gorgeous!

9.

photo9

Question: I'm not actually a child. I'm a strangely proportioned teenager. Also, I'm really stoned. Can I use the child's safety gear?

Answer: Totally. We designed the child life vest with people just like you in mind. Enjoy the ride, man!

10.

smoker

Question 1: I don't have a child. Can I wander carefree through the aisles with a lit cigarette in my awesomely nondescript outfit?

Answer: No. We've been kind of funny about people carrying burning objects on planes for, oh, the last TWENTY YEARS or so.

Question 2: But what if my nondescript outfit has CUFFS? Can I at least sneak into the bathroom and smoke there?

Answer: Still no. Although we appreciate your fashion sense, concentrating all that smoke into a tiny area really doesn't make the situation better.


One of the things I enjoy about life is the prospect of finding new cards that I haven't seen before. I am, admittedly, easily amused.


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Written by Christina Van Dyke
the academic world
philosophy professor at a liberal arts college, writing about medieval views on the afterlife, gendered eating, and the perils of on-line dating.

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