By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Mike Tasos: I survived the worst flight of my life
Mike Tasos

Being a so-called “Road Warrior” is no box of chocolates.

Forrest said it better in the book when he opined “being an idiot is no box of chocolates.” (If you liked the movie, do yourself a favor, read Winston Groom’s book. I double-dog dare you to not laugh.

I met Winston some time ago on a mid-80s flight from Portland to Denver. He asked what I did for a living? “I sell drugs. The ones that make people better.” 

I asked him the same question.

“I’m an author,” was his reply.

What did he write, I wondered? Novels with nasty folks on the cover? Those how-to-get skinny books? Or perhaps he was telling the world who killed JFK?

“I write novels and I just had one published.”

I wanted to know what it was about.

“It’s about an idiot.” 

I read it, the funniest book I’d ever read. That first-edition he autographed was “borrowed “and never returned. 

Pretty sad, but it won’t happen again.

No one is going to ask to borrow my Kindle.

Not all trips are memorable. But this past week’s flight had to be not one of the worst flights ever. It was the worst one ever.

First, anyone wants to call me a curmudgeon and hasn’t earned his Road Warrior chops, please feel free. But I think 5,000 miles short of, get this, being knighted a 4 million-miler with Delta qualifies me to offer perspective.

Monday’s flight to John Wayne airport was 1,200 miles I’d just have soon not collected. 

I was sitting in Row 44. Minutes before the doors were shut, Row 45, the last row, was empty. I thought this had to be too good to be true.

And it was.

Enter a family that could have taught Freddie Krueger the true meaning of “nightmare.”

Immediately after sitting down, the jet-engine decibel level screaming started. The twin boys were bellowing at the ground crew, trying to get some acknowledgement while doing their best to shatter the window.

The screaming emanating from little sister was no match for noise-cancelling headphones. Note to self: Let the folks at Bose know they should expand its quality testing to include spoiled brats.

Wow, that’s harsh. No, no it’s not.  The kids were old enough to behave. If only their parents weren’t so far away.

Just a minute. That’s just part of the nightmare. Dad was in the aisle seat while the bedlam ensued. Mom slept blissfully during the riot. And she wasn’t wearing headphones.

Some dads can be downright scary. Not this guy. While the kids got in soccer practice by constantly booting the seat in front of them (mine), and streaming synonyms for bodily functions, Dad threatened to take away their TV “privileges.” He counted 5-4-3-2-1 to let it be known there’d be no tube.

Cue up more screaming and what Dad called “potty words,” I could only imagine life at home was one big hoot and holler. But at least the kids have confidence in knowing Dad can count backwards.

On the return trip, a matronly African American mom, was accompanied by her two boys. I watched as the boys sat down. The two kids spoke in a reasonable volume. Mom never counted, threatened or tried to bluff tactics to get good behavior from her sons.

Instead she utilized the trick moms and nuns have mastered: The look.

On this flight, I saw two “looks” that stifled any mayhem before her sons lit that candle.  The trio was from Atlanta. Mom had taught the kids to behave. 

That’s mostly how we do things in the South. Hearing “You was raised right” is both a compliment and a statement of fact.

My travels to SoCal appear to have concluded. In taking one for the team, I helped clean up a company mess. It afforded me a trip to see my brothers and re-visit Dodger Stadium.

No more cross-country trip, unless it’s for a family reunion. I’m responsible for the Southeast and will travel no farther west than Tuscaloosa.

That’s fine-and-dandy with me. If Sister Rosann heard me complain, I’d get the look.

Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. On the flight back to Atlanta, one SoCal (past) middle-age guy, who looked completely qualified to be called “Grandpa” was sporting a sweatshirt proclaiming, “I Pooped Today.” The caricature on the front had his arms raised a la Rocky when he climbed the steps. Can’t make this stuff up. Adios, California! Comments can be sent to He is also on Facebook.