April, 2002, LOS ANGELES - The stern new security procedures at airports are not the only cause of travel traumas. There still is good old Mother Nature to compound the challenges. And she can be fiercely punishing.
I was the keynote speaker at a session of the annual convention of the National Association of Elementary School Principals in San Antonio, Texas. It was a huge gathering of about 9,000 people and my address had been well received. I must confess, I felt a smug sense of self-satisfaction with a job well done as I was driven back to the San Antonio airport. It had been showering lightly for the past two days but the highway was now starting to slowly dry off. I arrived more than two hours before my flight was scheduled to depart for Los Angeles so that I could comfortably navigate the strict new security checks. But security turned out to be a piece of cake. I sailed through without a glitch. The only bit of slowdown was when a couple of security attendants recognized me and I stopped to sign a few autographs.
I checked in, got my boarding passes to Dallas/Fort Worth connecting on to Los Angeles, and settled in with a copy of the New York Times. At 3 p.m., half an hour before the scheduled departure time, I gathered near the gate with others to await the boarding announcement. Nothing happened. 3:15 came and went with no boarding. The scheduled departure time came and we were still crowded around the gate. At 3:40, the announcement came. There was a storm headed our way and all flights had been temporarily grounded. However, airline officials assured us, as soon as we were cleared, the plane would be immediately available for boarding, and we would take off -- so we were told not to leave the gate area. The tension that swept through the crowd was palpable. I looked out the glass wall and saw that the sky was cloudy but spotty patches of blue could be seen. I speculated that they wouldn't keep us grounded for too long. I assumed that this delay was just precautionary.
At 4 o'clock, the public address system announced that we were still grounded but that there would be half-hour updates so do not leave the gate area. By this time the churning clouds had crowded out any patch of visible blue sky. Eyes began flashing alarmed looks at each other. But I had flown through storms before. This grizzled traveler didn't think there was any need for undue agitation. But I thought I should at least inform my business manager in Los Angeles that my arrival home would now most probably be delayed.
When I reached my manager on my cell phone, I could hear the alarm in his voice. He told me that his computer airline schedule was telling him that the Dallas/Fort Worth airport was also shut down because of the approaching storm. It looked bad. My connecting flight to Los Angeles had also been grounded.
I looked out the glass wall. Those churning clouds had turned much darker now. I began to feel uneasy about getting on that plane and barreling into those ominous-looking clouds. I'd better find another routing to get back home, I thought. I looked toward the gate clerk's counter and saw a long line forming of people with panic in their eyes. As an experienced traveler, I told myself, I'm not about to be stampeded by the hysteria. I knew how to avoid that crowd. With feigned self-assurance, I grabbed my rolling luggage and began striding for the main terminal ticket counter. It seemed, however, a good number of other people also had the same idea. Exactly what I was trying to avoid. Everybody was coming down the corridor right behind me. I blew whatever cool I had been faking. I began trotting with my luggage bouncing along behind me to stay ahead of the others. When I got to the main ticket desk, a horde of people were already there, yelling and demanding that they absolutely had to get home NOW! It is at times like this that I will be eternally grateful for First Class tickets. There were only two people waiting in the red-carpeted line.
When my turn came, the attendant in front of me seemed almost as frenzied looking as some of the passengers. He had thinning frizzy brown hair and he peered intensely at my flight itinerary through heavy, ringed Coke bottle spectacles. But, he was good. "Try Albuquerque as my connection -- or El Paso," I suggested desperately. "Or Las Vegas." His fingers clicked away at the keyboard like a woodpecker's beak. When they were no good, I spat out, "Try Salt Lake City?" No good. "What about San Francisco?" None worked. They were already all booked up. "But I've got to be back by tomorrow. I have a very important meeting," I pleaded. I could almost see him thinking, "So does everyone else." But he soldiered on silently intent, his eyes fixed on his computer screen. Suddenly, his eyes popped wide and his glasses almost jumped up. "How about through Phoenix at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning?" he asked. "I'll take it," I replied. "But it's on another airline," he warned. "I'd fly you guys because I like you," I assured him, "but your birds ain't flying. A bird in hand is better than a bird on the ground," I quipped now smug again. How quickly my desperation had faded. "But it doesn't go to LAX," he added. "It lands at Long Beach Airport." "That's close enough. I want that flight," I insisted. I had a way home now - but at 6 a.m. in the morning! That meant that I now had to get a hotel room near the airport. I had a new challenge. I know from anguished past experiences how quickly airport hotels can fill to capacity at times like this.
