My friend Captain Brian E. Patton is getting married in Phoenix in March. The good news is that it’s during my spring break. The bad news is that it’s at the very beginning of spring break, which means that I can’t drive to Phoenix—I’d miss too much work. That means I’ll have to fly out there.
This is a problem. I don’t fly. I haven’t been in an airplane since the Carter Administration, and thankfully I remember neither event. Some would say that I have an irrational fear of flying, because statistically it’s the safest form of transportation per mile traveled. I would counter that my fear is actually quite rational. To wit:
If I don’t want to die in a plane crash, then I should stay out of planes. Q.E.D.
I realize that flying 2,000 miles is safer, cheaper, and faster than driving that distance. But I get motion sick in boats, half of all cars, and occasionally while merely walking—how bad is it going to be on a plane? Hopefully they’ll have plenty of dramamine and alcohol on board. And maybe some warm milk, and a turkey sandwich on rye. With Swiss cheese and maybe a blessing of grape jelly.
What if, God forbid, the plane actually does start to go down, and that Sully guy from the Hudson River isn’t the pilot? What then? Well, I suppose I could purchase a parasuit in the next two months, with the intention of saying “So long, suckers!” as I escape. But the airline probably wouldn’t let me wear it (citing “safety concerns,” of all things), and I probably wouldn’t know how to get out of the plane, anyways.
So, assuming that I can’t wear the parasuit, and the plane’s going down, I’ll simply have to make peace with my fate, accept that I’m about to move on to Whatever Is Next, and go back to watching my iPod Video. But what if the screaming drowns out the sound? I don’t want to have to spend the last few minutes of my life shushing people.
Nonsense and silliness aside, this is Patton’s wedding and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. In light of our friendship and his service to our country, it would be pathetic of me to freak out over taking a plane ride. So today, for the first time in my life, I bought a plane ticket. I’m going to fly out to Phoenix for the wedding in March, witness my friend’s wedding, slay any objectors, and eat cake. However, my attendance is not unconditional.
All I ask, Brian, is that if I die in a plane crash on the way to, or back from, your wedding, that you and Theresa name your first-born son after me. And from Heaven—granted, this is presumptuous on several levels—and from Heaven, I shall intercede with the Lord on all matters, great and small, on behalf your son, Vincent Dominic Viscariello Died In A Plane Crash On The Way To [or “Back From”] My Wedding Patton, Junior.
Note, Brian, that that name only makes sense if you change your own. I’ll be watching.
P.S. If the plane crashes and I survive, I will, of course, become your arch-enemy, irrationally and unjustly blaming you for my hideous disfigurement, and then we’ll have battles and stuff.
25 January 2009 8:47 pm
Tell you what, Mr. V. There will be a bottle of Virginny’s finest Pinot Grigio waiting for you in PHX.
26 January 2009 8:47 pm
Dom, I understand completely. I don’t like heights and had an irrational fear of (airborne) planes pretty much my entire life…but there is too much to see in this world. I was incredibly nervous, jumping out of my seat at every noise thinking “that just had to be the engine falling off”. But if you stick with it and take 5 to 8 flights then you will start to calm down to the point where takeoff will be the only nerve-racking time. Even that will get better over time, plus the upside of what you can actually experience in those faraway lands will make it all worth it.
However, I still cannot sleep on planes no matter how hard I try…not even in the ones in first class that recline all the way after they serve you a week’s worth of food; I feel that I need to be alert if a situation arises and the pilot needs me to help. Seriously. So I have replaced my irrational fear of flying with an irrational illusion of being in control. I’m getting there.
28 January 2009 8:47 pm
look at it thisway, at least when i get married in September it’s only a drive to Clemson.
28 January 2009 8:47 pm
It’s at Nick’s, and they’re serving Columbo’s, right? Or is it the other way around?
8 February 2009 8:47 pm
I tired the columbos idea, and my bride to be complained about me having no taste. I replied that columbos pizza was very tasty.
It will be held at Waffle house and the reception will be in the break room of the Central Walmart.