Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "the Crackler," the scourge of American Airlines Flight #1798 last night to San Francisco. From the minute he arrived at the gate to the minute the plane landed, he cracked his gum again and again so loudly that several people asked him to stop. He ignored them. For my part, I decided "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I matched each crack with an "oink" which, given that he was sitting across the aisle from me, meant that the hour-long flight went something like this: "CRACK" ... "oink" ... "CRACK" ... "oink" ... "CRACK" ... "oink ..." He didn't seem to understand what I was doing. Who knows, maybe he was on crack ...!