Monday, February 13, 2012
Back in the winter of 1971, I was making a trip from San Francisco to Miami Florida. I booked a flight on National Air Lines. It was about the time that airport security first set up metal detectors. In the beginning, they only used a wand to check you out, and did not provide a basket for keys and change. As it happened, the only metal I had on me was a metal cigarette case. Be that as it may, I did not have any real cigarettes inside, just 5 hand rolled joints. So as I was about to pass through the metal detector, I asked the security officer to hold my cigarette case... and when I got to the other side without any bells going off, the security officer handed me back my cigarette case. It was a day before National Air Lines were suppose to have a strike, so the plane was only half filled. About a couple of hours into the flight, I decided to go into the toilet and light up a number. Back then, it was still O.K. to smoke real cigarettes inside the john. I waited a few moments and then came out. I walked over to a window near the back entrance and looked out. It was a beautiful day, and there was bright blue sky with puffy white clouds. A stewardess walked over to me and said "YOU KNOW, WE ARE FLYING AT 38,000 FEET, AND I THINK YOU ARE AT 39,000!"