by | Oct 25, 1992 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

SOMEWHERE IN THE AIR — Sure, I’m uncomfortable. Sure, I’m squirming in my seat. Four drinks from the beverage cart, not to mention that box-shaped dinner? And the peanuts?

Sure, I should use the bathroom.

Why don’t I?

Ha! Are you out of your mind?

Not me, pal. I’m holding out, especially after last week’s startling incident in Woodinville, Wash.

Perhaps you heard about it. Or read about it. It was pretty hard to ignore, especially in USA Today, which tends to treat air travel as more important news than say, Asia, or nuclear holocaust.

Here was their headline:



You can guess the rest.

It seems a woman named Gerri Cinnamon was sitting in her home last Sunday, in Woodinville, watching a football game, when she heard a loud crash

— “It sounded like an explosion” — and went to see what it was. (That was her first mistake, as any man could have told her. Never, ever, get up from a football game! What? Because of some stupid explosion? And maybe miss a touchdown? What’s the matter with you, lady?)

But, anyhow, she got up to look, and here is what she found: a hole in her roof, and a big chunk of frozen — well, you know, like the headline said — on her carpet. They know it when they see it

Now, once again, had Gerri been a man, she would have done the proper thing, namely, grab a beer and GET BACK TO THE GAME!

Instead, she called the authorities, who came out and determined that, thanks to some mishap at 30,000 feet, yes, she did indeed have an official, FAA-approved, roof-smashing hunk of you-know-what on her carpet. And she doesn’t even own a dog.

(You can imagine, if she did, what that dog would be thinking. “Hmmm. Competition. How the hell did he get up there?”)

Once the authorities made their determination, they went to the procedural next step, which, if they were guys, is to look at the TV and say: “Who’s winning?” But Gerri would have none of that. She wanted to get to the bottom of this mess.

Personally, I would have had the cleaning service do that.

But, with a little research, Gerri discovered that she was not alone. Why, in the last three years, frozen airplane waste from leaky toilets has crashed through roofs in Elkhorn, Wis., and Westlake Village, Calif. And those are just reported cases! For all we know, there are homes all over America where this conversation has taken place:

“Hey? What was THAT?”


“That noise. Wait. Do you feel a draft?”

“I’m watching the game.”

“What stinks?”

By the way, have you noticed how these incidents always happen in places like Woodinville and Elkhorn? You never hear such news in New York or Detroit. True, if you were watching a Lions game, and a hunk of frozen waste came crashing though your roof, it would be redundant.

But once again, we see that children, bless their hearts, are smarter than adults. Adults never ask about airplane toilets. But you take any kid in there, and what’s the first thing he wants to know? “Daddy! Mommy! Where does it go when you flush it?”

Now you can answer. “It goes to Woodinville, sweetheart. Wash your hands.”

But wait. We have not dealt with the worst part of this story. Flushing out the offender

The worst part is that Gerri, who is getting her roof and carpet repaired by insurance, is still not satisfied. Nuh-uh. No wham-bam-cleaned-it-ma’am for her. She wants to know which plane the you-know-what came from.

And the FAA, because it obviously has nothing better to do, like making sure two jetliners don’t collide in the sky, is actually checking its radar records to determine which planes would have been leaking over Gerri’s house at 1500 hours, military time, or, in guy talk, the third quarter.

And I figure if they can determine which plane, well, you know what’s next:

Which passenger.

Which is why I am sitting here, squirming like a bug, because, hey, what should I do? Use the bathroom? Press the flush button? Yeah, sure, and next thing I know, I’m being sued by a housewife in Cedar Falls.

So here I sit, praying we are not in a holding pattern. It is worth noting that Gerri, the lucky recipient of that free airline gift, does have a sense of humor. She saved a chunk and put it in her freezer.

So, the moral of this story? If you happen to be in Washington, and are heading over to Gerri’s house to watch the game, remember:

Wear a helmet.

And don’t take any ice in your drink.


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