I make a living as a funny speaker, but sometimes I wonder if I’m a grumpy old man. Such was the case on a recent flight. It was just one flight, but I had to ask myself that question.
The row of kids behind me kept kicking the seat and slamming the trays up and down. Their parents were two rows ahead of them despite the fact there were plenty of seats nearby. I think they knew something. So I had to be the “Grumpy Old Man” and calm their kids down.
My serenity lasted all of 45 seconds because the twenty-something couple in front of me decided to work on their dance moves while listening to their iPod. Bouncing up and down in their seats caused my laptop on the tray to hop to the beat. Based on the rhythm I’m guessing Kanye West, certainly not Glenn Miller. So once again, I had to tap them on the shoulder and be the “Grumpy Old Man”.
Calmness again was short-lived as the hefty lad beside me started air-drumming and air-guitaring to whatever was blasting from his headphones. It had to be shattering his ear drums, because it was hurting mine. So again, the “Grumpy Old Man” asked him to turn it down a bit and stop performing a live mime of the song. And this required risking my own life since he had me by a couple hundred pounds.
This two-hour flight (that seemed like ten) finally ended and as we touched down on the runway the lady across the aisle immediately got on her cell phone to provide the latest up-to-date news flashes for the person picking her up. I don’t know why she called the person, because they could have heard her from inside the terminal. She was loud, and apparently couldn’t wait to let her friend know that the honey-roasted peanuts on the plane were “scrumptious”. As the bustling noise of people deplaning picked up, so did her volume. In comedy vernacular, we call this “an opportunity”. I put my phone to my ear and began yelling, “I’m on my phone. And I want everybody to know it. So I’m gonna talk loud. So everyone can hear me. ‘Cause I’m a Grumpy Old Man. And I’m really annoyed right now….”
She finally got the hint and hung up. After that, no one would make eye contact with me. Go figure. They knew if they were rude, or obnoxious, or wrong, I was gonna let ’em know. Why? Not because I was a funny speaker.
‘Cause I’m a “Grumpy Old Man”.
Mark Mayfield, A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message