Forty years ago, I worked as an aircraft mechanic before returning to my original career as a writer. During that time I worked on airplanes as diverse as supersonic Navy F-14 Tomcat fighters and small commuter “puddle jumpers” like Shorts SD330 “Winnebagos” and Fairchild Metro III “Sewer Pipes”. But the apple of my eye was always a frumpy, dumpy, lizard-skinned USAF C-130 Hercules named the Aerospace Chicken (Tail No. 70-1259). We affectionately called them “Trash Haulers” because they carried everything — sometimes, quite literally as I did once, trash.
As a young man in the Air Force, I traveled…a lot. I went to all of the continents except Australia and Antarctica, 18 countries in all. I spent months and weeks at a time wandering the world like a flight-bound vagabond. Weekends in Panama, nights on Midway Island during gooney bird nesting season, dinner in Rio and tea and cookies on the Black Sea. I ate cuttlefish in Athens and lamb in Crete and marveled at the exceptional, one-of-a-kind clouds in Madrid. There was good Italian Wine and English shepherd’s pie washed down with a pint or three, even the kimchi in Seoul was delightful, though a little spicy. It was a marvelous, and oddly peaceful, four years. I was a very lucky young man. Continue reading
We people of the new millenium live a calm life in the ‘burbs. The most excitement we usually feel is when that crazy bastard in the ’73 Pinto with the bumper duct-taped on and belching so much smoke you feel like you’re at a VFW Bingo Hall cuts you off in traffic.
We usually just flip the smelly asscake off, but we need to do something more. Something more daring. Something more spectacular. Something dangerous we can do before we have to get the kids to the la crosse game.
We can live vicariously: