Illustration for article titled Your Birthday Horror Stories
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My birthday was this week, and it was not great. That is solely because it was excruciatingly mundane. I went to work instead of taking the day off, buying a bunch of face masks, and eating my body weight in cake like a happier person might. It made me think of bad birthdays in general—people getting terrible news about their loved ones on their big day, the time no one showed up to my roller rink birthday jamboree in middle school—and how it seems like everyone has had a disappointing birthday at some point in their lives. I want to hear all about yours: what happened on your worst birthday?

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But first, let’s look at last week’s winners: here are the worst things you’ve seen on an airplane.

zerofucksthirty, I am going to puke:

I travel at least three weeks out of the month or work. I have seen things that make me hate people. (That coupled with people actually voted for Trump, make it difficult to leave my house if I don’t have too)

I had enough photos of people picking their nose to make a calendar. Shoes off, belts and pants undone, smelly food and people have been the norm in my life. However, when a guy next to me in first class took off his shoes and socks to clip his toenails, I figured I had seen everything. Then he began to collect the clipping. I was thankful at first, thinking at least I wouldn’t have to look at them. That part was correct. It got worse. He decided that they would make a good snack and not only ate them, chewed them with his moth open. The fight attendant saw all of this and did nothing.

Let’s say my hangover the next day to try and I see that was epic.

OfLiceandMen, YOU ARE A MONSTER:

I definitely was The Problem on a flight. I was 21, had been farming in Europe for six months, and came home for a holiday. For the past few weeks on the farm, my scalp had been itchy but I attributed it to sunburn—long hours in the fields, no hat, nothing to think about, right? Idiot.

On the plane, I got upgraded to first class and was already feeling out of my element in my gnarly farm clothes and hiking boots. I sat next to this dapper Spanish gentleman—impeccably dressed, stylish salt-and-pepper hair, beautiful suit, etc. The first faux pas is that I order a gin and tonic from the stewardess, and the second she hands it to me, we hit turbulence. I spill half my drink on Señor Fancypants. Humiliated, but not technically my fault.

Then it happens. I put the tray table down, try to subtly scratch my head, and a giant. fucking. LOUSE falls out of my hair onto the tray table. It is alive. Two more fall out of my hair. The man next to me recoils in disgust, I try to brush off the lice, and that is how I spread lice to an entire plane of people. I am so sorry.

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TamTams, this is truly horrifying:

I was on a Southwest* flight with my mom and we had taken aisle seats across from each other. A mother, let’s call her Chloe, with about a 2 year old child sat down in the window and middle seats next to my mom.

About halfway through the flight, Chloe moves the kid into the middle seat and promptly starts changing an extra smelly, poopy diaper, without a changing pad. The child’s butt was on the seat uncovered and presumably with some residual poop on it. The kid is screaming bloody murder and flailing it’s arms-hitting my mom. The mother is loudly telling the child to calm down. Everyone in our area looked when the smell hit the air but then looked away so as not to stare.

My poor mom was trying her best not to say anything...until Chloe stashed the dirty diaper in the seat back pocket in the middle seat, scooting it as close to my mother’s side as possible (???). My mom politely asked Chloe to throw away the diaper in the bathroom, even offering to watch the kid for a minute while she did it. No dice. The mother got huffy and says, “That’s the flight attendant’s job!” (implying that the flight attendants are meant to remove dirty diapers from seat back pockets...newsflash-that isn’t their job).

So my mom hits the call button, the flight attendant comes around and my mom tells her what happened. The flight attendant was gracious and told Chloe that there is a changing table in the bathroom next time she needs one and could Chloe please pass her the diaper (flight attendant had put on gloves at this point). Chloe hands it to her in an annoyed fashion right near my mom’s face (?????) and huffs and puffs throughout the rest of the flight as though my mother had done something horrific.

*There are changing tables in every Southwest bathroom. They use Boeing 737s which are all equipped with them in the bathrooms above the toilets. Do not change your baby’s diaper in the seat. It’s disgusting.

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Doreen DelPurgatorio, I have a theory that only sociopaths drink tomato juice sans booze on airplanes, so I had to include this one:

I once sat next to a filthy man who thumbed through a stack of Asian porn mags for the entire five hours. Interrupted only by shouting “TOMATO JUICE!” every time a flight attendant passed us.

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DigIttheMostBabay, you win:

The worst thing I’ve ever seen on an airplane is other people.

Out bummer one another in comments below.

It's facetious. Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS, is out 7/21/20.

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