Monday Dare: Is it really stealing if it’s free?

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the full list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Stop embarrassing the shit out of people I know

I’m writing with one eye closed. This usually only happens after I lose one contact lens, and I shut the gimp eye to see half-decently with the good eye. High rollers might bust out a brand-new lens, but I can’t. It throws off the balance. What good is having three contacts for the right eye and only two for the left? Then I would be forced to order more. Since I’m so goddamn cheap and try to make a year’s supply last 32 months, I just go about my day-to-day business with one eye closed until it’s time to replace both.

But that’s not the reason I have one eye closed today. I’m sick as hell, and my eyes burn. I think I have the Bubonic Plague. Or the swine flu. That’s what WebMD told me, and it’s never been wrong. Except for that one time I thought I had prostate cancer for about a month.

I’m pretty sure the passenger sitting next to me during my flight back from Paris gave me this debilitating and possibly deadly illness. I don’t know how I managed it, but I ended up in Business Class. It felt right to me at the time because I’ve always imagined it’s the well-mannered, upstanding, gentile members of society who sit in that section. You know, people like me.

I did my best not to make eye contact with anyone or open my mouth because that’s always how shit gets started. Since my family was doing their best not to know me, I turned my attention to the copious amount of warm rolls I asked the flight attendant to bring me.

I wasn’t really in the mood for rolls, but thankfully, I had a gently-used sandwich bag in my purse which I filled to the brim. Who am I to say no to free rolls?

The lady next to me coughed throughout the whole flight, but she was good about covering her mouth with the crook of her elbow and turning away. Until she went to sleep. I was making another deposit in the Warm Roll Bank (sometimes, I like to name my sandwich bags) when she started coughing again. Not wanting her germs to land on my hard-won doughy goodness, I leaned in to cover the opening of The Bank with my torso, putting me in direct path of her deadly germs.

Cal pretended not to notice for the first three or four hours, but finally she made a plea, “Stop with the rolls, mom. PLEASE.” Naturally, I replied, “Are you going to eat yours? I have room for one more.”

When she turned away in disgust, I noticed the knot in her hair. Luckily, I had the comb I swiped from our hotel room in Germany handy in my purse, along with a few free lemon-scented hand wipes taken from a seafood restaurant in San Francisco last fall.

Because of the new TSA regulations, I had to check in all of my other souvenirs: Individual packets of condiments, miniature bottles of hotel bath products, only-thrice-worn hotel slippers, shower caps, hotel stationary, and travel brochures. With each new item, I heard endless nagging from Cal. I don’t know what she said exactly, because I’m good at tuning shit out, but I think she used words like “embarrassing” and “criminal.” Fuck it. The next time someone has a craving for an individual serving of Nutella, guess who’s not going to share?

Nah, just playing. I’ll share. And I’ll do my best to stop embarrassing my kid. Because I want to be in a FANCY nursing home when I’m old.

Did your parents ever embarrass you? Do you embarrass your own kids?
Are you a partaker of free souvenirs?

P.S. Thrilled as hell to be the newest contributing columnist for Inside the Mind of a Ghetto Genius. My alias: Flo-Rich. I wrote about assholes. Because we all know one.

P.P.S. Only find me slightly embarrassing? Then let’s get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. I post original content on Facebook throughout the week.
image via pinterest

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  1. My mom came to pick my sister and me up from school one day and had our two dogs in the car. She opened the van door to let me in and the two (huge, slobbery) dogs took off. They ran around the entire school and terrorized all of my classmates while I chased after them. Everyone laughed at me. 

    I still shudder today when I think of how embarrassed I was at the time. 

  2. gawd you’re funny.  sounds like quite a plane ride.  i’d have asked to be moved to another BC seat.  i hate sitting next to people who are sick.  you’re pretty much doomed not to mention the annoyance and anxiety of dealing with it.  

    now i have to go read your column on assholes.

  3. if ever we separated ourselves from our mom at the grocery store, rebecca was never afraid to ask the cashier to announce over the intercom that our mom was now leaving from check out stand 4.   all the shoppers would watch for the candy aisle, the toy aisle, or the magazine aisle for our walk of shame.  i hated that.

