The Bachelor, the diaper, Sully, and the tarnished pilot image.
Okay, Jake, this is me and you talking pilot to pilot down in Flight Ops, with no cameras, microphones, ABC producers refilling cocktails or shrieking hot near-pornish “bachelorettes” slobbering over you. Here’s the deal. You’re doing more to trash the airline pilot image than Lisa Nowak the astro-nut did to the NASA image by driving ten hours in a diaper to commit a felony.
Used to see the video of the astronauts suited up and each one clomping to the launch pad like the Michelin man, legs akimbo like modern-day gunslingers because, we all assumed, they had such enormous cajones that they had to walk that way.
Lisa Nowak’s arrest revealed the truth: they’re all wearing diapers. The walk is more like toddlers with a load in their pants than steely-eyed spacemen.
even though he was an unfaithful lying wretch, enact a neurotic, girlish negation of 75 years of airline pilot mystique by collapsing into tears on national television. Some girls like that, apparently. So what? Even if the producers scripted your remake of Jason Messner sobbing over the deck rail of a fabulous villa Down Under, you needed to be a man, think of the other jet crew reputations in the balance, and NOT blubber over the rail of the Holiday Inn in Austin.
Think of your poor first officer: he has to worry that if your aircraft suffers a birdstrike and loses both engines, he’ll have to contend with both a deadstick landing AND you blubbering like a baby at the same time.
So get real, for the love of God, pilothood, manhood and all that’s sacred to our already beleagured profession. Here’s what I want you to do:
1. Man Up. No more “weeping” on national TV. If you must weep–like when you look at your measly paycheck as a commuter pilot–do so privately. In public, maintain your facade, discretely spend those food stamps you’re eligible for by virtue of the pay scale that puts your W-2 income somewhere between that of my lawn guy
and the second assistant manager at Lowe’s. Have any of the bachelorettes caught on to that yet? (Editor’s Note: Those unfamiliar with the airline world may not grasp the subtle distinction between the terms “airline pilot” and “commuter pilot.” It’s analogous to a physician and a chiropractor: sure, they’re both called “doctor,” but they’re nowhere near the same thing. –JB, Blog Mgr & Editor)
2. Shave. The promo pictures of you in uniform with a wino’s-growth of beard is exactly what some bored TSA schlub is dreaming about discovering at a security checkpoint so he can be the hero, summon the police and give you a breathalizer test. Shave, put on your tie and even though it will muss your up-do, wear your hat. Your pilot hat.
3. Don’t be a hypocrite. When ABC producers found out one of your harem was two-timing you with a production staff member (pun possible, take it as you like), you vented outrage over your unwitting sloppy-seconds, but that’s unjustifiable considering that you are eight-timing the entire harem yourself, swapping spit sequentially with each. (Side note: is Gia a porn star? Seriously.)
He got fired, she got sent home in a cab–no limo–and you, Mr. Righteous, went on to the tonsil hockey finals with the rest of the concubines. Hygiene note: you really should use mouthwash in between girls, for their sake. I’m just saying.
4. Ease up on the “love” crap. Everything you do isn’t for love, you don’t fly for love or ride your show-sponsored hog for love or bungee jump, and you were about to cry then too, right? The video below is a normal woman–normal as in not pimped and contracted by a network to kiss your ass or dry hump you–telling you to grow a pair.
Never mind “love”–you live your life as best and as hard as you can, period. Don’t mush all this stuff together. We fly jets because we get paid to, because it’s fun, because we don’t want the Dunder-Mifflin cubicle, because we’re ruined for the forty-hour-workweek in an office after years in the air,
because we thought (in my case, and I’m being honest) that you had to be really smart to go to dental school.
This is what we do, and we’re damn lucky to do it. I’m not kidding: I’m nothing special, just a lucky guy who was at the right place at the right time and got the job that thousands of others can and do perform daily. With our shirts on, shaven. And no crying.
You’ve got half the season to go to redeem yourself. Pick a flight plan: you could be the airline version of George Clooney dry-motoring a weekly variety of babe-age, or the Sully Sullenberger quiet, self-effacing proven studly pilot, or the Lisa Nowak ruin-the-legacy freakshow in a diaper.
Sadly, right now, you’re mostly the latter. I’d envy you the first option, but myself–and most of your colleagues in the cockpit–strive mostly for the middle ground, for the high standard of Captain Sullivan. Join us if you will, don’t if you can’t, wear a diaper if you need to but whatever you do, no more nationally televised blubbering, okay?
Anyone really out there in the blogosphere? I doubt it. So, here’s a bonus: just finished mixing this; recorded the bass line a dozen times so now I have no fingertips. But still, here it is: Big Dog Whaddya think? Anyone? Anyone? Leave a comment. Or not.