FlyJinks: Well that was really stupid.
Mimi has always been one of my favorite flight attendants: self-assured, smart, and a real sharp tongue coupled with a very sarcastic sense of humor. Rewinding to my DC-10 First Officer days, (okay, I’ve been a captain for 20 years now, do the math), I recall Mimi’s dedicated enthusiasm for a practical joke on a new flight engineer, an old tradition back in the days when we had new pilots and flight attendants joining our ranks literally by the thousands.
Although I usually took no part, I always got a laugh anyway. For instance, I can’t recall how many times I watched a captain send a new flight attendant back to the cabin to get some “air samples” in a barf bag. The passengers must have thought they were nuts.
Mimi’s plan involved luring the engineer into the cabin to deal with a problem in the lav. Yes, the engineer wasn’t called “the plumber” for nothing. He’d put all of the hydraulic pumps to high pressure (hey, I was a DC-10 engineer way back), then all the fuel boost pumps back on, grab his hat and a few tools and head for the cabin.
Mimi was an expert in creating certain particularly vulgar sculptures from bran muffins and apple jelly, two items in the breakfast pastry stock in First Class. What she–and other flight attendants–would sculpt looked like the output of a German shepherd after digesting five pounds of raw meat, then squatting on your lawn.
The plan was to lay the sculpture next to the seat or on the seat in the lav, then call the engineer: “Look what someone did . . .” When he shrank away in revulsion, the flight attendant would scold him, then with her bare hands pick up the reshaped bran muffin and wave it around like it was nothing, freaking out the engineer who was visualizing German shepherd output the whole time.
Funny. So Mimi creates her masterpiece, then slips it gingerly into a side pocket on her uniform dress (fragile! don’t spoil the shape!) and walks up the aisle through First Class toward one of the forward lavs.
She told me later she wasn’t exactly sure what happened, but on the way to the forward lav, a bump of turbulence jolted her sideways and her hip hit the credenza below the TV screen in First Class. The end result was her standing before the first row of First Class, and the oblong sculpture had flopped out of her dress and plopped down between her legs on the carpet. As if she’d just done the nasty deed right there.
Despite the gawking, the horrified passenger looks, other flight attendants told me Mimi just reached down as if it were nothing, snatched up the offending torpedo, and walked forward, eventually ending up in the cockpit.
“The deal’s off,” she told me, a finger to her lips. The Flight Engineer was off the hook–at least on that leg. Pretty sure she got him later.
While we’re on the DC-10–my second favorite jet to fly, behind the 737-800–maybe I could relate the tale that involved a half dozen flight attendants in the lower galley in their nightgowns calling me and one of my favorite pilots (we still see each other and back up the facts to whomever else has trouble believing the true story) from the cockpit one at a time for a “slumber party,” with 275 passengers upstairs clueless except for the fact that so many flight attendants seemed to have vanished.
Well, maybe next time.