  4. Hee hee, Warm Roll Bank. Awesome. I wish when I flew I got warm rolls. Then I would bring along some butter and honey. YUM. Now I need to go make rolls…thank you. :-D On another note, you may have dry eyes. Thats what I have. A few weeks ago I woke up not being able to see out of one of my eyes and went to the eye dr and apparently I sleep with one eye OPEN! Thats right! Beware robbers/aliens and war lords! I can see you! But my eye would get so dry that I scratched my cornia pretty badly. Apparently if I don’t sleep with special goggles *TRUE STORY!* every night I could make myself go blind. But when my eyes get really dry they tend to burn….and then I’ll do like you and close the one eye that burns.

  5. I was skinny as a rail in high school.  I was shopping with my mother at the mall when we bumped into a couple of her friends, with their big bubba sons.  They asked me jokingly if I played football.  My mother sensing my embarassment, decided to make it that much worse.  “No, Bill is not playing football!  He is an accomplished pianist and just won the youth symphony’s piano concerto program.”  My face is still red with an embarassment all these years later…

  6. 1. I stole a shit ton of those individual servings of Nutella when I was in Paris. Unfortunately half of them got smashed in my backpack on the way home and my side pocket turned into pure Nutella. It was difficult to clean – but I never regretted taking them because the few that didn’t break were so sweet when I got back it was worth the amount of time I had to spend cleaning to get all the Nutella out of my backpack. 

    2. My mother was my science teacher for 7th and 8th grade. Tender years for a girl’s self-esteem. My class got to see my mom be her goofy self (she wore singing light-up reindeer antlers around Christmas time). I – thought it was funny. My classmates – thought she was stupid. So I played along and was “embarrassed” (but usually more embarrassed by the fact that I thought she was funny than by her). She also gave people detentions. Like my friends. Which was also embarrassing. But, looking back, she was just being her self and doing her job so I’m not too upset about it now. Except the potty-dance incident. 

    Let’s step back… When I was little, I hated going pee.  Not sure why – but I did. I got bladder infection a lot from holding it in for too long. However – I had to come up with creative ways to keep from peeing my pants. One such thing is “the potty-dance”. Many people do it. It’s the way you weirdly move your legs around while keeping them smashed together to keep the piss from coming out. Well, I did it a lot when I was younger and still do it to this day. One day – in class – I had to pee really badly. I walked up to my mom (while “potty-dancing”) and she told me I could go pee because she knew what I was going to ask because of my potty-dance. When I came back from the bathroom I found out she had told the whole class about how I do a potty dance. I was pretty mortified. ALMOST as mortified as when she told the whole office at the school the day I got my period so all my teachers gave me that “Awww, look at you growing up” face for the next two weeks whenever they saw me. 

    But – I hope it is comforting to know that to this day my mom is one of my best friends, and I still love her dearly. Things that would have embarrassed me then I find genuinely adorable and charming now. 

    Much love. Hope you had a FABULOUS trip.

    • 1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I always fear this happening. truth be told, this is why I had the gently-used sandwich bag in my purse in the first place. I try to stuff the stolen (uh, I mean, purchased for free) goods in there because I am terrible at cleaning sticky messes. Just ask my family. 

      2. I hope my daughter talks about me one day the way you talk about your mom. Then, I will know that I did a good job. And that’s the best I can hope for. 

      And I hope she loves me even though I just can’t help embarrassing her. I really can’t. I mean, I will try from now on, but much like telling people about the potty dance, I just feel stuff coming out of my mouth before I even have a chance to process it. 

  7. Just think . . . all these embarassing moments for your daughter will lead to fun stories to tell when she gets older . . . or fodder for her psychiatrist.  Either way, you are doing her a service, really.

    I steal, um I mean redistribute, all that shit in the hotel rooms.  If it’s there, it’s there to take is what I say.  Otherwise, they would have screwed it into the floor, yes?  Exactly.

  8. My mom picks fights with strangers.  Once, Home Depot called the cops on her, because she was causing a scene over some air conditioner vents she was trying to return.  When she didn’t get arrested, she threw another fit b/c my dad took my brother and I out of the store, and thereby didn’t provide her with moral support.  Ha!  

  9. kristin delooff says:

    I was totally pissed on our last road trip–and hubs was totally grossed out–at the fact that there were NO little shampoos/conditioners because the shampoo/conditioner/shower gel was in a multi-use dispenser in the showers in TWO different hotels!  He was all, like, “ew gross,” & I was peeved I couldn’t snatch the free stuff.

  10. My dad, OMG he tries to act young all the time. But when we were younger we couldn’t say anything cause we were afraid of his ass. Now, I talk back to him freely. Like damn it!!! Didn’t I say you should stop yelling, this is why can’t talk to you.

    My sister says he’s turned a new leaf almost, everytime I have to bust out my yelling at him for. We love him though, even though he drives us crazy…

    Holy shit man is Cray Cray!!!

    • Did I also mention the time, we almost got banned from the mall because my dad was upset with the crazy bitch/dude at Starbucks for not making his Frappe right????

      Oh… I didn’t tell you that story… My dad likes to surprise show up on us and fly here to visit. We never know when he’s coming, we get a phone call he is on the front steps of our house…

      So back to the Mall situation, I was at the Apple store, cause I’m cool like that (wait, no I’m not). Anyways my sister got sent back for the second time to have them remake his frappe the way they like it. Why cause my dad thinks he can do that shit. Anyways, my sister comes back and it still isn’t the way he likes it, so he goes back with her himself. I leave the apple store to meet them down there and her and my dad are walking away in silence and we leave the mall.

      As we walk out, I heard on the mall rent-a-cops walkie talkie that there was a disturbance at starbucks and to report immediately. Granted I didn’t hear them say a description, you know “black man, looks like Samuel L. Jackson w/ a mouth to match.” I still hang my head in shame everytime I pass that starbucks, I’m sure there is a picture of him there to prevent things from happening again. We don’t even go to that mall anymore, I think.

      I tell you this because, my dad has an obsession with starbucks. I recently went back home and we were in the drive through of a starbucks in Cali about to run some errands. The lady recognized my dads voice and said oh hay *dad’s name* come to the window we’ll have your drink ready. without him even having to mouth off his order, they prepared his Frappe/Coffee drink. He has a friendship with the staff at Starbucks, totally unhealthy but makes for good stories.

      • Man oh man, I am seriously at a Starbucks right now, typing this on my Mac, enjoying a frappe. I can’t even make this shit up. I think I would fit right into your family. 

        I’m glad I wasn’t working at that Starbucks. I woulda peed in my pants. He sounds like a hoot though. =) 

    • He’s growing younger instead of older? That sounds pretty dope. Although…if that happened with my mom and she was suddenly acting young and hip and trying to wear trendy clothes, I would move to an island. 

      You must have more patience. ;)

  11. Michelle Szetela says:

    My husband and I alternate between Poor and Cheap, so when we travel (which hasn’t been often, because we haven’t been married that long), we take those free brochures from whatever we visit. But they turn out to be really good souvenirs because they’re flat and easy to transport, and when we get them home we turn them and other flat-assembled things (postcards, maps, ticket stubs, etc.) into posters that we hang on the wall, kinda as a reminder of where we’ve been. (So far, we have posters from NYC, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Tallinn.)

    But our other big reason that we think t’s good to transport those smalls souvenirs because the husband works for an airline, so we generally fly for free, which is flipping awesome, but that means we can NEVER CHECK LUGGAGE EVER, lest our luggage winds up in some godforsaken place like North Dakota.

    • WOW. What an AMAZING perk!! A friend of mine graduated with a business degree from college but at the time, she was dating someone long distance and so she decided that just for the time they lived apart, she would get a job as a flight attendant for the free flights. She thought it would be fun to travel AND see her boyfriend regularly. 20 years later, she’s still doing it! She also never checks bags in. HAHA. 

      I love what y’all do with the brochures. I bet Cal would LOVE to start something like that for each of her trips. Thanks for the idea!

  12. Brittany Rae Olson says:

    SInce my family owns the hotels you are steeling from, beeyatch :-).  Kidding, though we do own hotels that is what the stuff is there for.  See if you stay somewhere and you like the shampoo and it is say Bath & Body Works (yes there are some of those) the goal is for you to go buy their product.  Pens and stationary same thing, someone sees you, as cool as you are, rocking say a Hilton pen and they think wow, she stays there I want to also.  Product placement.  And free advertising. 
    And my parents never embarassed me when I was little.  NOW is another story as my dad is married and is sporting a girlfriend and made nice with all my friends from high school???  UGH!  But oh well.  And I am not lucky enough to have been blessed with kiddos so they don’t get any of my coolness yet.