I rushed to the airport hotel-listing wall with a bank of telephones. The first one I tried was already full. Anxiously, I called the next one. I lucked out with the second. I hurried out of the terminal to a now lightly raining airport landscape. The front of the storm was arriving. I dove into a taxi and rushed over. Thankfully, the hotel was only about five minutes from the airport. It looked like a glorified motel from the outside, but the atmosphere in the lobby was almost like the airport. Frantic people and a screaming baby surrounded the reception desk. The room I finally got was the last available at the hotel. I had to get up early to catch my 6 a.m. flight back so I asked for a 3:30 a.m. wake up call and went up to my room.
Once I laid down on the bed, hunger gripped my exhausted body. I was famished. But the hotel had no restaurant or room-service. Fortunately, I remembered that I'd saved the bag of peanuts and the bag of pretzels from my two flight legs on my way to San Antonio. Munching on pretzels, I turned on the television. "60 Minutes" was on. It's one of my favorite shows. I had written off catching the show because of the travel, but, thanks to this disaster, at least I wouldn't miss tonight's show. I was getting into the program when suddenly the screen was filled with the bold words, WEATHER WARNING.
An ominous voice intoned that a thunderstorm was headed toward Uvalde County with the possibility of tornadoes. Everyone was ordered to stay indoors in a safe part of the house. Then a map flashed on. Uvalde was just west of San Antonio and the storm was headed directly at us, east of Uvalde. "60 Minutes" then came back on but now, at the bottom of the screen, was a continuing scroll with weather updates. Trying to read the scroll and, at the same time, focus on the program, I tried getting back into the show. Suddenly, the WEATHER WARNING sign again broke in. The voice reported that hail the size of baseballs was now falling in Uvalde. The order to stay indoors was urgently repeated. It was getting bad, but I realized I had to get up at 3:30. I had better get some sleep. I muted the television so that I could read just the weather updates and turned out the lights. But I couldn't fall asleep. I kept tossing and turning. Suddenly, the entire room lit up electric white. I bolted up from bed. What was that? Then the room trembled with a horrendous crashing sound like the sky ripping apart. A beat later, a sheet of rain, almost like an ocean wave, slapped at the window. It was followed again by another slap with another flash of lightening. It was terrorizing. It was the same terror I felt as a child in the internment camp in Arkansas. Those Arkansas thunderstorms were the most frightening of my childhood experiences. The storm continued for most of the night. Just as it finally began to calm down and I started to doze, the phone rang. It was my automated 3:30 wake up call.
The hotel had promised that there would be a shuttle service to the airport at 15-minute intervals in the morning. The storm had passed but the street was glistening with rain. I waited under the canopy in front of the hotel entrance. A mini-bus, already filled with passengers and luggage, rolled up. There was just enough space for me to board. The driver announced, however, that there would be one more hotel stop where he had to pick up passengers before heading for the airport. There were about half a dozen sleepy looking people waiting there. Our bus could barely take only one or two more. The ones that forced themselves onboard were two out-of-shape women huffing and puffing with effort. The other waiting people would have to take the next bus. The cramped ride from there to the airport was the last ordeal. The check-in went unexpectedly smoothly. Although I was chosen for the special security check, where I had to take my shoes off, open my luggage, and be "wanded" all over, it seemed like nothing after the trauma I'd already endured. The take off was uneventful and landing in radiantly sunny Phoenix, Arizona, was a joy. But, the happiest was landing at Long Beach Airport. I was home! At last!
After a trip like that, I can't tell you how fervently I pray for the early invention of that Star Trek travel mode called "beaming."
