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Conning a Southerner
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On a recent, jam-packed airplane ride, an old man approached me and bluntly asked if he could have my seat. He said his legs were killing him and he wanted my window seat in the exit row, and I could have his middle seat way back in no-man’s land. Being of the short-legged and kind-hearted variety, I swapped seats with him, but I let his wife take the middle seat. I’m kind-hearted, but I’m not stupid enough to take a middle seat on trade when I’m holding an exit row window. Talking to his wife, I found out they were from Long Island, New York. Well, I already knew they weren’t from the South. A Southerner who wants your seat is going to use a lot more finesse. The whole deal would have gone something like this...

"Pardon me, son? I really hate to even ask you this, but I’ve got a big problem, and I’m hoping you can help me out. I’ve got these old, long legs, and I’ve been scrunched up back there in my seat, and I’m afraid I’m getting phlebitis, just like Doc Trammel warned me I would. Anyway, I notice you’ve got one of those fancy exit row seats with lots of room you aren’t using, and... well... I was wondering if you might be willing to swap with me. Now, I know this is a big imposition, and you don’t know me from Adam. But, I promise I’ll make the swap as easy as pie, if you agree, that is. I’ve got a middle seat back there, but my wife has a window seat and she’ll be glad to let you have hers. She’s back in the galley with one of the flight attendants right now. She’s hoping they’ll let her borrow the oven so she can bake you a few cookies to show how thankful we are... that is, if you’ll let me swap with you."

You tell me if you can resist that kind of story and the smell of fresh cookies. I didn’t get any cookies from Mr. Long Island. It appeared to be a tremendous effort for him to mutter "Thank you." He didn’t even wait to say goodbye after we deplaned. The next time someone wants to take my exit row seat, unless they have a thick southern drawl and a plate of freshly-baked cookies, I’m not budging.


David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at