    • CrysHouse says:

      I went to a hotel that had Bath and Body stuff that was only made for THAT hotel.  *SIgh*  I even called the corporate office to track the product down.  Loved it.

    • Brittany- Bath and Body Works? I need to stay at them hotels. That’s pretty dope. I don’t even like to buy shit at that store unless it’s on discount during one of their major annual sales. Getting it for free would be beyond dope.

      Wow, your family must have some crazy ass stories from those hotels. I can only imagine. Or maybe my imagination couldn’t even fathom some of the shiz y’all have seen. 

      Is the gf at least decent to you and your dad? Hope so. Or else…..;)

      • Brittany Rae says:

        I refuse to acknowledge her existance. We all know she is there… But I just choose to act like she isn’t. If she ever decided to darken my doorstep its on like Donkey-Kong. (Hence no FB :) now you know why).
        Hope you are feeling better!!

  13. First, I am so proud of you! Contributing columnist? That is outstanding, yo! Second, my dad is the king of parental embarrassment. I don’t embarrass easily but my little sister does. I remember my dad strolling down the aisle at the grocery story, pushing the buggy and singing Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book. He was getting into it big time, just to try and embarrass us. It was great actually. I smile when I think of that incident. Third, I <3 free souvenirs!! The more rolls the better, I say.

    • Aw, thank you!!
       I am so thrilled to be part of such a ghetto and hilarious site. =)
      That takes BALLS to do that in public. I don’t know whether I should cringe for your sis or to give the man a round of applause for being so fearless and fun. Makes ME smile and I wasn’t even there! xoxo

  14. My mom holds onto the wrongs we did to her as if they happened yesterday. So, as she gets older, she actually gets MORE embarrassing because she’ll complain about things we did as children and teens with the intensity of someone it just happened to, which makes me paranoid that it’s not painting a very accurate picture of who I am today.

    • Whoa, mama has some dope ass excellent memory. I would be so screwed if my ma had a long memory. I mess up once a day with her, so I’d probably just have to stop talking to her or taking her out in public in order to avoid the embarrassment of hearing the wrongdoings. 

  15. Kayla Evans says:

    Always gotta take advantage of that free stuff!!! My Nana is infamous for getting 3 plates at a buffet and stuffing at least an entire plate worth of food into her purse, with the contents wrapped in napkins. Hilarious. 

    Hope you feel better soon!

  16. When I got busted for skipping class in tenth grade my dad came to school with me the next day and spent every second glued to my truant ass.  All.  Day.  Long.  Oh, and did I mention that he wore a Santa hat and a flowered lei?  He told me that the next time I “pulled any of those shenanigans” he’d come to school with me wearing a dress.  That shit shame-spiralled me into a model student, y’all.

  17. Rachel B says:

    My story isn’t much different from the rest of your readers. Basically my mom relished in embarrassing her children and would do things like pick us up at school by jumping out of the car and dancing around so we would “see” her and know where to find her. This was especially embarrassing when I was chatting up some cute football players who would then turn and stare at the parking lot and ask if that was my mom dancing around her car. 

    She was also known to make scenes at stores when trying to return items. I remember one year she bought me a walkman on sale before Thanksgiving but saved it for Christmas. When Christmas came we found out that it was defective and went back to the store for a return. As it was outside of the 30 day return window some poor schmuck attempted to inform her that she would have to return it to Sony rather than to the store. She then raised her voice and became quite clear about her views on the return policy with the cashier and everyone within a 50 foot radius. At the time I wanted to die. Now? I do the exact same thing. I have been known to make my insurance company hang up on me (mostly because they were douches NOT because I was adamant that I wanted my healthcare benefits). 

    Just think, in another 10 years or so, Cal will be shoving warm rolls into her own gently used ziploc bag thanks to your motherly influence. 

    • OOOOO…..I wish your mama’s skill had rubbed off on me! Perhaps I could watch you or her in action some day. I am terrible when it comes to “confronting” sales reps for refunds or any other service. I need some balls. Lend me some of yours.

