String Theory Confirmed By Airline

String theory begins by telling its audience that most of nature remains hidden from us in tiny, curled up dimensions of space. You can’t see them, but they’re there.

I have discovered where theses dimensions are and can verify to you for the first time they are hidden as promised. They may be found on United Airlines’ 757 Jets, wedged into the Economy Plus section of the aircraft.

I purchased one of these seats on Monday, fully expecting to benefit from the promised extra dimensions of “space” and “spaciousness” United assured me were unavailable to the lesser beings in steerage, folks who were too cheap to pay for the priviledges and high living to which your author has grown accustomed.

When I got to 11D, visual inspection proved that this Economy Plus seat was no larger than the seats at the back of the plane, the so-called non “Plus” section. But knowing the eye can deceive, I sat.

It was then I confirmed that the extra dimensions of physical space were hidden as predicted. For I could not wedge my 6’2″ 195 lb frame into the seat such that I could sit straight. Also, the mis-named “head” rest dug into my should blades, items which are still nowhere near my head.

This would have been tolerable if not for the man who shortly arrived, wishing to pile into 11E, the middle seat. He was two inches shorter than I and about twenty pounds heavier. He too must have been up on his physics, but he was not a string-theory man. He probably subscribed to Lee Smolin’s rival non-hidden dimensions quantum theory.

I say this because when he saw the space into which he would have to maneuver, he became quite angry. He must have realized that the dimensions of space which were promised were not there, thus implying that his quantum theory was false.

He became incensed and started throwing his elbows around trying to find the seat belt. He grumbled and swore. He took up both armrests and growled at the seat back in front of him as if daring it to say something.

After huffing a solid five minutes, he reached down and pulled out a book from his satchel. I never managed to see the cover, which the man was purposely hiding. But I saw large letters on the back cover which read, “A**holes Finish First.”

Very well, I thought, a Harvard man. An MBA, surely. So I slowly but forcefully put my right elbow on the armrest on the millimeter of exposed surface the man left open. I said to him, “The Pauli exclusion principle at work, eh?”

He looked at me like I spoke an incomprehensible foreign language, opened his mouth, but decided against saying anything and went back to his book. And there he sat for the rest of the trip.

I would have written about this earlier, but it was only this morning I regained feeling in my upper limbs, which had become numb after the prolonged flight.


  1. Ken

    A probable companion reference to the book the adjacent passenger was reading is, probably:

    “Assholeology: The Science Behind Getting Your Way – and Getting Away with it.”

    Available a fine booksellers everywhere (e.g.: ).

    Noteworthy is that this reference clarifies early & clearly the subtle-but-important distinctions between the asshole and douchebag, which are [as we all know] all too often confused.

  2. Ray

    You’re lucky that you didn’t have to travel standing up holding on to a strap. That’s the new economy minus fare plan.

  3. Speed

    Perhaps a letter to your Senator, Chuck Schumer, will get Congress to swing in to action and do something about airline seating. They’re already working on refunding baggage fees when bags and passenger are dispatched to different locations within the space-time continuum.

    Chuck Schumer Demands Airlines Pay For Lost Bags
    ALBANY, N.Y. — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York says that if airlines don’t start reimbursing their rising fees when passengers’ bags are lost, he’ll introduce a bill to force the issue.

    Anything to aviod real work like balancing the budget or properly funding the FAA.

  4. How clever of the airlines. “Economy PLUS”, eh? You thought it meant “a little better than economy class” and what the airlines intended was “a little more economical than economy class”. Or even tighter spaces to be squozen into than usual. Nothing to go wrong, there.

  5. Maybe TSA can grope you *after* deplaning, to help restore some circulation & feeling.

  6. j ferguson

    I’m 6’2 and hover (must be wrong word) around 230. Some years ago i found myself on an American DC-10 returning from Hawaii. I was in back in the middle section a seat (or 2) away from the aisle. There was insufficient space between my seat-back and the seat-back in front for my upper legs unless I pulled my knees up into the fetal position. That wasn’t comfortable and I couldn’t spread them enough to make it work without provoking complaints from the young lady on my left. And of course the plane was sold out.

    Understand that for almost 30 years I flew at least two trips a month – all domestic, so I thought I’d seen everything.

    but this was the worst.

    A guy named Crandall ran the airline at that time. I already hated him and was happy to see him later founder (figuratively) in his attempt at a transatlantic crossing by sail (boat that is). He’d bought lots of bells and whistles and they didn’t work. And he expected warranty service at W52.

    The American Magazine which fell very (VERY) readily to hand in the seatback pocket in front of me contained a note to the customers from Mr. Crandall observing that their earlier experiment with longer seat pitches (pitch=back to back dimension) had shown that customers didn’t give a damn about leg room, all they cared about was price. So in order to provide what the customer wanted, low price would be the order of the day – more seats – less leg room.

    This was 20 years ago.

  7. mt

    Two words: exit aisle.

  8. Dennis Dunton

    Funny….I never had you pegged as a Hedonist. lol

  9. Bruce Foutch

    You should be able to get all the legroom you need, if you just ‘pull a few strings’…

  10. Eric Anderson

    Welcome to coach, Mr. Briggs. Next time you’re up there in your comfy first class accommodations, remember all us little people back behind the curtain . . . 🙂

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