Insults come in many forms, most of them involving swear words or similar affronts. However, there is something to be said for a truly cutting remark made without the use of such language.
Some favorites are always old Victorian slang and insults. They just hit different. Something about telling an a-hole “you sir are an unlicked cub and your wife a sausage wallet" is just more satisfying. Although we do not recommend going around insulting people, the list of swear-free insults below will certainly get a chuckle.
Redditor Beadiest_Cape wanted to hear the best cuss free insults out there and asked:
“What's the best insult you've heard without swearing?"
“After getting a compliment on his assignment, A buddy of mine leaned back in his chair and told our college professor, ‘I'm not as dumb as I look.’ To which he leaned forward on his podium and said, ‘You couldnt be.’” dusty_boots
“…and may God have mercy on your soul.”
“One of the best is from Billy Madison, ‘What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.’” maswriter
You should apologize…
“You’re not the dumbest person in the world, but you'd better hope they don’t die.” WhatThatBoiDoin
“Whenever this question is posted, my favorite is usually along the lines of: ‘There's a tree somewhere in the Amazon jungle with sole purpose of producing oxygen you breathe. You should go find that tree and apologize." all_worth
How low can they go?
“The bar was on the ground and you grabbed a shovel” BlckAlchmst
“That reminds me of one comment i read saying: ‘the bar was so low it was practically a tripping hazard in hell, yet here you are dancing limbo with the devil’.” give_it_a_vodkashotSeries 2 Limbo GIF by BBC ThreeGiphy
"Having been born an infant, and realizing he quite liked it, he decided to stay one forever." overt-wan-kenobert
“From Casablanca: ‘You probably think pretty poorly of me don't you?’”
"’I would if I gave you any thought’" koiven
These teachers got clap backs for days…
“I had a teacher tell some kid ‘Nothing you have to say is of any consequence...to anyone.’ He was an odd teacher who kinda talked like that, but it was his version of savage. The room lost its sh*t in unison.” glib_battling
“I had a guy sit behind me in English class let out of fart that reverberated off the wooden seat. The whole class heard it. The teacher said ‘that's the most intelligent thing you've said all year’. Priceless” melbers22
“I was at a karaoke 50th the other night and this one caught my eye. Thankfully I wasn't drunk enough to sing it. But I love this song for its sick burn. Poor old Edie. Bob really gave it to her that time.” crankenfranken
Down the Monty Python rabbit hole…
“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt... of elderberries!” UpTwoDownOne
“Elderberries were the cheap replacement for grapes in making wine. That is basically ‘your father is a drunk and can't afford the good stuff’.” ukezi
“And hamsters have sex all the time with no regard for monogamy.” draconum_ggg
“So, ‘Your mother is being cheated on but is also a w*ore and you father is a drunk who is also broke’.” EmpanadaDeMayonesa2
“‘My days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a...middle.’ --Mal Reynolds”
"’It's not that I hate you, exactly; it's just that any admiration I have for you is well under control.’” FlourChild1026
Shakespeare master of insults…
“Straight from Shakespeare ‘I wish we could become better strangers’.” Dundeklil
“Also from Shakespeare: (Fallstaff, after Bardolf calls him fat) ‘Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my life.’” driving_andflying
Excuse us while we go grab the burn cream.
Aging is a sneaky process. Most of us don't realize how old we've gotten until we find we are no longer able to do things the way we used to with ease when we were younger.
Sure, it's depressing, but you know what? Aging happens to all of us, and no one is getting out of here alive.
"What gets worse with age?"
Physical consequences of aging is one of the cruelest things in life.
Watch Your Hyde
"Your skin. Take care of it. Skin cancer sucks."
What The Body Does With Food
"Every meal is followed by a poop."
"Bending over to pick a quarter off the ground. Hurts your back, gut and your fingers don't work. That's why there is change all over my floor. ;)"
After A Wild Night
"Hangovers for sure."
"At 18 I could go heavily drink and feel damn near 100% the next day. Now I get horrid mental and physical effects. Probably should quit drinking all together."
When our senses gradually start to fail us, it's yet another reminder of our brief mortality.
