From Chennai to the land of George Carlin

I have developed a habit of sleeping to digital cacophony - either from the television or from a walkman and more recently an MP3 player. During my first trip to the US, I pretty much used the same ruse to catch a few winks. I browsed through the audio offerings on Singapore Airlines and found a channel that featured stand-up comedians. Bill Cosby being featured in the list and his 'Noah and God' routine was what made me choose the channel. I was introduced to George Carlin this way. It was an eye-opener in more ways than one. The particular piece was an attack on the way English was being abused today especially by the airline industry. 

What does it mean to ‘pre-board’, you get on before you get on?

We would like to pre-board those passengers traveling with small children.” Well, what about those passengers traveling with large children?

They might tell you you’re on a non-stop flight. Well, I don’t think I care for that. No, I insist that my flight stop! Preferably at an airport!

When two planes almost collide, they call it a ‘near miss.’ It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss!

In the unlikely event of a water landing….” Well what exactly is a ‘water landing?’ Am I mistaken, or does this sound somewhat similar to crashing into the ocean?

they tell you you’ll be landing shortly. That sound to anybody like we’re gonna miss the runway? ‘Final approach’ is not very promising either, is it?

“…enjoy your stay in Chicago, or wherever your final destination might be.” All destinations are final. That’s what it means, destiny, final. If you haven’t gotten where you’re going, you aren’t there yet!

Which brings me to ‘terminal.’ Another unfortunate word to be used in association with air travel. And they use it all over the airport, don’t they?

(The full text is available at

There were quite a few beeps to mask the profanity. This only made me seek out the original version within days of landing in the US.

Carlin's passing away has left me in a funny state of mind. Not a happy one for sure but I can recall only the funny lines that made me chuckle like an idiot during that flight.

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