The 18 and Over Airline

Earlier this year, I wrote about how excited I was to see one of my favorite bands, Säkert. As you may recall, the band played two shows in Stockholm. The Sunday night show was your standard 18-and-over event, while the Monday night show – for which I was able to get tickets – was an all-ages engagement.

I’m 41-years-old (that’s 34 in metric), so I was one of the tallest people at the performance. Luckily, I wasn’t in the “oldest at the concert” group, on account of some attendees being accompanied by their parents.

Having to attend the all-ages show was fine with me. In fact, it was fantastic. The room was filled with youthful enthusiasm that mirrored my own excitement. Based on the band’s reaction to this warmth, it’s possible that the previous night’s 18-and-over show was not as energetically received.

Youthful enthusiasm, however, is not always a good thing. In this rock concert setting it worked out great. However, in places where adults like to do adult things, youthful enthusiasm can be the arch-enemy of a good time.

If you have a baby – which, if you’re Swedish, is a genuinely high possibility – I hope you have the common courtesy to keep it away from the following situations: restaurants, cafés, air travel, your place of employment, other people’s places of employment, public transit, the whole world outside of your house.

I said “if you have a baby” but what I really mean is that “if you have a child who is not yet old enough to know how to behave or shut its mouth” … then I hope you’ll be polite enough to keep it away from people who do know how to do these things.

I’m thinking particularly about youths who are in the zero-to-15 age group. Margin of error +/- 3 years, actually just +3 years.

It has been said that people don’t hesiate to bring their babies to restaurants for one simple reason: if the kid has already ruined your life, it doesn’t much matter if it ruins my dinner. I think it has been said by me.

This sign could significantly reduce the usage of Xanax and lower the number of in-flight alcohol purchases.

Because of this premise, I would like to propose an amazing new revenue stream for owners of airlines, restaurants, and virtually every other place where screaming at the top of one’s lungs for hours on end, is inappropriate. Let’s call it The 18 & Over Flight.

We’ve gotten rid of smoking in these places, isn’t it about time we put an end to the shrieks of death, the smashing of crackers, the running through the aisles, the kicking of seats, and the relentless stomping and chasing in circles?

Parents need to be held accountable for how annoying their kids are. And businesses need to begin laying down the law by disallowing young children during certain hours or in certain rooms.

As much as the 18 & Over Airline may be a pipe dream, I think 18 & over timeframes at restaurants would be an immediate success. A truly happy hour: no kids after 6:00 pm.

You said it.

I also think that callous, cranky, A-holes like me would be happy to pay a premium of at least 25% more for this luxury.

Most businesses should be delighted to pull in an extra 25% profit for providing the same services without the disruption and distraction, and I have a feeling their employees would share that delight.

As I’ve been writing this article, it has been brought to my attention that a restaurant in Pennsylvania has taken the bold first move.

In an email sent to customers, Mike Vuick, the owner of McDain’s Restaurant in the booming metropolis of Monroeville, announced that children under 6 were no longer welcome in his establishment:

“Beginning July 16, 2011, McDain’s Restaurant will no longer admit children under six years of age. We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children.”

The food is sounding better already.

“Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

Amen, brother. Mike Vuick is like the Jonas Saulk of our time. He has found the cure for absurd, unreasonable nonsense.

Hearing about a restaurant in Pennsylvania reminds me of a local delicacy they have in that area of the country. It’s called scrapple.

About fifteen years ago while on a tour in America, we stopped in a late-night diner to have some food. That was the night I was introduced to scrapple. None of the people I was with knew what it was. So we asked.

Our waitress replied, “If you don’t know, you don’t want it.” Wow, what a sales pitch!

A writer for a South Jersey/Philadelphia-area newspaper calls scrapple ‘the other kind of meat.’ Mmmm.

She went on to explain that it’s a Pennsylvania Dutch treat made of leftover pork waste from the kitchen. Mmmmmm.

Officially, scrapple is “cornmeal mush made with the meat and broth of pork, seasoned with onions, spices and herbs and shaped into loaves for slicing and frying.” Hold me back.

I checked out McDain’s menu online and they don’t have scrapple, so it must be a pretty nice place – especially without screaming kids everywhere.

If Mr. Vuick can get that age limit up to 18 or so, it might be worth the trip from Sweden. That eggplant parmesan and ravioli-of-the-week look pretty tasty.