Airplane safety card illustrations, with whimsically humorous captionsFunny what goes through your mind when you’re seated in the exit row, and the flight attendant briefs you about what to do If Worst Comes To Worst. Not that it’s going to. Heavens, no. Okay, first you look out the window for smoke, flames, debris or that thing William Shatner saw…

For me, it’s the feeling that I’ve been somehow deputized. Now I, too, have the lives of dozens of people in my hands. Which means I’m more alert. More aware of my surroundings. Less able to get work done. Allowed to call the crew by their first names.

Apparently, though, all it really means is they want someone who can open the damn door if the need arises. Specifically, I have learned that being in the exit row does not entail:

  • any entitlement to additional snacks
  • a little badge and whistle
  • the right to preface your name with “Lord” or “Sir”
  • special notepaper and a signet ring
  • everyone saluting you and singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow” as you leave the plane.

However, there is extra leg room. And that, really, is all the reward a hero needs.

By the way, I drew this during the flight. (I had to do something to take my mind off the awesome responsibility.)