Accidentally scaring white people

The other day, I’m on a plane wearing my ParaUSA shirt made by Blackhawk!, which by the way is an excellent travel shirt because it’s comfy and has lots of pockets.  Anyway, as I sit down in my seat, the guy next to me says “how’s it going”, indicating that he is the worst aircraft companion – a plane talker.  I am normally the kind of guy who puts his headphones in a reads his book and doesn’t really talk to strangers.  Luckily, my shirt saved the day.

Mr. Plane Talker turns to me and says “ParaUSA, what’s that?”  I being a polite person smile and say “oh, they’re a firearms manufacturer”, at which juncture I can feel him recoil away from me.  It got even better though, because the guy standing up in the row in front of me says “Oh yeah, Para – they make some neat 1911s, right?”  So then he and I had a brief chat about the virtues of John Moses Browning’s design, which only further served to distance Mr. Plane Talker from me.

What’s funny is that I wasn’t even trying to scare him, I was just wearing a shirt.  It probably didn’t help that on the flight I’m reading “The Combat Auto” by Bill Wilson.  But never at any time was I up in his face, I was just relaxed and trying to mind my own business.  Had I been antagonizing the guy, it’d be a different story; but his reaction was all his own.


  1. You know, while I agree with Sebastian and Bitter about spooking the horses, sometimes it really is unavoidable – like that situation.

    “You can’t please all the people all the time”, eh?

    Unless you’re Obama or something…

  2. I used to travel frequently for work, and read through stacks of paperbacks. On one trip, I was reading “Airframe” by Michael Crichton. It’s not a bad book, usual Crichton stuff, about an aircraft accident.

    I sat down at 6am in my little puddlejumper window seat, pulled out my book, and started to read. Lady sits down next to me, huffs, shifts in her seat, looks at me, looks out the window, huffs … you know the drill – “look at me!”

    I keep reading. Finally she says, “So how are you this morning?”
    “Fine.” (back to book)
    “Where are you headed to?”
    “(City).” (back to book)
    “Oh, I see. I’m going to (other city).”
    “Whatcha reading?”
    “What’s it about?”
    “A plane crash.”

    I didn’t hear a peep from her for the rest of the flight. Blessed silence.

  3. Walk across the Monon to Zest for brunch wearing khaki SIGtac britches and a black CCA shirt with the skull and crossed M16’s on the back. It’s a real conversation non-starter in Broad Ripple, let me tell you.

    (It turns out that the guys at Northside News have thought I was a cop for some reason…)

  4. I feel your pain, only my story doesn’t have such a happy ending…
    My seat buddy sits down next to me(a very nice lady appearing to be in her mid 50’s), and asks what I did for a living. The short hair, dull eyes, and drool apparently weren’t enough of a clue, so I told her I was in the service.

    Undeterred, she starts talking to me about politics. She then begins telling me how awesome The High Holy Bringer of HopeChange(tm) is, and how all goodness springs from Him.

    After about 45 minutes, I got a word in edgewise. I used my most convincing and affable manner. I used fact, logic and reason to explain my opposition of the Most Merciful One. Predictably, using fact, logic and reason was an absolute waste of time.

    Thankfully, she got tired of hearing what I had to say(the truth is just so confusing sometimes), and started yammering about her kids or some other nonsense.

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