Monday, August 17, 2009

Do not attempt

Toyota has a commercial where a driver pulls up to a drive-thru in an old, junky car. The person on the speaker asks, "Can I take your order?" Suddenly, a big mechanical claw drops onto the car and pulls it into the air, revealing a nice, new Toyota underneath.

If only it were that easy.

At the bottom of the screen during the commercial is the legal disclaimer: Do not attempt.

I understand that our litigious society is the reason for legal disclaimers in the first place, but what exactly do they think the viewing public will attempt?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

If you come back tomorrow, it will be

When someone is a little too sarcastic or mean-spirited in what they say to me, I usually think of a nice retort much too late, sometimes not even the same day. Granted, sometimes it's better to not say anything, to be the bigger person, so to speak. But every now and then people (including myself) need to be reminded that they aren't the center of the universe. In a nice way.

My summer job during my college years was on the flight line at Sheppard AFB. The base trained Euro-NATO pilots on the T-37 and T-38 aircraft. As a summer hire, my job was to do the simpler tasks, like refueling and cleaning the windscreens, and to assist in the not-so-simple ones, like sitting in the cockpit pressing on the "brake pedals" while the real mechanics worked on the brakes. And most fun of all, I got to launch the aircraft (pictured).

Launching an aircraft involved taking the pins out of the landing gear (so that they could be raised once the plane was in the air) and stowing them, stowing the grounding wire, stowing the pitot tube cover, hooking up the compressed air hose to the engine (used to start the plane when the pilot was ready), and getting any items the pilot needed for the cockpit. While I was doing that, the instructor pilot and his student were doing their walk-around inspection and then getting strapped into the cockpit. Once in, I would remove the ladders and get ready to turn on the compressed air when given the signal. Once the engine was running, I would remove the hose, remove the tire blocks, and marshal them out. Simply put, the pilots could not take off without ground support.

One day, we were extremely busy. A couple of pilots had done their walk-around and were waiting for someone to launch them. They were concerned that they weren't going to make their launch time, which meant having to come back later in the day. All of the mechanics were busy. I was refueling the plane next to the waiting pilots, and I couldn't leave to help until I was finished with that job. When I finished 5-10 minutes later, I told the fuel truck driver that I would start refueling the next plane once I launched the other plane.

So, we're extremely busy, and I was taking time out of the task I should've been doing to make sure these guys made their launch time, which was observed by the waiting pilots. I rushed over to the other plane and asked the instructor if they needed anything for the cockpit, and said in an angry tone, "I need a couple of spacers for the front, and I needed it done yesterday!"

To which I calmly replied, "Well, if you come back tomorrow, it will be."

Monday, August 03, 2009

No, I ain't no Denzel Washington!

Many years ago I was in Hollywood with my girlfriend at the time and her son. Let's call the son James. We were shopping one day and stopped into a comic book store. Each of us has gone off to look at different things. I was looking at the old Spider-Man comics when I suddenly heard a recognizable voice over the racks of comic books: the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

"No, I ain't no Denzel Washington!"

Apparently, someone had mistook him for another actor, and he was letting that person know that he was mistaken. He didn't sound angry, but imagine the tone of Jules from Pulp Fiction during his "furious anger" speech.

And then I had a thought. Oh please don't let him be talking to James. I worked my way through the store and bumped into James working his way through the store to find me. He asked who that actor was, and I told him. And then I asked him if Mr. Jackson was talking to him. James lowered his head and said, "Well, I couldn't remember his name."

We asked for a picture, but he politely said no (very politely actually), so we left him alone. I'm just thankful he didn't sound entirely like one of his characters and add a curse word or two to his response to the Denzel Washington question.

I'll leave the curse words to your imagination.