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?

14 February 2010

Humor Me

I understand that everyone's sense of humor is different. And people do not always "get" mine. Pilots are not exactly a humorless bunch, but for the most part we take ourselves pretty seriously. You don't often hear a lot of joking around on our radios. ATC frowns on such frivolity. Controlling airplanes is serious business, and when the frequencies are crowded (as they can sometimes be), there simply is not any room for joking around. Thus, we speak in that clipped, "Roger, wilco" shorthand that people make fun of. (I was going to add here that we don't use "wilco" - will comply - anymore, but I do still hear it, along with a ton of other jargon.)

Recently, I was in the helicopter and had to stop for fuel at the small airport in Monroeville, Alabama. Since there's no airline service and not too much general aviation (i.e. non-airline) traffic, there's no control tower at Monroeville. Everyone just uses what we call "unicom" frequency, which is a sort of party-line channel on which we announce our intentions and whatnot.

I checked-in on the frequency as recommended, saying I was 10 miles south, inbound for landing. There were a few other airplanes flying around, making their appropriate radio calls. One guy who was preparing to take off keyed his microphone, and called the FBO (fixed base operator, or "the guy who pumps the gas"). He mentioned that there were some deer on the runway down at the end where he was, and that he would be delaying his departure until they were clear.

I couldn't resist. I keyed my mic and said, "Do they have that human-in-the-headlights look on their faces?"


After a bit, the original pilot goes, "Ahhh, they're clear now. They've moved off to the west." As if deer would linger on an asphalt patch of land on which AIRPLANES were regularly taking off and landing. Actually, they might stop to graze in the grass adjacent to the runway and suddenly dart out in front of an airplane, so the risk...to airplane drivers...is real. We helicopter pilots don't care; I usually just land right close to the terminal.

But nobody got my joke! Or at least, if they did they chose to ignore it. Probably the latter.


Bob said...

"human in the headlights look" -- now that's funny.

Bob Barbanes said...

Thank you, Bob! That'a what I'm saying! I could just imagine the expression on the faces of those poor little deers, standing on the runway and seeing some huge (to them) Cessna bearing down on them from above, like some giant mechanical vulture. To me, it was a Gary Larson moment.

But alas, the sticks in the mud who were flying around that morning evidently did not share my mirth.

Anonymous said...

So misunderstood, like all geniuses/psychos...which are you again? When are you visiting? Let me know slacker!



Anonymous said...

Nobody laughed because what you said wasn't funny. By the way, it's called a CTAF, not a unicom unless there are services. New at this?

Bob Barbanes said...

Am I new at this? Yeah, just started.

And sure, sure, it's called the CTAF: "common traffic advisory frequency." Boy are you smart! Well, I guess there are worse things than being a pedant. Perhaps a humorless pedant?