Posted 7 years 207 days ago ago by Francis Meyrick
Photo: Steve Apperley
With thanks to Med crew member Dave Giles for the peanut butter
recipe, and Med crew member Jon Fowler for the adipose tissue) (yeah, I
know, slow day at the Base)
There’s an interesting old book floating around out there, which has
been read by many people, and it conjures up some interesting cerebral
(and optical) challenges. One of the passages refers to people who are
obsessed with splinters. They seek these splinters in the eyes of
others. They do so minutely, with a ferocity of inspection, hair
triggered towards wagging an accusing finger: “Hey dude! You’ve got a
SPLINTER in your eye! What is your PROBLEM!?”
You can imagine such a confrontation taking place in public, and the
accused, the worm with the splinter, recoiling in embarrassment and
guilt. He might be thinking: “Merde!” (he could be a Frenchman). “I have
been found out!”, or “How do I explain this to the wife?”, or maybe
“If only the ground would open and swallow me whole – I can’t stand the
However, this passage I refer to then continues on, and severely
cautions against being the nit-picky accuser with the wagging finger,
humiliating a transgressor in public, when in fact, fancy that, YOU
might be carrying a BEAM in your own eye.
Now I first came across this story when I was very young. I think my
Irish mother read it to me. She read all sorts of stories to me at bed
time, and I believe the constant exposure to story telling had a
permanent deleterious effect on what passes today for my mind. A bit
like the effect of trying strawberry jam on your boiled eggs. It might
not taste very good, but it sure is an original experiment. Well, the
whole beam business in-your-eye, well, heck, that fascinated me. I
remember wondering how on earth you would get around with this beam
protruding from your eye? How would you get up the stairs? Or into your
pyamas? It would be a struggle. Maybe it wasn’t a really big beam? But
surely, ANY sort of beam would be a bloody nuisance, to say the least.
The hidden, deeper meaning, was lost on me for quite some years.
I was reminded of this allegorical beam recently, discretely watching
a very nice young lady. She was in her early twenties perhaps, wore the
obligatory skin tight jeans, a very hard working, stretched T-shirt,
AND she sported some truly gargantuan mammary glands. I think I’m
allowed to say that in polite company? It’s a respectable statement of
simple fact, right? Anyway, wearing red high heels, purposefully
striding towards a steep staircase, I confess my mind shot to the
potential conundrum we helicopter jocks refer to under the heading of
“weight and balance”. Did she consult the Ops Manual, and do a written
weight and balance check every time she went up the escalator? Or did
she figure it out on the hoof, so to speak? How about the trampoline at
the local gym? Was she on the volley ball team? Did she drive a Segway?
I mean, scientifically speaking, how does one work with the rapidly
alternating momentum? The kinetic energy aspect? A half times Mass times
Velocity squared? I’m just saying. Check out this video if you don’t
believe me I’m on to something potentially very nasty:
In order to exercise gender neutral, politically correct (PC)
editorial even-handed fairness, let me quickly assert to the fair-minded
reader, that such escalator driven visual conundrums are absolutely NOT
the preserve of females only. Thus there was the case of an EMS pilot,
whom Nature had configured in a slightly unusual manner. The gentleman
had small feet, a small head (gleaming bald), narrow shoulders, but his
waist line… well, to phrase it in PC talk, Nature had decided this was
the best and only place to store excess “adipose tissue”. (You can tell I
hang around with EMS folk, right?). This excess “adiposity” (oh, okay
then, “b-l-u-b-b-e-r” to you uninitiated plebs) combined with his tight
flight suit, produced for all the world the exact semblance of a fat
sausage parked –with difficulty- vertically. Some wit nicknamed him
“Banger” (as in Bangers/Sausages & Mash), and Banger’s annoyed
protestations only assured the handle stuck. Permanently. Hey, you’re in
EMS. They are cruel. Get used to it.
