All That and a Bag of Mail: Wifi Disasters

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In all of travel I’m not sure there is anything more infuriating to me than not being able to get on the wifi network. 

How is it possible that in this day and age the airplane wifi isn’t extraordinary? We can put planes into the air and fly them all over the world, but we can’t make the Internet consistently work on them? How is this possible? If I was president I would appoint a wifi czar in charge of making sure that wifi works everywhere in the country. It’s every bit as important as bathrooms or water or telephones. In fact, I would rather have wifi working right now on my cross country flight than I would have a bathroom or peanuts. (Although I’m going to be honest with you, these Wheat Thins toasted chips veggie style are pretty extraordinary. I always take three bags.) 

Right now I can’t log on to Twitter or my email. 

I can’t even upload an image for the mailbag which is why there’s nothing here. 

Yet, miraculously, Outkick the Coverage’s editing page is working fabulously.

I also paid $8 for this wifi approximately forty times.

Which means Southwest will probably charge me $320. 

At these prices I should probably get a happy ending too.

Or get to sit by the pilot.

I bet his email is working. 

You know that pilots don’t have to do anything now, right? At least as long as things go well. They input a destination on a computer and just sit up there playing games or reading books. 

My four year old got to sit by the pilot a couple of years ago and I’m going to admit that I was pretty jealous. He got wings and everything. I’m pretty sure this was a clever ploy to hit on my wife since we had to sit in different rows because we were in the C boarding group and he thought she was traveling alone. I don’t blame him.  

Anyway, the lack of a functional Internet connection anywhere but on Outkick’s editing page, means that presently I can’t read your emails or Tweets that feature the questions from the mailbag. 

So I’m going to make up my own questions today. 

This is not necessarily a bad thing since my mind is basically a consistent series of questions that I end up pondering all day. 

Clay wonders:

“What’s the limit on playing an illness for sympathy or better treatment?”

Because last week a lady on a Southwest flight was protecting the overhead bin space above her seat and wouldn’t allow me to use it. When I told her that I would like to put my bag above my own seat, she said, “I have cancer.” 

Not expecting her to play the cancer card to protect empty overhead bin space, I acquiesced and gave her the bin space. (She was saving it for her tatted up son’s guitar. He was on the c boarding group.)

She was not noticeably ill or aged or decrepit so I wanted to ask, what kind of cancer? Like a bad cancer that is going to kill you or a treatable form of cancer that isn’t that serious? Are you in remission? 

Would that have been an asshole move?


Was saying I have cancer to keep me from using an overhead bin on the plane a bigger asshole move? I think so. 

Newsflash — People with cancer can be assholes too. 

So can soldiers and priests and charity workers. 

I hate it when we use professions or conditions as proxies for goodness. This might be because I’m a member of the two most hated professions, a lawyer and a member of the media, but me being an asshole has nothing to do with my chosen professions.

I work hard at this irrespective of how I make a living.   

Anyway, I didn’t put my own bag on the plane and instead walked back several rows. This, of course, meant that when the plane disembarked I had no option other than to eventually walk backwards and hold up the entire plane so I could retrieve my bag which was placed well behind me. 

Predictably, several people grumbled at the wait. “Why didn’t you put your bag above your head?” one man asked.

I told him I had cancer.

Clay asks:

“Why does Texas appear to get the benefit of all questionable calls?”

Those of you who saw last night’s inexplicable officiating error are asking how that could happen. After all, this wasn’t a poor decision made in the heat of the moment, it was a play being reviewed by an instant replay official who had access to the same video feed as you or me. 

It was completely and totally clear to anyone with a functional brain that the Texas running back fumbled the football before he was down. 

So, of course, Texas was allowed to score. 

Effectively, that officiating decision gave Texas a win they didn’t deserve. 

It rarely happens, but that one call most definitely decided the game. 

This comes on the heels of last year’s apology for an officiating error that benefited Texas as well. 

And it adds to the general consensus that Texas plays by a different set of rules than the rest of the conference. 

To whit, a vast number of you truly believe that if Iowa State had been going in for the winning score and Texas had recovered the fumble that the call would have been reversed in Texas’s favor. 

Are you wrong?

I’d like to believe so.

Do I?

Not really. 

Clay wonders:

“If Peyton Manning played this year for an SEC team, how many teams could he lead to an SEC title? (Confefssion, my buddy Lance Taylor asked me this hypothetical on JOX yesterday).”

Okay, the presumption on this hypothesis is that Manning is able to work out with his teammmates in advance of the season starting, participate in the fall camp for a month, all of that. It’s not like you’re just parachuting him into the season for a game or a week.

And it’s Peyton Manning now, at the level that he is dominating NFL defenses as no one has ever done before, so stop with your comments about how Peyton couldn’t beat Florida or whatnot. FYI, Manning won a single SEC title with Tennessee in 1998. 

With that in mind I think there’s zero doubt that Manning would win the SEC with Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Florida, or Ole Miss.

Those are all top 25 teams already.

Can you imagine this Florida Gator defense with Peyton Manning on the other side as a quarterback?

That might be one of the best college teams of all time. 

