54 Across

You know how when you’re on a plane sometimes, flying to Nashville to shoot a new episode of Dirty Jobs, and you strike up a conversation with the sweet little old lady across the aisle who has absolutely no idea who you are?

Well, you know how sometimes, after chatting with the sweet little old lady for twenty minutes about her great-grandchildren, she asks if you can help her with a few clues on the crossword puzzle in the New York Times that she’s been unable to complete, and you say, “sure?”

Well, you know how sometimes the sweet little old lady will ask you specifically if you know the answer to 54 across, and then, when you lean across the aisle to read the clue to 54 across, you laugh out loud because the answer to 54 across is YOU, and you realize in that moment that the sweet little old lady has been pulling your chain the whole time?

Well, you know how in moments like those, you lower your mask – weirdly pleased that sweet little old ladies still know who you are – flash your friendliest smile, and say, “I don’t know his name, ma’am, but maybe his face rings a bell?”

Yeah, well, if you know how that feels, you probably also know how it feels when the sweet little old lady still has absolutely no idea who you are, and begins to regard you with sudden suspicion, as if she might be sitting across the aisle from a lunatic…

God, I’ve missed flying.

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