Now the same thing happened when ‘Banger’ navigated staircases,
escalators, and –oddly- bar stools. It drew everybody’s attention. The
pilots in the audience automatically computed the (major) weight &
balance challenge. The ladies simply tittered. It wasn’t helped by
Banger’s unfortunate habit of placing his hands under his (bulging)
adipose tissue, and lifting his tummy up, on departure or arrival at his
favorite LZ. To wit: the bar stool down at “Smokey Joe’s”.
These scenes always reminded me of that beam in the eye business.
Same issue. How do you walk around, and climb stairs, and get into your
pyamas, with a beam in your eye?
The answer appears to be, if you observe Homo Sapiens at work and play, “quite easily”.
Which is a pity, if we fall into the trap of nit-picking everybody else’s splinter.
In the Choppy industry, we have our nit pickers, and we have our
beams as well. How to tell ‘em all apart? How to get along? For my part,
if I feel aggrieved about somebody’s actions, words, or pontifications,
in person or on the Web, I try real hard to hit the PAUSE button, and
reflect on the fact that what some might call “loquacious”, others might
label “humbug”. That what I might think of as “helpful & well
meaning”, others might regard as “trivial, bombastic and self-serving”.
That’s not to say we anti-authoritarian bloggers should cower in a 100%
politically correct, but also 100% bland and tasteless silence. Come
now. Some pepper & jalapeno irreverently thrown in the mix can
produce new flavors. And, doubtless, some heat. Like strawberry jam on
your egg sandwich. Wanna try some Peanut Butter on your Bacon Buttie?
Poke fun at Big Grab-a-Mint? Secretly stick a rainbow…
“Honk if you are Gay…!!”
…fender sticker on our (seriously conservative) Captain Dalek’s
Cadillac? As he sets off on his 200 mile drive home to Florida? (the
FURIOUS phone call afterwards…!!) (a whole new dimension to
“spluttering indignation”) (how come he instantly knew it was ME?)
(“Dammit to hell, Moggy! Don’t EVER do that again! I had every weirdo
and skinhead, and loopy-ass FREAK hanging out the window waving and
cheering at me, cutting me up and honking like crazy, and there’s me in
my uniform, with the company sticker on the back window, My Purple Heart
and my Veteran’s plate, and I didn’t have a CLUE what the MERRY HELL
was going on….”)
As a blogger, the sky is the limit. Even if it does fall on your head sometimes.
I also try real hard –before I open my squawk orifice- to reflect on
the possibility that I’m about to try climbing up a steep stair case,
with this massive big beam in my eye. Minus the mammary glands and the
red high heels, thankfully, but still a challenge. And that I’m maybe
blind to that beam, which isn’t too surprising, when you think about it.
The old optical nerve –between beams and mammary glands- is taking a pretty hefty hammering along the way…!
Fly safe, talk softly, and carry a big beam.
(no, that’s not quite right. I just mangled somebody’s adage. What did I mean? Heck, I don’t know… Hummmm…..)
A Little About Moggy - Francis ‘Moggy’ Meyrick (www.chopperstories.com) admits to not
being terribly bright, but he did first grace the skies (more or less)
totally on his own some forty-five years ago. He is rumored to have
solemnly intoned these memorable words on the downwind leg.
“Holy Crap! NOW what have I done…?”
He is working dutifully on his eighty-sixth incarnation (he does,
admittedly, get sent back a lot – for another try) , and he describes
himself as a ‘chopper jockey’. He says it’s basically a case of a nut,
hanging under a nut. (BIG nut, though). Compared to trying to attain
Wisdom (he was a Buddhist monk once) (before he got demoted to galley
hand), he reckons it beats working for a living. It ranks right up
there with being a happy penguin, and spending all day sliding down icy
Moggy loves spinning a good yarn, and his greatest reward is simply
your enjoyment. His many friends caution you he does tend to tell his
bar stories with verve and gusto, and much arm waving, so you are
advised to move your pints and other drinks safely out of his way.
Peace. Got a pickle sandwich?