Lewis Grizzard Wednesday

Many of us seem to be unable to go anywhere without our cell phones. Lewis likely wouldn’t have cared for this habit, given how incensed he was by phones on airplanes.

Phones On Planes

On certain commercial flights, passengers may now make phone calls back to the planet Earth. I was on one of these flights recently.

There was a portable phone on the wall near the galley. The flight attendant said if anybody wanted to use the phone, they simply could insert their credit card in the proper spot and then take the phone back to their seat.

I considered making a call. There wasn’t anybody I particularly needed to talk to, but I thought it would be fun to try to impress the person sitting next to me.

I would dial the “800” number for Amtrak reservations which nobody ever answers. I would pause for a few moments and then say, “Hello, Mr. President? Grizzard here, returning your call.

“A meeting with Secretary Shultz at 10 in the morning? I would be delighted to be there, sir, and give my best to Mrs. Reagan.”

An invasion of privacy

I decided such a ploy was fruitless, however, since the passenger next to me was some kid wearing one of those Walkman things in his ears. Every time he opened his mouth to yawn, I could hear some strange sort of music coming out, likely being played by punk rockers with orange hair.

I suppose telephones in airplanes were bound to come sooner or later. In fancy hotels they even have telephones in the guests’ bathrooms nowadays, which isn’t such a bad idea when you consider that studies indicate nine out of the 10 times you walk into your bathroom – to take a shower, for instance – the telephone will ring.

I don’t, however, like the idea of phones in planes. The only thing I liked about flying in the first place was it enabled me to get away from the telephones for a few hours.

You see, I suffer from a condition known as Black Cord Fever, a disease that is at its worst around midnight, especially if the victim has had several drinks.

Attack of Black Cord

What happens is, the victim has this overwhelming urge to talk to somebody on the telephone even if it means waking them from a deep sleep. The problem i s, very few people want to talk to a Black Cord Fever victim in the middle of the night.

The long-range effects of this condition are the victim encounters huge telephone bills and finds his or her list of friends dwindling away.

I can see myself on a late-night flight now. I’ve had a few pops and I get hit by an attack of Black Cord.

I grab the phone on the plane and start dialing. A weary voice finally answers.

“Guess where I’m calling from?” I begin.

“A bar.”

“No, Zero, I’m calling from an airplane! What do you think about that?”

“Get out of my life.”

“Want to hear the engines?”


What the airlines are going to have to do if they insist on having phones on their planes is to remember those of us with Black Cord Fever.

“Phoning or non-phoning?” the ticket agent should ask.

“Non-phoning,” I will reply and retire to the back of the airplane with others so afflicted.

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