Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Episode I: Fighter Pilot

The first thing I can remember wanting to be was a fighter pilot. There was a series of movies back in the 80s, starring Louis Gosset Jr., called Iron Eagle. My parents wouldn't allow me to see Top Gun, but it didn't matter. I was too young to be bothered by inane dialogue, so I was completely enthralled by the apparent cinematic genius that was Iron Eagle I and II (I had picked up on the overt triteness of the films by the time III and IV came around. This was at about the same time I realized that Rocky IV was actually not very good). They were Cold War fighter-pilot movies from the 80s. You get the picture.

As I recall, what appealed to me about the movies, and about becoming a fighter pilot, were several things. Among them was an abundance of juvenile patriotism (which I'm not entirely over), being up in the air and going really, really fast, and most of all, firing off missiles and blowing things up (not entirely over that one either). That and Russians. I was determined to either outmaneuver them in a dog fight, or win them over with good old-fashioned American benevolence.

Yes siree, I was going to be a fighter pilot. I knew there was an Air Force Academy, because they played BYU in football every year, and I watched every game, in horrified suspense, hoping and praying that BYU would win, because if they didn't, my dad would be in a bad mood for at least a week (a topic for another post, or an entire book, really). And so I lay out in my little mind an ingenuous plan to attend the Air Force Academy and become a fighter pilot some time after serving an LDS mission. I believe there was some talk from someone I trusted that you couldn't attend the academy if you served a mission. It was one or the other. But what really abrogated the whole proposition was my dear older sister.

You see, I was born with flat feet. I don't remember her exact argument, but it went something like this: "They don't allow people with flat feet in the Air Force, because you have to march a lot, and you can't march a lot if you have flat feet. They wouldn't let you in."

So then and there I knew that I would never be a fighter pilot. From then on I would be the poor enfeebled child *with flat feet who, because of his fragile condition would probably have to spend adulthood, if he was lucky, confined to a chair and working a desk job (after a childhood of begging for scraps and selling matches, of course). Oh well. "I guess it just wasn't my thing," it went, and it's still going today.

And so begin the abounding tales of things that just weren't mine. Settle in and be amused.You'll laugh. I'll cry. I'll laugh too, but mostly I'll cry.

*I should mention that it wasn't really the pes planus that doomed me to my lowly state and made me the object of both ridicule and pity. It was more the hip dysplasia, which causes me to run like a girl.

1 comment:

  1. This cracked me up. P.S.~ I'm a friend of your sister (Rebecca).