      I hope Cal learns from me. That way, we can double up. Just thinking about this makes me proud already.

  18. Listen, I got your back with the wipes, and the shampoo, and the condiments…those are mom rights of passage, I believe.

    But….I’m pretty sure stuffing dinner rolls in your pockets is grandma status. 

    As a daughter whose mother used to always try to pay in pennies at CVS (also confused about her mom vs. grandma status, apparently) I feel for Cal in this situation.

    Stick to the mini conditioners.

  19. My dad and step-mom were are super cheap.  They made me order off the children’s menu until I was no longer able to to cuz of my age.  I’m sorry but a 12 year old, growing girl needs more than a chicken strip and 5 fries.    This was not only embarrassing, but it pissed me off too!

    Oh and they were always good for stealing all the sugar packets too.  My step-mom would empty the rectangular holder right into her purse.

    One would think my step-sister and I grew up poor and had to try and cut corners whenever possible.  Let me just say that we were “middle class” comfortable.  Shit like this scarred me for life.

    • Oh, totally. Those kids meals are so super tiny. They just kinda whet your appetite and leave you feeling even more hungry. Especially the kid-sized dessert. No sir, my child needs more than 2 teaspoons of ice cream. 

      So if I had come to your door asking to borrow a cup of sugar, would your mama have handed me 76 packets instead of a measuring cup?

      Mighta been good for my clumsy ass self. =)

  20. I have a mild disorder when it comes to free stuff. I love it. And I seek it out to have it.
    I probably won’t eat dinner rolls out of your purse though.

  21. When my family lived in the Philippines, my mom always made me bring like a thousand ketchup packets with me when I would visit. You see, apparently filipino ketchup is super sweet so my mom always brought along her own collection of ketchup whenever they would go out to eat.

  22. Hey I’m the same with the contact lenses too!! 

    Free rolls? Roll me some, dude.

  23. I’ll give you instead a little story about how I embarrassed myself via parental names.

    When I was in middle school I had a science teacher names Mr. Costa. One day instead of calling out Mr. Costa’s name I called him “Mom” (dear lord how I wish I could make this shit up) and he rolled with it and called me “Son”. From that day on and for the rest of the school year I called him mom and he called me son. 

    One of the best. teachers. ever.

    I had a roll in my purse last week, in a plastic bag, with butter. Turns out we roll the same way homette. I hope you’re still having a good trip. :)

  24. Random- the high end hobo says:

    I’ve already waxed poetic about several of my mother’s embarrassing events so I won’t bore you with rehashing here.

    But hells yes I take the shampoo, soap, shower cap, tailor kit (dude, what if I lose a button? We all saw what happened to poor Janet when her shirt popped open), notepads, pens… I figure they’re for my use. And I will use them.

    Also, if you come to my house, no need to pack shampoo. I’ve got plenty. ;)

  25. I take all of the hotel condiments.  I don’t use them.  I take my own bar of soap and keep the box so I can take it back home and not get soap all over my makeup bag.  I bring my  own shampoo and conditioner because I shell out big bucks for the expensive stuff (and because I believe all the hype my hair dresser tells me).  I take all the hotel soaps and lotions because my father-in-law uses them.  He has more shampoo than he’ll be able to use in three lifetimes, but what if there’s a sudden shortage of shampoo and conditioner?  I know one man who’s prepared for that kind of disaster!

  26. RollerScrapper says:

    lol @ the thrice worn slippers.  The captain has a pair of slippers from the hotel we stayed in in Beijing, actually two pairs b/c I swiped mine even though sssh, I didn’t wear them!  Anyhow he brought them to a friend’s house in Florida so that he wouldn’t be scuffing her nice floors with his shoes and then promptly forgot them.  Fast forward to months later when our other friends from Florida bring us a ziplock bag entitled “The captain’s slippers”.  Yes, she saved them, and sent these grubby used, freebie slippers home with other friends of ours.  Yes, those are true friends, ones who save your free shizz, and ones who will carry your dirty slippers for you :)
    PS I am afraid to take food from a buffet and sneer at it like stealing, but I have no qualms about eating 4 servings more than I should and sneaking it out in my stomach.  The captain however always grabs free crackers and nutella or whatever the “good” stuff is on the way out, this is how we get by, on crackers and free nutella, whereas the smart people in our tours will bring used ziplocks and make sandwiches, b/c you know, Rick Steves says it’s ok, so therefore it is not stealing ;)

