SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary

Ticking, but not kicking, the bucket!


March 15, 2022
Tuesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Some people will go to great lengths to cross things off their bucket lists.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

We all have bucket lists, you know, things we want to do before we actually "kick the bucket."

As I get older - and find myself kicking a lot more things, especially in hallway in the dark - I realize that I will never stand on top of Mount Everest.

I will not likely make it to the South Pole.

I probably won't drink a papa doble in the El Floridita in Havana.

I will not win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Nor will I even win that lottery that's gonna change my life and that of every third, fourth, fifth and sixth cousin that I have never met.

But recently, I did manage to check two lesser things off my bucket list.

For many years - well my whole life I suppose - I have wanted to take an airplane trip and be comfortable the whole way. No danged unpleasant airplane seats. I have been wishing to take one of those "business" class trips to Europe, where you get your own "pod" and the seat actually lies flat.

As much I generally enjoy flying, the idea that I could stretch out and - maybe - even take a real nap, without worrying about drooling on the person next to me. I just can't sleep comfortably in either steerage or first class.


But it wasn't exactly business class. (see below)

And I wanted to skip the TSA line completely and not have to disrobe to get on a flight. As entertaining as it is to pretty much get naked before you go through the scanners, it is not a very comfortable experience.

Can't remember which one said it, but a famous fashion designed once said that to be "well dressed" one needs to be "well naked." Like a lot of folks, I ain't so "well" naked.

Plus - even after you put everything back on - you are left with the impression that you may have forgotten something.

I have always thought that being able to afford to fly charters - and skip the semi-naturism of the TSA checkpoint - would be the coolest thing about being "rich."

Also Check!

So, What did I have to do to accomplish these things?

Just have a heart attack.

Yep, I got to take a medivac flight.

Apparently when you are having a heart attack, they don't care much whether you have four ounces of liquid in your carry on. Nor are they concerned whether your shoes have gunpowder residue on them. I'm pretty sure I skipped the terminal all together!

And - because they want you to be comfortable and not die on the flight down (too much paperwork) - you get to lie flat on the gurney for the whole trip. As a bonus, the inflight service includes a variety of medications. I don't even remember much of the flight.

I know, I know. It seems like a lot of trouble to go to just get a more pleasant than normal flight off the rock. And it was.

I made the "I got to skip the TSA" joke to a friend when I got back and she said - somewhat horrified - "but you could have died."

Well, sure. But I didn't. And I knew I wasn't going to.

You see, at some point in the ambulance drive to the airport (another perk, I got my own ferry trip), one of the EMTs gave me a nitroglycerine pill to dissolve under my tongue.

Woah, holy anachronism Batman!

I couldn't believe it. I grew up watching those "older than me" movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Where people like Sidney Greenstreet or Jackie Gleason or Oliver Hardy were popping nitros like they were going out style.

But it always seemed to work and the heart attack went away. So even if I wondered if I was getting the "Model T of Medicine" treatment, I assumed that I would be okay. While it seemed odd that modern medicine was turning out to not be modern at all, I was confident that I wouldn't die either.

Speaking of nitro, that's the stuff that blows up, right? I've seen that in a lot of movies as well. When I was kid I remember watching a Tweety and Sylvester cartoon in which Tweety Bird tricks Sylvester the Cat into drinking some nitro and then - when Granny swats Sylvester with a broom - he explodes.

But I digress.

I obviously didn't blow up and I ended up sleeping through the rest of the flight. I only woke up when they started see-sawing me back and forth to get me off the plane in Bellingham. Then I went back to sleep again until they wheeled me into the operating theater and started working on my heart blockages while I was still awake. But that's a story for another day.

So, I actually missed not going through TSA and getting to lie flat on the flight.

But rather than repeat the whole dang thing. I'll take their word for that I passed those bucket list items

About leaving your clothes at the TSA?

That kinda happened anyway.

In the confusion at the local emergency room, I ended up traveling south without either my shoes or my coat.

Fortunately, I had my pants when I got to Bellingham. I'm not sure AK Air would have allowed to fly home in a hospital gown.

And since I was feeling lucky to have survived, I bought a couple of lottery tickets on my way back.

I didn't win.

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