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The Slice: ‘Planes’ talk can go a long way

TUESDAY, NOV. 22, 2011

The answers to all of life’s questions can be found in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”

No matter what the circumstances, there’s a line from that 1987 Thanksgiving-themed movie that can be used as a response.

You doubt it? OK, just consider.

Suppose someone at work asks when you expect to be done with a certain task.

You can say: “Train don’t run out of Wichita … unlessin’ you’re a hog or a cattle.”

No, that doesn’t make sense. But coherence can be overrated.

What if someone in an elevator starts complaining about the weather?

You can say: “We had a small fire last night, but we caught it in the nick of time.”

Or suppose a telemarketer calls and wants money.

You can say: “I have two dollars … and a Casio.”

Beginning to see how this works?

What if a grocery cashier asks if you found everything you wanted?

You can say: “You could have killed me, slugging me in the gut like that.”

Or imagine someone asks for directions.

You can say: “Her first baby came out sideways. She didn’t scream or nothin’.”

Suppose someone monopolizes the conversation at dinner.

You can say: “Didn’t you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag?”

What if you are asked for input at a business meeting that has been a waste of time?

You can say: “We’d have more luck playing pickup sticks with our butt cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak.”

Sure, a steady diet of this would quickly brand you an annoying moron. But how do you know people don’t already think that? Why not have a little fun.

Suppose someone asks if you watched a televised basketball game.

You can say: “I’ve never seen a man picked up by his testicles before.”

Or what if a stranger wants you to save his seat in a crowded theater?

You can say: “Where’s your other hand?”

And for situations not covered here, there is one all-purpose line from “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” that you can plug into virtually any context.

Just take your shoes off, moan “My dogs are barkin’,” and then remove your socks and wave them around.

Today’s Slice question: Does anyone still say “Don’t eat that, it’s not done cooking – you’ll get worms”?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email How casually will your family dress Thursday?

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