Fear of flying

Remember way back in the past when we were all excited about having jet packs in the future? It turns out we’re now in the future and jet packs exist.

And after seeing this video, I’ve decided that when we’re all in Utopia, and everybody gets a free jet pack, you can have mine.

First off, I’m terrified of flying. Yeah, I get in a plane every three weeks or so. I’ve flown all over the world. I’m versed enough in airport rituals that I routinely use the Expert Traveler line. I love standing at the end of the airport runway at National Airport in Washington and watching the planes take off and land. I can kind of figure out the aerodynamics, but it still doesn’t make sense to me.

An airplane weighs tons and when you fill a big one up, you’ve got tons of people in it. And if you’re on a plane carrying Americans, that means you’ve got tons of fat people. (Why don’t they just buy two seats and not crowd me in?) So how can that piece of metal (fiberglass? Who knows?) tubing possibly stay in the air. (Watch the first season of “Monk.” There’s an episode called “Mr. Monk and the Airplane” where he asks the same thing. He can’t figure it out either.)

And as far as jet packs go, I’ve got this thing against dying, and I don’t see how I could do this without killing myself. The thing looks heavy to start with. You have to stand outside a helicopter in order to get high enough to use it. Then you have to jump off a perfectly fine flying machine. (If I don’t understand how planes work, you can be sure I have no idea how a helicopter works.) And once you jump off, you have to turn the thing on without smashing into the ground or a canyon wall. They you have to parachute to land. (Oh, great. Now I have to remember to bring a parachute.) And you’re parachuting with this heavy thing on your back, so how do you land without breaking your legs?

Having a jet pack seemed exciting when I was a kid. But then, I was a stupid kid.


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