'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
KIDDIE KORPS FLIGHT CREW
I flew to Canada the other day—and boy are my arms tired! (Sorry, I must have been channeling the ghost of Henny Youngman.)
While sitting in an airport terminal on the trip home, waiting for my connecting flight to begin boarding, I saw an odd sight. The plane had arrived and all the passengers finally disembarked. It was that five or ten minute lull period, when they won’t let any new travelers get on board because the crew is preparing the plane for the next flight. I’m not sure exactly what preparations take place during this period, other than refueling the jet, restocking the full load of three ounces of peanuts, and looking up directions to Hartford on MapQuest.com.
As I sat there with the other folks, waiting for an airline employee to grab the microphone behind the counter and announce, “Skrab skitch nogglelogger, flidge squackle umble looffer boarding pass ready,” (see last week’s column on multi-million-dollar facilities with two-dollar sound systems), I was startled to see a young man come running out of the doorway from the aircraft.
“Hmm, I wonder why that passenger waited so long before getting off the plane?” I thought to myself. The guy looked to be about 20 years old, and he had short spiky hair and a goofy smile on his face. He jogged across the wide aisle of the airport terminal, almost colliding with one of those ubiquitous beeping golf carts, and went to the take-out counter of a pizza joint.
A few moments later the guy came jogging back toward our boarding gate, chomping on a large slice of pizza as he ran. Just before he went thru the doorway back to the aircraft, I noticed he was wearing dark blue slacks and a white short-sleeve shirt with some insignia on the shoulders. That’s when I said out loud, “Holy mackerel!” (the sanitized version of what I actually said). “He’s our pilot!”
Sure enough, when I finally boarded the plane and glanced toward the cockpit, there was Mr. Spiky-Hair-20-Year-Old flipping switches on the control panel with his left hand while licking tomato sauce off the fingers of his right hand.
I don’t know about you, but when I get on a plane I want to see a guy in the cockpit who looks like “Sully” Sullenberger. You know, a guy who looks like he’s had about a billion hours of flight time. A guy who looks like he’s safely landed a few planes on the Hudson River during his career. A guy who looks like he flew F-16s during a war or two. A guy who NEVER licks tomato sauce off his fingers while wearing a white shirt.
On the other hand, I’d rather not see a kid in the cockpit who looks like he decided to get into the aviation field because of a really cool video game he played in high school—last week.
To be fair, I’m sure our young pilot only appeared to be 20 years old. Certainly he had to be much older than that. Maybe almost 23.
Anyway, we landed safely and smoothly in Hartford, so young Mr. Spiky Hair must know what he’s doing after all.
Maybe it’s just me, but even if a young pilot is a skillful and accomplished aviator, I think it’s kind of unseemly for him, once the plane has landed and his work shift is over, to run joyfully down the corridor of the airport terminal and exclaim that his mom is about to pick him up and take him to a party at Chuck E. Cheese.
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