Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

21 December 2008

It Is Being What It Is - Part II

Sometimes, the responses to blogposts can get longer than the post itself. I wanted to reply to the comments made about my last post, and it got so long I figured I'd just make another post.

Okay, I should explain.

I didn't mean to tarnish all pilots with a single, broad brush. I didn't mean to say that all pilots are deficient or defective or socially inept. It's just that "some" of us are. Okay, a lot of us are. I mean, I've been in aviation pretty much full-time since 1976, which makes it...what?...nearly 33 years?! Ouch. In that time, I've come to know an awful lot of pilots. And we share a number of common characteristics.

The thing is, the majority of us think we're quite normal, well-balanced and well-adjusted individuals, thank you very much. We don't recognize those little...umm, "peculiarities" that endear us so much to our loved ones. Or if we do, we minimize their importance: "Well, I'm not that bad." Yes, you are.

In my previous post (just below, in the weird way blogs are "published") I rattled off a few character traits of mine - at least, the ones I'm aware of. One is my absolute intolerance for stupidity in others while often demonstrating truckloads of it myself. Blogger Michael/Redlefty aptly noted, "Pilots don't have a monopoly on this one!"

True, Michael. But when combined with my other pilot-qualities it adds up to something bigger than the parts. Just like the Beatles! But in a bad way.

I also said that I did not consider myself funny, which is true. "Other" blogger Bob disagreed.

Well Bob, anyone can be funny in print when you can spend time refining and polishing the jokes. It is in real life where I'm often tongue-tied and slow on the uptake. Like George Costanza in "Seinfeld," I'm always thinking of great comebacks long after the moment has passed.

Fellow blogger/helicopter pilot/friend Hal Johnson has been told that he's well-liked at work, but feels instead like a "grumpy, middle-aged bastard."

I think that's because by the time we get into our 40's and 50's, we've seen enough of life that we're not awed by too much anymore, and we get fed up with the bullshit.

On the other hand, my friend Matt, who's just 27, is still on a constant voyage of discovery - both of himself and the outside world. He's still experiencing things for the first time, and life is still new and fresh. Heh. That'll change, and probably soon. In the meantime, he's fun to be around, and he keeps me feeling young when *I* start to feel like a grumpy, middle-aged bastard.

Hal also mentioned that he doesn't feel well-liked in new settings. His wife attributes it to Hal's imposing tallness and the sense that people are leery around him until they find out he's not an...let's just say "ogre."

I understand Hal's viewpoint, but I'm just the opposite; I'm usually immediately comfortable wherever I'm at. It's a knack I picked up somewhere along the way when I realized that most people have at least some levels of anxiety due to feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness - even the high-rollers and heavy-hitters I sometimes meet now with the Boss. They're just human, and we humans are often uncomfortable meeting new people. Once you understand that, you can exploit it. Okay, "exploit" is maybe not the right word. What I mean is that if you realize that everyone else in the room is feeling some level of emotional distress, then you can relax! Well it works for me.

But it's not always a good thing. One of the negative comments that was relayed to and about me recently was that I had a haughty attitude, always "..acting as if I owned the place," and as though I thought I was better than everyone. What can I say...guilty?

These blogs provide little one-dimensional glimpses into the lives of people who are sometimes very fully two-dimensional. In the PC days (that is, pre-computers) I was able to meet some well-known writers who I presumed would be fun, fascinating people to know, only to find out that they were, um, not. So I cannot vouch that you'd like me.

Apparently...and luckily...liking the writer personally is not a prerequisite for subscribing to blogs. There is one blog I read, written by a guy - an insensitive jerk - down in south Florida who often comes off as a real, complete A-#1 asshole. Yet he makes these little, short posts nearly every day and sure enough, for some reason I click on him every day to see the update and find out what's going on in his town. But I absolutely would not not want to meet this guy, no way.

I guess you just can't please everybody.


Bob said...

Great thoughts, Bob B. No further explanation necessary. Have a great Christmas and I look forward to reading more in 2009. (And I still think you would be just as funny in person . . . )

Anonymous said...

Bob, you $%^&*:
Pilots, surgeons, and a few other professions demand prompt decisions which, of course, are based on "snap" decisions that hopefully are the result of study, training, and practice. The personalities that go along with these attributes and the quick decisions demanded by the profession can easily be [mis]interpreted as judgmental, intolerant, or some other similarly unacceptable/unwelcome behavior -- and often are.
As a group we also compartmentalize, leaving behind those things that would distract in the operating theatre or the cockpit (pardon, PC: "flight station"). This characteristic, while essential in the workplace can infuriate spouses, family members and friends, because such-and-such is not bothering us, at least, not right now.
That's my two cents....MdeM

Hal Johnson said...

There's a great lecture I've seen on videotape a few times. It's titled "The Failing Aviator," and it's given by a senior Navy flight surgeon. He goes into several reasons why the qualities that make us good pilots so often work against us in our relationships. Of course, hardly any of them apply to me. Ahem.

Great post Bob, especially from an IABFNY.

Anonymous said...

Capt Frank Dully, MC, USN Ret'd former CO of the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (flight surgeon school and other things) gave an after dinner talk "Sex and the Naval Aviator" really good and he had us nailed. MdeM

Mike said...

"...by the time we get into our 40's and 50's, we've seen enough of life that we're not awed by too much anymore, and we get fed up with the bullshit."

Well spoken.