"Make sure you get your eye dilated every year and check for cataracts."
"My hearing is on the decline. I don't think it'll go completely, but I did get hearing aids last year."
The degeneration of certain abilities as we get older is too much to bear.
Staying Above Water
"My ability to cope. I'm just burnt out all the time."
"I feel the same. Aside from my family and friends, I have no care for anyone or anything anymore. Nothing phases me but that's not a good thing IMO. I feel very apathetic towards everything, I'm tired all the time and just want to lay down."
"The ability to sleep through the night."
"Used to be a world champion sleeper and now 5-6 straight hours is huge. Pretty much wide awake every night at 3am."
Putting Up With People
"Humanity.... The older I get the less I want to deal with people."
"Friendship - making new friends after your 20s becomes a big struggle, and the newer friendships just aren't the same. You can literally run out of 'lifelong friends' due to death, disease, people growing apart, etc."
I found as I'm getting older my patience and tolerance for certain things have gotten worse.
Waiting in line at the grocery store while someone fumbles with their payment option, or getting antsy when the food I ordered at the restaurant is taking way too long are things that never bothered me ten years ago.
I"m not curmudgeonly by any means, at least not yet. Besides, I'm not that old.
But to all the cranky elders I grew up with who complained about poor service or lack of efficiency, I get it now, and I hear you.
It's never easy to leave home.
Redditors that were kicked out before or at 18, what happened to your relationship with your parents afterwards?
Things outside your control, like divorce, shouldn't be the child's concern. If the parents don't handle things properly then unfortunately it ends up falling on the kid, forcing them to make the tough choice.
Putting Your Problems On Others
"Parents kicked me out when they got divorced and "couldn't afford to take care of me anymore."
"Struggled for a while but doing ok now. Don't talk to either of my parents and that seems to have improved my life quite a bit."
Suffering The Consequences
"My parents divorced when I was 12, dad had primary custody. He got a new girlfriend who hated me and my brother when I was about 16. My only request was they wait til I left for college to get married. He dumped me and everything that was mine in his house on my estranged mother's front lawn, jumped back in the car, and drove off a full two months before school started. They were married by August (on my mother's birthday)."
"I moved out of my mom's place as soon as I made a friend in the new city 500 miles from where I grew up using $400 a month he gave me for expenses to keep him from feeling too guilty about it (my mom's alimony payments expired right around the same time I left, so he just gave it to me instead of her, he did the same thing when he forced my brother out after I graduated. I joke when he's old I'll find him a nursing home that costs $400 a month so see can see what that buys you.)"
"I begged to be allowed to come back for holidays every year for a decade. I had to listen to my dad call me every holiday with his new wife's kids clearly there in the background and when I asked about it he would just sigh. One time he had me call his wife to ask her and she just spent 5 minutes cursing at me and telling me I was awful. I was maybe 19 and had never had any real trouble, legally, academically, or socially. I spent summers on my friends couches so I could go back to see them at least. He would try to meet up with me, but I was just so angry and hurt I usually didn't tell him I was in town."
"He is still shocked I don't want anything to do with him now that I'm older. He still thinks I deserve everything I got, which I know because it was the last thing I ever let him say to me before calling it officially done. He won't be at my wedding. He won't ever know my husband or my family. I'm done."
"Did fix my relationship with my mom eventually though. She was actually sorry for the time we missed and glad to have me back in her life. I'm also still tight with my brother."
Growing To Understand The Decision
"I was kind of a b-tch as a teenager, moved out at 17 after she gave me an ultimatum, didn't talk to my mom for three-ish years, then only on holidays. Then I moved back in with her for 6 months, which was not fun as someone 21 years old who had been on their own for 5 years prior."
"I did a lot of work in therapy and we repaired our relationship. She's now one of my best friends, we live about ten minutes apart, and I go over just to chat a few times a week."
"I hated her at the time, but I have grown to understand that she was trying to do the best with what she had. Also, I was a very difficult child."
You know what's a perfectly reasonable solution to not having a home to live in?The military, apparently.
