So there we were, inveterate aisle-sitter (as opposed to window-sitter) that we are, early to board and snug (if not smug) in our aisle seat, being brushed back endlessly by passengers squeezing down the aisle of the DC-9. Along comes a young steward with a serious look on his face. He's carrying a brand-new, shrink-wrapped, regulation hockey stick and eyeing the overhead bins intently: Surely this is one of the most daunting overhead-bin finagles of his career. He sees an opening, and goes for it, in the process swiping Insider across the top of the noggin with the business end of the hockey stick. We're happy to report neither a fight nor a hockey game broke out. It was but a tap, but endless apologies from the steward followed, as we tried to assure him there was no harm. (No harm, but a foul nonetheless.) The supply of new experiences during travel truly is inexhaustible. Who would have thought it: stick-checked in Minneapolis, aboard a DC-9.

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