Monday, March 21, 2011

The Arrogant Passenger

You are flying across a beautiful and very green New Zealand in a small chartered plane. You are a big “Lord of the Rings” fan, and you are excited that you are going to see the actual filming locations first hand. As you gaze at a massive snow-caped and rugged mountain in the distance, the pilot quickly brings you back to reality. His voice is noticeably strained as he says that he is having serious problems controlling the plane. He soberly says that you must listen carefully, if you want to live.

He calms your fears by telling you that the maker of the plane has made sure that there are enough parachutes under the seats for every passenger. He tells you to quickly reach under your seat and to put on the parachute, because the jump will happen at any moment.

Without warning, the plane suddenly drops a horrifying thousand feet, sending cups and boiling coffee flying, burning passengers, and seriously injuring a flight attendant, a frail elderly man and two children who weren’t wearing seat belts. You don’t need any more convincing that he is telling you the truth.

You quickly reach under your seat and feel the parachute attached exactly where the pilot said it would be. You pull it out and see an instruction booklet attached to it. You pull it off and listen closely as the pilot helps the passengers read the directions.

The man next to you is wearing earphones and watching a movie on his laptop. You tap him on the arm and say, “Excuse me. You had better take the earphones off.” Then you explain what the pilot has just said. To your amazement, the man scoffs at what you have just told him, and says, “I don’t believe him. Faith is for weak people. I believe that this plane had no maker.”

You are dumbfounded and ask why he would believe such a crazy thing. He answers, “Because I have never seen whoever made this plane. Tell whoever it is to appear. Right now!” He snaps his fingers and says, “See, there’s no maker. Besides, I grabbed one of those instruction cards earlier on in the flight and it has some serious spelling mistakes. The person who put that together is an idiot. The whole thing is bogus.”

You ask him to show you the mistakes. He smugly points to the word “Neighbour,” and the word “colour.” You tell him that in New Zealand and the rest of the English-speaking world, both those words are spelled that way. Only America drops the “u.” He laughs at you and calls you an idiot for believing that, saying that, in his opinion, the graphics on the instructions are extremely child-like.

You try and be patient with the man. You are fearful for his fate, and so you tell him that he had better put the parachute on anyway, because he will die without it. He now gets impatient with you, and snaps back, “You are using fear tactics! Do you have some sort of a death-wish? You are a weak-minded and manipulative person who is fearful of dying. I believe that you and the stupid pilot are lying. How old do you think this plane is?” You tell him that you don’t know, and that the issue is unimportant to you. You just want him to put the parachute on, and then he can talk about the age of the plane.

He insists that it’s extremely old, and that proves that no one made it. You pray for patience. This man is deranged, and yet he speaks with condescension. You try and reason with him by telling him that the chaos on the flight backs up what the pilot has told the passengers. Then he laughs sarcastically, and says, “Chaos? What are you talking about! The burned and injured passengers are how this flight is supposed to be. I don’t want or need a parachute. Besides, I’m watching a very cool movie. I’m enjoying it, so why don’t you and the dumb pilot just keep your silly little parachute, your so-called “instruction card,” and mind your own childish business.”

You can’t believe what you have just heard. Here is a proud and arrogant man, who insists that the plane had no maker, thinks that the chaos on board is how things should be, refuses to believe instructions from someone who wants to save his life, all because he doesn’t know that a world exists outside of his little world. What more can you do? Time will prove you to be true.
You look across the aisle and see another passenger who is enjoying a movie, and he’s not wearing a parachute. You reach out and tap him on the arm…