    • Them friends are KEEPERS. But also, the Captain gets major points for having the consideration to bring them and not mess up the floors. So, y’all need to keep each other. ;) 

      OMG, this totally reminds me of a pic I saw. It said something like, “I snuck a bunch of booze into work today….using my stomach.” Really, it is the best hding place ever. How is anyone gonna search it? LIKE A VAULT, YO.

      Dang girl, people on tours be all resourceful and creative and shiz. 

  27. Embarrassing my kids is my job, isn’t it? The older two caught on early and refused to play along into whatever shenanigans I was up to, but the youngest she’s too easy. I like to do things like have her paged at Walmart, wear inappropriate clothes, and talk about the latest school drama when her friends come over, she rolls her eyes in disgust and stomps out of the room.

    • Not only our job, but our privilege, yes? I have a few stretch marks to prove the validity of this claim. 

      Oh man, Cal is SO embarrassed of the way I dress. She is very conservative and thinks I dress like a hussy. What can I say? I think boobs are an accessory, and sometimes, I don’t feel like wearing earrings. 

      • Mine says stuff like “Not age appropriate MOM”. Not sure what she means because I’m just a 20 something biker bitch…. in my mind… SO appropriate I say.

  28. People that don’t wear contacts have NO IDEA how fucking horrible they are.  I mean I am BLIND without them.  Talk about a real epidemic.  Screw the ozone – help me see!  

    P.S. Hope you feel better soon!

  29. kel_belle says:

    It’s not just the cost of the eye doctor visit that I despise… it’s that puff of air into the eyes is the clencher for me

  30. My mother frequently got us kicked out of Dillards for being public nuisances.

    It explains a great deal about who I am now.

  31. Your Warm Roll Bank sounds safe as hell. I’d trust my warm rolls with you anytime. There is absolutely no metaphor in that.

    My motto is “If it’s free, it’s for me!” So there’s no shame in my game. Hotel note pads are favorite!!!!

    My mom used to embarass me all the time but she never realized that what she was doing wasn’t the norm… or what I called “too filipino for my American blood.”

    • LMFAO. Now that you mention that there IS NO metaphor…;)

      YOUR MOTTO IS THE BEST MOTTO IN THE WORLD.

      My mother is too Korean for my American blood as well. But she claims it’s because I’ve abandoned my heritage. I can’t think of a good comeback to that. 

  32. I try to stretch out my contacts forever, too.

    My dad used to embarrass me by explaining too much stuff to my friends. But I guess that’s what engineers do.

    • I think nothing of dropping moola on rap posters or some other asinine shit, but when it comes to the health of my eyes, I shudder at the thought of parting with a dollar. 

      This is why i will never ask my FIL, who is also an engineer, questions that require any answer lengthier than a yes or a no. ;)

  33. My dad would pick the food out of his teeth by flattening a straw from his drink and using that as a toothpick.  At the restaurant.  At the table.  Which is really handy, if you think about it, but at 12 I was filled with contempt.  You know, because I was 12.  Still, I say tuck away that straw and run it to the bathroom mirror instead.  

  34. Did my parents embarrass me? What, is this a trick question. I think all parents embarrass us at some point. Bringing up things that happened when you were a baby and knew no better. Showing pictures of you from middle school—everyone knows the 90s was rough for childhood fashion. 

    But am I reading that you were in Germany and Paris (I have catching up to do, so I’m reading this post first—in case the next few completely reveal that you already told the world about your travels)!? Are you on my vacation plan? I just got back from both the other week. Did you also go to Belgium? If so, we had a similar European escape. 

    • I shudder to think about my middle school pictures. There was some pathetic fashion choices being made. Baby doll dresses, palazzo pants, suspenders, cuffed denim shorts. 

      Didn’t go to Belgium. Man, it woulda been DOPE to share a croissant together, oui?

  35. Coughing on an airplane?  All I can think of is Outbreak.  Ick.

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