Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Writer In The Sky"

This is a first for me – writing in an airplane.  It’s like writing my desk.  Only I am thirty thousand feet in the air.  Making it harder if I drop my pen.  (No it won’t.  I just imagined it landed on Kansas.  And got ink stains on the wheat.) 

Drawn to “Worst Case Scenario” scenarios, – reflected in evocative nicknames I collected over the years, like “The Black Cloud” and “Captain Bring-Down” – and the people who called me that were my friends – the first idea that occurs to me under these circumstances is,

“Discovered amongst the debris…”

wherein this laptop is retrieved from the wreck…age, bearing the parting notation:

“I forgot to turn off my i-Phone and now we’re all going to……………………………………”

It is just like me to fantasize “personal responsibility” for an airline disaster.  It could as easily have been engine failure.  Or, like in Sully, we flew into some birds.

More on the knee-jerk “Guilt Response” shortly.  (Can I “drumroll” enticingly, or what?)

One rewarding element of this airborne excursion is that for the first time, I have joined the crowd of admirable “grinders”, working ceaselessly when they travel.  I have always envied those people, tapping away on their computers from takeoff to landing, while I, typically, fritter away my time, falling asleep, and watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. 

By the way, have you noticed that everything’s funnier when you are trapped in an aluminum tube, hanging unsupportedly in the air? 

My standards seem to noticeably diminish, suspended helplessly in the sky.  I just wolfed down two Lotus Biscoff coffee-flavored cookies.  I wouldn’t go near those things on the ground.

Having previously mentioned taking responsibility for triggering a potential “Breaking News” event not about someone assuring us he did not think the president was a moron, my mind returns to the phenomenon of “blame.”  Which is a gigantically big thing, since nobody ever seems willing to take responsibility for anything, except guilty people, who do it reflexively, although it is arguable that people who reflexively deny responsibility feel, unconsciously, even guiltier.  (Claims the congenitally guilty person, so there are grounds for skepticism.)

You know the language of “Blame Denial”:

“It fell.” 

(Rather than the more Newtonianly accurate, “I dropped it.”)

“It got lost.”

(Suddenly, inanimate objects acquire the power to relocate from where you left them to where you can’t find them anymore.  Just once, I’d like to watch that happen.  “Oh, look!  My car keys are moving to a different place.”)

“Mistakes were made.” 

(Sidestepping the sleuthingly suspicious:  “And I happed to be there every time they were.”)
I knew this Scandinavian guy named Thor who insistently denied responsibility for anything that happened, no matter how remote he was from possible culpability.

“There was an earthquake in Pakistan.”

Thor not do it.

What’s wrong with blame?  We all mess up sometimes.  Why not fess up and admit, “I did it”? 

No way.

“It broke.” 

(One moment it was whole.  Next thing, it’s in pieces on the ground.  Just like that.  They can’t come up with a perpetual motion machine.  But a porcelain teacup can become “shards” all by itself.  “Who exploded that bomb?”  “Nobody.  It just blew up.”)

When I consider a lasting phenomenon, I think about the Darwinian necessity for that phenomenon’s endurance.  (A sure sign that someone has too much time on his hands.) 

For a phenomenon to continue, there must be, to my way of thinking, some “survival purpose” keeping it around. The “bad stuff” inevitably disappears.  People ate glass for a while.  (Let’s pretend.)  They stopped.  Because it didn’t work out.  I mean, you can’t be stubborn about it.  It was smooth to suck on.  But chewing and swallowing?  That one “Naturally Selected” out in a hurry.  Although we still have gargling.

“Blame”, on the other hand, is a “stayer.”   Going back to the beginning of people

ADAM:  “It’s your fault I ate that apple.”

EVE:  “Don’t blame me.  Blame the snake.”

SNAKE:  “No way!  It was, uh…


ADAM:  “There is nobody else here.”

SNAKE:  “Okay, it was me.  Although you guys were pretty stupid, listening to a snake.”

EVE:  “Don’t blame us.  We were forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.’”

SNAKE:  “Then wait.  Don’t blame me.  Blame God.  (LOOKING SKYWARD)  Nothing personal.  It’s just the logical outcome of this discussion.”

“Blame” is so big it – at least logically – goes right to the top.  Whom – no offense, and please do not unjustly punish the other people on this plane  – I have never known to cop to a mistake in either Testament.  I mean, “Free will.  Was that really a “Genius Idea”?

I’m going to continue this later, possibly on the ride back. (He said, confidently.)

They’re showing an episode of Last Man Standing, and it’s just cracking up the Main Cabin.

1 comment:

JED said...

I walked into the company lunch room one day to find a mess at the coffee machine. I started to clean it up and, of course, someone walked in just then and said, "Wow, you really made a mess!" I launched into my sermon about the similar absurdity of blaming then-President Obama for the bad economy during his terms when he was doing his best to clean up the mess left from before.