Another strange thought today (unrelated to the previous post and, yes, I do have normal thoughts)...
Having recently discovered a health issue (isn’t that such a harmless, vague word?), I began to think about the human body. As I am writing a novel about a helicopter pilot, those machines are currently buzzing through my thoughts.
During the report nightly news report of February 16, 1971, on Vietnam (there was one every night on all three networks and, yes, children, there were only three), anchorman Harry Reasoner made the following statement (captured in a frame in my study/library):
“The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by its nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other and, if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance, the helicopter stops flying—immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.
That is why being a helicopter pilot is do different from being an airplane pilot, and why, in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts, and helicopter pilots are brooders, introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened, it is about to.”
The thing is, the human body is not unlike a helicopter (which is the strange thought mentioned at the beginning: I knew you were wondering!). It has countless moving parts. And, all bits—moving and stationary—suffer from wear and tear, as well as an onslaught of innumerable outside influences. Periodic maintenance and careful use cannot prevent deterioration, decline, and ultimate demise. For some (helicopter or human), a catastrophic event results in an untimely and immediate end.
Although not always at the front of one’s mind, all humans—not only helicopter pilots—know that if something bad has not happened, it will someday...even to airplane pilots.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.