I think Manning could also win the SEC with Mizzou, Vandy — can you imagine Manning throwing to Jordan Mathews, the smartest and most skilled route-running wide receiver in the SEC? — Tennessee — great offensive line, Arkansas — great running backs –, Auburn and Mississippi State are tougher calls, but I think he would too.

The only one I’m uncertain about is Kentucky.

So I think Manning goes13 for 14 in winning the SEC title in 2013.

If you want to argue otherwise, you can argue that Manning has no control over the defenses and could end up losing a game 55-52. But I’d argue that a Manning-led college offense would score just about every possession it had the ball no matter who was opposing them. So the defense wouldn’t matter that much. You could also argue that Manning’s receivers and linemen wouldn’t be smart enough to implement his system, but I think Manning would be able to simplify his scheme and throw receivers open. If you can find open receivers in the NFL, college, with its prevalence of scheme busts, and woeful secondaries, would be a cakewalk.   

Clay asks:

“How much worse is the middle seat than either the aisle or window seat?”

People on the middle seat of airplanes have less room than slaves did being transported from Africa to America. 

They actually did a study on this. 

And by, “they,” I mean a really rich white person without much perspective on human suffering. So basically you and me. 

Anyway, I hate the middle seat. My wife is 5’2″ and weighs about 105 pounds. She loves the window seat. It’s my contention that she’s obligated to sit next to me in the middle seat because she’s small and otherwise we end up with a stranger in between us. Also, because otherwise she has to listen to me bitch about being in the middle seat for the entire flight. 

There are more couple flights caused by Southwest’s open boarding policy than any other airplane related incident.

If you’ve ever forgotten to check in and your wife or girlfriend has had to sit between two obese men who are accidentally on purpose pushing their cubby elbows into her boobs over and over again, you are probably not getting laid when you reach your vacation destination.  

Sadly, the boarding groups is an improvement over the the non-boarding group days on Southwest when people would stand in line, and I’m not making this up, for hours before their flight took off so they could be the first people on the plane and get their preferred seat.

If you’ve ever wondered what a human cow would look like, Southwest’s old school boarding group told you. 

They were the people up front 

There is such a discrepancy between the center and window and aisle seats that center seats should cost half as much.

It is definitely twice as enjoyable for me to be on the aisle as it is for me to be in the center, potentially three times as much.  

Clay asks:

“What is the dumbest thing you have ever believed?”

It’s airplane related too. 

Everyone, secretly, has something really dumb that they believed for way longer than they should have. 

So here’s mine.

For a long time I believed that as a plane was going down, you should be able to step off and you wouldn’t be injured at all. 

I thought about this on every flight I took until I was 25 years old.

My idea was that you could go to the back of the plane, rip open the door and just step off right before the plane crashed.

And for some reason I thought this would work.

Eventually I shared my flight survival strategy and a friend asked me, “Do you think you’d survive if you jumped out of a car on the interstate going 120 miles an hour? A plane is going four times that fast.”

So, yeah, that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever believed.  

Clay asks:

“Why are there no plugs for phones in hotel rooms? And why do hotel rooms always have such crappy televisions and such crappy television channels?” 

This drives me insane. 

Remember back when you were a kid and you were excited to check into a hotel room because the television was better than the one you had at home and there were channels you wouldn’t get that were also available? Why is it the exact opposite now?

Every time I check into a hotel room — no matter how nice the hotel is — I feel like it’s 1996.

The cable channels are all crappy — pet peeve, why doesn’t Marriott, for example, have the exact same channels on the exact same channels nationwide? — and they’re inevitably not in HD. 

It’s infuriating. 

And then my biggest issue of all, why is it impossible to plug in your phone near the bed in a hotel room?

Why doesn’t every lamp — which inevitably is a crappy lamp that doesn’t work very well — have a place for a plug? If I started a lamp company and put an outlet in the bottom of it, would I become a billionaire selling to hotel rooms? And why is my alarm clock always preset by some ass to go off in the middle of the night?

Furthermore, why are there not more plugs, period?

We have an incredible shortage of outlet infrastructure in this country.

Walk around an airport with a dying phone or laptop and try to find somewhere to charge it.

Nearly impossible.

This drives me insane.

We must have plug equality now.

Clay wonders:

“Why do some straight, religious people think gay people choose to be gay?”

I’m floored by the number of people who have emailed or Tweeted me this since yesterday’s column. 

I don’t understand this line of “thinking” at all.

Because the only reason you could condemn homosexuality as a sin is if you believe a gay person chooses to be gay. 

Otherwise, you’re making a sin out of something that isn’t chosen. 

These same people would never say tall or short people are sinners, right?

So how are gay people sinning based on birth characteristics they can’t control?

Did you choose to be straight? 

Of course not, right?

No actual straight person ever makes a decision to be straight. 

Contrary to many of the “your gay” Tweets I receive, at no point in my life did I think “Boy, I’m really torn on whether I want to sleep with women or men. I just can’t decide.”

Chances are, if you’re actually straight, you never had to make a decision at all. 

So if your sexuality was predetermined by birth, why do you assume someone else’s wasn’t?

What we’re trending towards in this Ole Miss case is a larger issue, does Hugh Freeze believe that homosexuality is a sin? I think he does based on his strict religious beliefs. This Ole Miss case might just end up exposing the soft underbelly of stupidity when it comes to Southern religious life and homosexuality. 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.