(Only join if you feel that it's right for you. Don't let anyone make you join.)
Military Or Bust
"Six months before I was 18 my grandmother was adamant that she was going to take me to enlist in the military and I said no, so she wanted me out at 18. I arranged to move in with my gf."
"By the time of moving day, my grandmother was acting like our spat never happened- "keep in touch" "don't be a stranger" "dont burn any bridges". I only really interacted with her at family gatherings after that, and I have her on Facebook so she can keep up-to-date without me actively taking to her."
No, Really. Military Or Bust.
"My mom always said that "had to be out" at 18 once I graduated. I honestly took this to heart. I didn't have a bad relationship with my parents, but I was also left to raise myself most of the time."
"I graduated at the beginning of my senior year, was 18, and moved the f-ck right out, joined the military shortly thereafter. My mom had a fit. I thought this was what she wanted."
"I'm "OK" with my folks, but I basically left for 5 years and stopped calling. Still very much independent, very successful, and have very little of what is a relationship with them. I didn't have role models or people to guide me. I'm a parent in my 30s and I'm trying to unf-ck everything and treat my child like she should be treated, lots of attention and love. I'm salty about the way I was raised; I often upset at them. The more I grow, the more distance I out between myself and my parents."
"I'll be sure go guide my kid and not make her leave home asap."
A Fizzled Relationship
"I was 17 when my mom and I had a huge fight. She said, "If you walk out the door, don't bother coming back" - one of those empty threats. Of course she was surprised when I packed some bags and took off. I stayed with a guy that I had been seeing for a couple of months."
"That relationship fizzled out fast and I wound up coming back home. Learned fast that he was a drug user. He was also staying at his brother's house and said it was cool that I was there. But then the brother announced he was coming home - and that was it for me."
"Took a long time to patch things up with my mom. We started getting along better later in my life. It took a long time to get there though. My dad and I always got along well."
Then there's these situations, far outside the reasonable control of any child. Abuse and divorce are situations which shouldn't be placed at the feet of someone under 18, but this is how it goes sometimes.
Burning That Trust
"It's a long, ugly story. But yes, it did change everything. I still harbor resentment toward my mom for caring more about getting my stepdad out of jail than making sure I was OK or taking me to the hospital. I'll never stop loving my mom and I know she loved me back, but it was clear that her men sat higher on her priority list than I did. I was 16, he didn't even have a legal right to kick me out in the first place."
"And I obviously never trusted my stepdad again. I haven't talked to him since my mom died in 2010 and I hope I never see him again. I couldn't care less about how his life is going, I have more important things to focus on."
Lose A Key? Get Out.
"When I was 16 my mom invited her alcoholic boyfriend to move in with us. He hid his drinking quite well, and he hid the violent outbursts he had towards me even better. I tried talking to my mother and grandmother about it and they accused me of lying because I "just didn't like him". The whole thing snowballed and, because my dad wasn't talking to me or my sibling at the time (a key fell out of my pocket before I left for school, got locked out of the house for a couple hours. Apparently that was the worst thing ever and justified a massive argument and falling out), I ended up on a bus to a different city at 2am to live with a friend whose dad owned a roofing business.
Spent a few months hating every second of it and trying to make it on my own. Eventually, my mom's boyfriend started to go after my sibling, and it all ended when he threw a glass of water at them (glass included) in front of my mom. I was able to go back home, but things were never the same and I fell into a deep depression and it left me with some trust issues, especially with people around the age I am now. It also left me with an odd aversion to physical labour"
"A lot more has happened since then, despite repeated attempts to reconcile our relationships. I ultimately decided that I can't be around them, and that it's best to keep my distance from family. I talk to my parents once a year, on Boxing Day, and that's all the time and attention I'm willing to give to them"
Getting Out Of The House No Matter What
"I grew up in an extremely abusive household. Every category of abuse you can imagine."
"When I was 16 I was given a choice to either leave or go to foster care, so I packed what little I had and moved to another state. That was nearly 12 years ago."
"My relationship with my parents is strained at best, I rarely speak with either of them any more and I plan to change my legal full name and leave the country, so that I am not associated with them in any way, shape or form."
