I'm on a business trip today and tomorrow. It's a plane ride up to Maine, my first plane ride since WTC, and it occurs to me that the old gag "take this plane to Cuba!" (or its variants, like "take this bus...") might never be funny again. Not that it was any great shakes to begin with; in fact, I think by the time I learned it Cuba was no longer really the number one highjacking destination.
July 24, 2002
Oy, the good old days, when a highjacking just meant a small social disruption, with only a few people being killed at worst.
Death and her Substitute
At a junior college in South central Kansas there is an introductory course taught by Death. The course, Basics in Animal Husbandry, is transferable to most major Universities, except for a few small liberal arts colleges who are skeptical of Death's academic qualifications. At least once, but usually two or three times, during every semester, Death would be absent from class. In her place was always the same man, who simply announced himself as Death's Substitute. He spoke with a strong southern accent, was very overweight, and told stories about his wacky shopping mishaps at discount stores to highlight his lessons. The next day Death would be back in class, excusing her absence because of some cold or flu. Then the class would laugh, to which Death would respond with a slight smile, because we had all seen the mornings news about some plane crash or earthquake, and knew what she'd really been up to.
--R.C.G. on the Blender Board, 1998-10-11, though I'm not sure that it's original to that.