suntimes
PROPER 
Weather Updates

From restaurants to airplanes, idiots show they deserve each other

Updated: November 26, 2011 12:28AM



True story, and you might want to put down the fork or spoon if you’re reading this over a meal:

A few months ago, a couple brought their baby into a well-known downtown Chicago restaurant. As the waitress arrived with their drinks, she nearly dropped the tray.

Mom was changing the baby’s diaper right there on the table.

When the waitress informed the woman there was a restroom with a changing station, the woman said she was fine right there. Only after a little back-and-forth did mom agree to take baby and diaper bag into the restroom.

When this story was relayed to me, I said the couple in question was the classic example of two people who behave in appalling fashion in public, oblivious to the stares of those around them.

At least they found each other. “Hi, we’re the Idiots!”

Here’s another example of a couple that found each other. On Sunday afternoon — the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 — two people “making out” in a restroom on a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Detroit “caused authorities to scramble fighter jets [and alert] bomb squads, the FBI and police,” according to ABC News.

Two F-16s shadowed the flight until it landed safely in Detroit, at which point the plane was swept and the “suspicious behavior” was deemed to be two people going at it in mid-flight in the restroom.

Amazing. Imagine the thought process — or lack thereof — that goes into THAT decision. “Hey honey, let’s pretend it’s 1971 and go into the restroom and have at it!”

Oh yeah. They found each other.

In a separate incident on Sunday, fighter jets were scrambled to accompany an American Airlines flight to New York’s JFK airport after three passengers kept going in and out of restrooms together, even locking themselves in the bathroom at one point.

Great. Now we have a threesome version of “they found each other.” I don’t care if they were in that bathroom in search of sex, drugs or just to admire the fixtures. They’re setting the standard for idiotic behavior.

The search for authenticity. For real.

A few years ago, a producer editing one of my scripts for a TV show gently asked, “Do you think we could put an embargo on saying anyone gave ‘an authentic performance’ for a little while?

It was a legitimate request. To this day and admittedly perhaps too often, “authentic” is one of my go-to words when describing the work of someone who really nails a performance. To me it’s one of the highest compliments you can give an actor. (For example, in the upcoming film “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” newcomer Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the kabillionaire Olsen twins, delivers one of the most authentic performances of the year as a former cult member who runs away and has great difficulties reassimilating.)

I’m certainly not the first to use “authentic” as a buzzword. As the New York Times pointed out in a recent article titled, “Authentic? Get Real,” Oprah Winfrey “popularized the notion of discovering ‘your authentic self’ in the late 1990s after reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Something More.

“Authentic” has become one of the buzzwords of the 2012 presidential campaign — and in general. As the Times piece notes, candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, as well as media personalities such as Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric, have recently described themselves with that term.

“I think what people see in me is I’m a real person,” Bachmann told ABC News. “I’m authentic.”

A Nexis search yields a whole batch of other interviews in which Bachmann tells us she’s the real deal.

Bachmann, to CTV Television: “I’m a real person. I’m authentic, and they want someone who is going to go to Washington and represent their values.”

To Fox News: “What I bring to the table is the fact that I’m a fighter, I’m authentic.”

To the Herald of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Bachmann said, “I’m genuine, I’m authentic and I have a titanium spine.”

Well that must suck when you’re trying to get through airport security.

Here’s the thing about authenticity: Isn’t it up to others to pin that label on you? Saying “I’m authentic” is akin to saying, “I’m really down to earth,” or, “I have a GREAT sense of humor.” The moment you say it, you raise questions about why you feel the need to say that about yourself.

Something about it just doesn’t sound authentic.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.