Strengths & Weaknesses

Written on 11/12/2008
Mark Allardyce

So here we are at 30,000 feet flying to Utah. 


My friend and business partner, the Reverend, who was the most gifted of speakers and story tellers, had been keen to keep his briefcase very close to hand all day. Now I’m just about to find out why. The stewardess has been around the cabin, asking what we’d like to eat. I take just about everything on the menu, whilst the Rev, who is without doubt one of the fussiest eaters ever, refuses everything. 


As soon as I get started into my fillet and red wine, the Rev opens up his bag and removes a home made stack of sandwiches, tightly wrapped in cling film. He unwraps. Holy Jesus, the sulphur smell almost knocked me out of my chair. He’d had egg butties brewing in his bag all morning and now they were let loose. The smell had nowhere to go. We were locked in an airtight cabin with no escape. Pretty much every passenger on board complained at the smell coming from us.


The return journey was just as bad. This time, I’d made sure he couldn’t sneak any sandwiches on board. The only thing he found in the whole of the USA that he fancied eating was puffed wheat, in the UK we’d call it ‘Sugar Puffs’. So he bought a box, a family sized box. 


And when the cabin crew asked him what he wanted to eat, his pussy cat answer was ‘could I have a bowl and some milk please’. You can imagine the looks. Good to their word, the bowl of milk arrived and the Rev opened up his briefcase yet again. 


As he couldn’t get a family sized cereal box into his bag, he had removed the cardboard box, leaving just the sealed inner. What he hadn’t thought through was the effects of cabin pressure. The sealed bag had swollen to twice its normal size and he couldn’t get it out of his case. He decided to open it anyway. 


Big mistake. Very big pop. The puffed wheat exploded over him, me, the seats in front and behind. I remember seeing the Rev emptying his briefcase into a bowl of milk as passengers were removing puffed wheat from hair and clothes.


AND THE MORAL IS: Everyone has strengths (and weaknesses).