Part 3 - Erik Teaches us of How His Valor Relates to the Valor of Those Who Came Before

POW's in 'Nam:

"My controls went slack as my A4-C Skyhawk began to roll uncontrollably. I could see the earth rising to meet me. Instinctively I pulled my ejection handle. The quick decision saved my life, but almost immediately after I landed on the ground, Vietnamese farmers and local militia jumped on me. One man held a rusty knife to my throat, while the others savagely ripped and cut away my clothing. It seemed as though they had never seen a zipper; they cut the zippers away instead of using them to remove my flight clothing. One man, in his haste to rip off my boots, managed to hyper-extend my left knee six times. Every time I screamed in pain, the rusty knife would be jabbed harder into my throat."
Erik in LA:
My flight to LA, in what very well might have been an A4-C Skyhawk or an A4-E or a B5-R or whatever plane number they're up to now, was relatively uneventful. That is until the guy sitting in front of me hyper-extended his seat backwards so that the rear edge of his headrest was almost jabbed into my throat. I screamed in terror and tried to remove my flight clothing and was, in fact, successful in removing a lot of my flight clothing.

After the stewardess and one of my fellow passengers managed to get me back into some of my flight clothing, I noticed that my zipper was undone and used the stewardess button to summon the stewardess to see what she could do about that. It's possible that she was Vietnamese because she evidently had never seen a zipper before. "I can't help you with that," she told me the first four times I pressed the stewardess button to show her my zipper. Times five through eleven, she didn't come at all. You can discount times twelve, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen thru ninety since I was pressing the light button because I thought the stewardess button was broken.

The guy next to me told me to stop turning on and off the light or he'd make it so I'd wish they had an "ambulance button", and I screamed in pain-anticipation. That caused the stewardess to send her representative - the pilot - over. I showed him my zipper, and he told me to put my shirt back on. He also told me to turn off my Gameboy, because he said we weren't authorized yet to use portable electronic devices. I asked him wasn't it about time somebody at NASA finally got around to Gameboy-proofing these fucking jets? Or am I not authorized to use portable swearing devices like my larynx either? I asked. Or this guy's larynx, I said, pointing at the mean guy next to me. I pushed my lips against my teeth, made my mouth a straight line, and then, using my best high-pitched ventriloquist voice, said "fucking cunt fuck". I looked off to the upper right and poured some Diet Coke into my rigid mouth slit and ventriloquismed "I hate the pilot!" Then I gave the pilot a shocked and sympathetic look because we now had a common enemy. The pilot may have been Vietnamese or something, because he didn't appear to know what ventriloquism was and had no idea that he was supposed to think the voice wasn't actually coming out of me. He told me that I needed to put my shirt on, turn off my Gameboy, stop talking like a retard, and then shut up or else he'd have the plane met at the gate. I told him he wasn't the only person who knew people and could have the plane met at the gate. And then he said he hoped I was talking about either the co-pilot or the navigator, because they could get the plane met, but I sure couldn't.

I picked up the cell phone and started randomly punching numbers and told him that we'll see what his bosses at Sky Mall think about all this. Just after I was trying to figure out whether I'd pressed enough numbers to connect to anything and then decided it didn't really matter and stared up at the pilot and said "Hello, Sky Mall?" into the receiver, the guy next to me grabbed the phone out of my hand and told me to shut up or he'd shut me up. I told him I'd love to see him try. Like a lot of things that you think you'd like to do or see - like E3 itself - the actual experience of him shutting me up turned out to not be so great.
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