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Location:Texas, USA Naturalized US Citizen of Irish extract -   Fixed Wing and Helo trucker.Interests: "The Absurdity of Man". I am a proud supporter of Blarney, Nonsense, and Hooey. I enjoy being a chopper jockey, and trying to figure the world, people and belief systems out. I'm just not very good at it, so it keeps me real busy. I scribble, blog, run this website, mess with rental houses, ride motorbikes, and read as much as I can. I went solo 44 years ago, and I like to say I'm gonna get me a real job one day. When I grow up. ("but not just yet, Lord, not just yet") For my aviation scribbles see www.chopperstories.com.... enjoy! I wish you Peace in your Life. May you always walk with the sun on your face, and a breeze ruffling your hair. And may you cherish a quiet wonder for our awesome Universe. Life isn't always good. But it is always fascinating. Never quit.
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Of Helicopters and Humans (5) "Up to your Ass in Alligators"


Of Helicopters and Humans


(5)  Up to your ass in Alligators
             (a true story)



      Helicopter pilots, apart from being lovable, cuddly, incredibly sexy and usually hopelessly impoverished, are also very curious people.  They can't help it. They've gotta touch it,  try it, poke it, and see if it really DOES hurt when you stick your finger in the 220 volt receptacle.  The same applies when they deal with beautiful, high maintenance women. There is something inherently child-like about the sheer innocence with which the average helicopter jockey waltzes through life. That is why so many have been cleaned out by ex wives, ex girl friends, and ex bosses.  A man who was once the owner of a truly massive helicopter company, famously remarked that he would never be short of helicopter pilots. All he had to do was go and check the gutters of New Orleans, and he'd find plenty.  He actually had a point. But he forgot that these poor, dumb creatures, were not there by their own choice, but rather by way of the caprice and fickleness of Fate.  It was their trust that placed them there. Their trust in their fellow man. How else to explain men who are perfectly happy spending their working day hanging underneath ONE nut? The so-called "Jesus nut", which secures the rotor disc to the rotor mast? If this is not an example of stellar trust, I ask, what is? After all, how many nuts do you know who would be happy living under a nut? Our present Government not included, of course.



      We should therefore, not be surprised at the unfolding of events, many, many years ago, at a swampy base along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.  Our hero of this story, Captain Mickey, had been informed by comrades of the existence of a very large alligator, that inhabited a muddy bayou, just beside the helicopter base.  He was told that some of the pilots would feed it, and that the alligator would be waiting patiently for them, after they landed. I guess the alligator associated the sound of helicopter blades and turbines with food. The ringing of the dinner bell, as it were. I'm not sure if this was a wise Pavlovian reinforcement by these men, prone as they were to flying over alligator infested swamps all day, but that simple worry had apparently not crossed their minds.  Mickey, being curious, announced that he wished to see this monstrous beast for himself. And he had no difficulty in persuading three of the regular pilots to guide him to the alligator. In this fashion, one very early foggy morning, with a dim and watery sun striving feebly to spread day light, it so happened that Mickey and his three guides wandered purposefully into Alligator country.  With some simple sticks they beat at the bushes, determined to flush the creature out. After a while, muddy and cold, they were getting bored.  Their attention faltering, they were sopping around half heartedly, when they accidentally became separated. Mickey found himself alone, when the other three unexpectedly almost stumbled right over their furtive quarry.  To everybody's consternation, the exceedingly large alligator burst forth from its hidden lair, jaws wide open, razor sharp teeth a-flashing, and charged straight at Mickey.  Mickey, his desire to see this fabled beast for himself close up, having been satisfied within the first one tenth of a second, performed a swift pedal turn, and commenced to run like hell.  With the alligator in hot pursuit. Mickey, already travelling at full throttle, looked over his shoulder, and was horrified to see the alligator closing on him. With the shouts of his friends in his ears, he now selected maximum torque, and positively flew across the landscape, his feet barely touching ground.  Through sharp bushes,  over fallen  branches, and straight through muddy puddles he stormed, but he could not shake his pursuer. His friends, knowing that an alligator can run very fast, but cannot turn quickly, were shouting advice:
       "Turn! Turn! Turrrrrrrnnnn!"



However they had failed to brief our hero prior to take-off, and in the present stressful predicament, Mickey did not understand the advice, nor was he so inclined to sit down and consult his 'flight' manual.  Instead, he ran like the very dickens, concentrating on squeezing every last drop of speed out of his headlong dash. Still the shouts of his friends came, and still he failed to understand the advice. And still the alligator gained on him.
The alligator was now almost within biting distance of Mickey's buttocks. Pretty soon, Mickey, getting desperate, realized he was heading straight towards the bayou, which was, in effect, cutting off his escape route.  Desperation was now really setting in, and Mickey's feet barely touched the ground.  Pretty soon, here came the alligator, moving at alligator Warp speed, drawing along side Mickey, overtaking our hero, and then pushing ahead.  Mickey, eyes bulging, with very confused thought processes, was now backing off the throttle, and could only watch in amazement as the alligator reached his intended target, the bayou, splashed right in, and disappeared. It was only then that Mickey realized he had not been the intended target at all.
The beast, alarmed, had chosen to escape, not dine on helicopter pilot.

      His friends now rejoined a panting Mickey, who was caked in sweat and mud, scratched and cut, and totally out of breath. His composure was in tatters, but thankfully not his nether anatomy. They now proceeded to remonstrate with him.
     "We told you to TURN!"
Mickey, unable to reply, was still attempting to send sufficient oxygen to his lungs, to stave off cardiac arrest.
It was a while before he could answer his accusers.

      "Fu-fu-fuck TURNING...."
(pant, pant)  (gasp)
      "Fu-fu-fuck that shit..."
(pant, pant)   (gasp)
     "I was fu-fu....."
(pant, pant)  (groan)
       ".......trying to FU-FLY!"

The moral of this story is two fold:
1) that a nut who trusts other nuts where large alligators are concerned, has to be the perfect candidate to spend life hanging under a nut.
2) and that the expression "up to your ass in alligators" undoubtedly found its origins in an event on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, one foggy, wet Louisiana morning, near the old Sabine base...

     

Francis Meyrick
        (c)  



Last edited by Francis Meyrick on October 17, 2012, 4:52 am
We little humans, hurtling through the Universe on our tiny, pale blue dot, will find few answers to Life's great mysteries. But we should at least find many of the questions. To write is to ask. To seek. To grope. With humility, and humor. Peace.
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