Keep your head on your shoulders. Have a plan. If it feels like you're set to be kicked out or, even worse, forced to leave for your own safety, start preparing.
Like it or not, we've all met a liar or two. Some lies aren't so obvious either, and if the individual has a habit of lying regularly, then that's a sign that they could have a larger problem. Some lies are more innocent––we know those as "little white lies"––and typically don't harm anyone.
And some lies are just obvious and absurd––even entertaining. Why do people say these things? In truth (ha), the reasons might be complicated and the individual might not even be aware. We heard all about them after Redditor Mobile_Sturgeon asked the online community,
"What was the most obvious lie you've ever heard?"
"My friend told us..."
"My friend told us he was born mid-flight, and that it was on the exact border between Scotland and the USA, so he was half American, half Scottish."
This person has never looked at a map, have they?
"He then showed me..."
"My regular job is as a club promoter, I just work here [crappy retail franchise] for fun money." He then showed me a generic picture of a Ferrari and said that was his car.
Bonus lie, he told everyone he was 28 when he was clearly in his mid to late 40s."
"I stopped believing it..."
"My grandma got me to eat bread crusts when I was a toddler by telling me they're made of broccoli and cauliflower. I stopped believing it in a few months but it worked."
Ha! The creative little white lies that grandparents make up!
"My husband forgot..."
"My husband forgot to wake me up after promising me that he would. When I woke and realised that I may get late, I was pissed and asked him why he didn't wake me up as he'd promised, he told me that I was looking so cute, sleeping, that he didn't want to disturb me.
Well, after six years of togetherness, that is so obvious a cover-up for having forgotten something that I broke out laughing."
Oh, they totally forgot. But it sounds like you two are very much in love, so that's great!
"Aside from this bizarre quirk..."
"A guy at my local pub claimed to have written just about every popular song you could name, and when called out would get mad and come up with elaborate stories to explain how, for example, he had written "Stairway to Heaven" when he was 10 years old and been ripped off by Led Zeppelin.
Aside from this bizarre quirk, he seemed totally normal. Had a proper job and everything."
You meet some odd characters in pubs, but they're typically not hurting anyone, so leave it be.
"A friend of mine..."
"A friend of mine once told me a great story about something funny they did. It was hilarious.
Problem was, it was MY story. I had told it to him six months before. He told me the whole thing almost verbatim, only he had inserted himself where I had been in the story. I think that's my favorite."
"I had an employee..."
"I had an employee who was 45 minutes late to work and he told me with a straight face that he had to wait for a family of ducks to cross the road, and that's why he was late."
You have to admire his chutzpah, don't you? I cracked up at this.
"A friend I had in high school..."
"A friend I had in high school wanted me to come with her to Texas to visit her brother. Presumably, he was in a gang and had a million guns and robbed banks all the time. As if I've never seen a Western before.
Also she's adopted. She has a foster sister, a foster mom, and a pet dog named Snowball. I've been to her house. She has no brother."
"A girl I went to high school with..."
"A girl I went to high school with was neurotic about grades and rankings, etc. During the college application process, she was rejected from a school that accepted one of my close friends. We were discussing the school after class one day and this girl said 'Yeah, they rejected me but sent a letter saying they did it because I should go somewhere better given how strong my scores and grades are.'
That was very nice of them!"
Very nice of them, indeed! You'd think they'd be tripping all over themselves to have her!
"The more he spoke..."
"A security guard that works at a grocery store I once worked at said that he had been in Iceland. I asked him about the penguins he saw. He blabbed on about species of penguins that he created on the spot and that he was stationed there for military purposes. The more he spoke, the more the lie snowballed."
Pathological liars can benefit from psychotherapy, which can pose its own challenges because the liar isn't in control of their lying and could begin lying to their therapist.
"Treatment will depend on what the person needs and what they respond to during therapy sessions," as noted by WebMD. "Finding a qualified, experienced therapist who can work with someone over the long term is the key to managing the condition.
If you or a loved one needs help, seek help today.
Have stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.