Big giant head


In Other News

A topical baseball joke:

Q: What does WTBS stand for?
A: Whoa, those Braves suck!

A sweep in the Series. Sheesh.

No, I'm not back yet. I just felt like writing an entry tonight. Don't get used to it, I still have 3 weeks left on the Time Off clock. Assuming I live that long, of course.


Thursday -- October 28, 1999
The Grenade Theory

I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again... Tomorrow's my birthday and we're flying to Vegas for a couple of days to celebrate.

My birthday. Wow, here it is again. I'll be 37 years old, which would really depress me if I weren't so happy that it's only 37. I'd completely lost track of my age and I was afraid I was turning 38, which would mean I was 37, and it was really bringing me down, man. Fortunately, a friend who can do math set me straight and I learned I'm only 36 and I'm a happy man again. Gotta love those math geeks. And finding out you're a year younger than you feared.

So we're flying to Vegas. This concerns me. Flying always concerns me, a little. Which makes my dream of learning to fly seem a little self-destructive, I suppose. It's flying commercial that bothers me. I start envisioning disaster. Doesn't everyone, though? There's a scene in Fight Club where Ed Norton's character is imagining a mid-air collision. That scene shook me, scared me, like nothing I've seen in the movies has in a long time. Man, that seemed real. So I always get a little nervous about flying. It's a control thing, I think -- giving over control of my destiny to some ex-Air Force Republican who might be hungover doesn't sit well with me. I'd rather be the guy to spin me into the ground.

And thus was the flight insurance industry born.

But it's not the flying to Vegas itself that bothers me so much this time around as it is what I've come to call the Grenade Theory. Perhaps you remember it from the entry where I talked about meeting a few fellow Archipelagans and said one grenade could have taken out the whole ring. This time, on this trip, one grenade -- or plane crash -- or grenade that causes a plane crash -- could take out the adult contingent of my budding little family, leaving Zoe an orphan. The concept of my dying doesn't really bother me; it's more a sense of regret at the thought of Zoe growing up without me -- us -- being around. That bothers me. A lot. Really a lot. More than I can even begin to describe a lot. Either of us alone on the flight would be okay, but both of us together seems to be courting disaster.

And so you begin to think of maybe not flying. Driving, perhaps, even though I long ago swore a blood oath to never drive to Vegas again after my umpteenth 5-hour drive there and 15-hour drive home through holiday traffic. It always backs up at Barstow and not even the Denny's there can make up for it. Driving home from Vegas just sucks, especially at Barstow, where it sucks bad and badly. Flying is so much easier. But if flying means dying, well hell, maybe driving isn't so bad.

Pussy! This is a classic slippery slope. If you don't fly this time, then it's that much easier to listen to your irrational fears next time. Skip this flight and it's just Step One toward living barricaded in a room painted black, eating only pizza because the delivery guy can slip it under the door, wearing tinfoil porkpie hats and listening to Tom Leykis on a second-hand Walkman. Live by your fears and your fears live you.

And so this entry, a big neener-neener at the malevolent Powers That Be in the sky. They wouldn't dare smite me down now that I've called them out here, would they? Has there ever been documented proof of someone saying "Gee, I have a bad feeling about this" and then the plane goes down? What are the odds I'll be the guy to document a psychic premonition? And in an online journal yet? Please.

The more I think about it as I write this, the better I feel. Those Powers That Be don't dare take me out after this entry. If anything, I'm insuring the safety of all my fellow passengers. If there's one flight you want to be on tomorrow, one flight you know is getting where it's going, it's mine. Fly the Friendly Skies, my ass. Fly with Chuck! Safer air travel through Powers That Be-baiting!

We'll be making a side trip while we're out there. There's this weird little phone booth we've heard about, it's supposed to be in the middle of nowhere and people are supposedly calling it from all around the world. I even heard two weirdoes drove out there just to hang it up, only they found out it was out of order instead. Morons. Anyway, it sounds pretty cool, so Beth and I thought we might rent a car and drive out there. It's a lot closer to Vegas than it is to LA, so it should only take about an hour to get there. I figure we'll be within earshot -- ringshot? -- around 12:30 or 1:00 pm-ish tomorrow afternoon. You know, if anyone wanted to call. (760) 733-9969. Just in case.

Anything else to report in this non-entry? Nah, I don't think so. Just think of me going to Vegas tomorrow. Think lucky-chucky. And then wish me luck after the flight, too. I hear you sometimes have to gamble for half an hour or even longer to win a lot of money.


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Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins