I recently flew to Atlanta and heard something that struck me as odd. Or sad. I’ll let you decide.

When we landed, the flight attendant said on the intercom, “It is our absolute pleasure to welcome you to Atlanta.”

Can you believe that? His absolute pleasure. Absolute! There’s no better pleasure than absolute. Absolute is #1. It’s the top dog. It’s the king of pleasures. And since there can only be one king, there’s only one absolute pleasure.

So, unless Theodore the flight attendant was lying to me and the rest of the passengers, he just blew his absolute pleasure on welcoming a plane load of strangers to a city he probably doesn’t even call home. What a sad waste of your one-time absolute pleasure.

Someday he’s going to look into the eyes of his child and she’s going to ask, “Was it your absolute pleasure to have me?” And he will look into her eyes and say, “Almost honey. I’m afraid you came in second to the 150 people traveling from Indianapolis  whom I welcomed to Atlanta or wherever their ultimate destination might have been.”

And that child will be scarred even more than she would have been having a dad named Theodore. But I suspect Theodore was lying to us. I suspect he’s had greater pleasures. That caused me to write a letter to Delta Airlines to ask them to have their flight attendants stop throwing about their absolute pleasures willy-nilly. They responded by offering to pay for my flight home on any other airline but theirs.

“My absolute pleasure.” It’s such an odd phrase, I started to wonder if other people might say it because that’s the kind of weirdness you’ve grown to expect from me. For example, I thought about a mother saying that to her newborn. “It was my ultimate pleasure to bring you into this world.”

Then I thought, that would be a lie. It would be more like, “it was my ultimate pleasure to conceive you,” she looks over at her husband fumbling with his iPhone to see how many views the live stream of the birth he posted on TikTok has received, “well, second most. But the last nine months have been a scary ride of vomiting, weight gain, cramps, contractions, and cravings for food combinations that would otherwise be considered insane. Then ending with you busting out of me like a mob of shoppers on Black Friday trying to get the only Xbox in the Greater Chicago area. So today is not my absolute pleasure. It was my ultimate relief because this is over and Mommy has decided you will be an only child.” Looks back over at her husband, then back to the newborn, “And just so you know, if daddy keeps putting embarrassing videos of me on the internet, he likely won’t be living with us by the time you’re able to talk.”

So, today I hope you have pleasures galore. But not your ultimate pleasure. Save that for something really special. Think of poor Theodore who’s probably telling his passengers today that it’s his ultimate delight to welcome them to Tulsa and they’re wondering why it’s a delight and not a pleasure to go to Tulsa.

Carry on, Citizens!