The 51st (?) State

Flying back to the Outpost the other day, I remembered a discussion between two flight attendants on a Flying Sheep Airways (the Principality’s national carrier) plane, just before the take off of my first flight out of here, years ago. We were slightly delayed, so the young flight attendant says to an older senior one, who was standing beside me:

“The delay is due to a complication with a passenger holding a Puerto Rican passport: the authorities were not sure whether they should let him board the plane.”
“I see.”
“But, isn’t Puerto Rico part of the US? What is the problem?”
“Oh no, Puerto Rico isn’t an American state, that’s why they have separate passports…”
“Aha…”
“… Venezuela, on the other hand, is an American state, but they do not count it because it is on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico”, clarified the senior flight attendant.

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2 thoughts on “The 51st (?) State

  1. What you failed to mention is that the senior attendant was the godchild (among hundreds of others) of our beloved former ethnarch Spuros. Which is why he got his job in the first place, which is why Flying Sheep Airways is going bankrupt.

  2. I like the idea that the Gulf of Mexico constitutes an American border, sort of. Apparently, your flight attendant is not the only one to think so. I always add a little irrelevant bonus question or two on my students’ tests, to give some of them a chance to feel proud of knowing a little trivia that the others don’t, and also to discourage cheating. They’re always a real eye-opener. I try to put non-language related questions like what is the capital of Brazil, what is Tony Blair’s address, what colors are on the French flag, things like that. Once I told them to write the names of two American states beginning with M (there are 8; I thought everyone would get Michigan at least, since this was a Lower class preparing for the University of Michigan exam). Almost every student, if s/he wrote anything at all, wrote Mexico. They were so confident… and so devastated to realize they were wrong.

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