reading can save lives

It was a cold December morning and I was at the Logan airport in Boston at 6am. I waited in line to check luggage and get my boarding pass for a half hour. Unfortunately, the line for security was even longer so I dejectedly began the trek. By the time I reached Miami, the end was visible.

Airline employees periodically walked up and down the line, announcing flights. Anyone on those flights were permitted to go to the fast line, which only had a few hundred people. After we shuffled into South Carolina an employee called my flight and I had the honor of advancing to the short line (relatively speaking). I passed through security without a hitch and arrived at the gate with plenty of time to spare.

I hadn’t eaten breakfast so I bought a muffin and two bottles of orange juice, drinking the first bottle of orange juice to go with the muffin. I saved the second juice to drink during the flight and we boarded shortly thereafter. Once we were airborne I finished the second bottle of orange juice and stowed the empty container in the seat pocket, then settled into my seat to read a book.

(An hour later)

I was engrossed in the book, unaware of my surroundings when I heard a loud “smack!” accompanied by an object hitting the book. I quickly surveyed my fellow passengers suspiciously but saw nothing out of the ordinary. I couldn’t believe it. Someone had thrown something at me and I had no idea who it was. The thought occurred to me that it could have been someone who knew me and thought it would be a funny way to say hello, but no one looked familiar. A deranged lunatic endeavoring to ruin my flight was a more probable explanation. I looked around once more in case anyone was looking at me, but no one paid me any mind. Could it have been an unintentional projectile?

I put the book away and searched my seat for clues. There was the empty bottle of orange juice, nestled in the seat pocket just like I had left it. It lacked but one thing: the top. A quick examination of the book cover, which now bore the circular indentation of an orange juice top, confirmed my hypothesis.

I laugh now, but think what might have happened if I hadn’t been reading when it exploded. If it weren’t for that book, I would have had a circular badge of courage adorning my brow. I owe that book my life, or at least an attractive travel mug.

And that’s why I like to read.


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  1. I had almost the same thing happen to me with an orange juice container (it only happens with those I think). It was in the middle of class and I was working on my laptop when I heard the pop and the top landed on my keyboard. I thought someone had thrown it at me and then realized that it looked strikingly similar to the orange juice container top I was just drinking. Ah, the forces of nature. She is powerful, no?

    Comment by jason on May 22, 2003 @ 6:44 am
  2. My question is, what was the book?

    Comment by Renee on May 22, 2003 @ 9:13 am
  3. Why buy hyper-expensive OJ in the airport when you can get it for free on the plane?

    Comment by Cameron on May 22, 2003 @ 10:08 am
  4. Renee: I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    Cameron: Because I was thirsty before I got on the plane and my muffin would have made me even more thirsty.

    Comment by dan on May 22, 2003 @ 1:12 pm
  5. What a visual! I think I’ll go home and hug my book. One can’t be too safe.

    Comment by Charlene on May 23, 2003 @ 12:00 pm
  6. I found the book. It’s called “White Out” by Robert Marcum. Inspired by Charlene, I gave it a hug too.

    Comment by dan on May 24, 2003 @ 12:11 am

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