This is an unedited draft I wrote a while ago when I was thinking about how funny I think I am. It's recommended for adults who don't mind a few slurs and swears, so consider yourself warned.
Airline pilots get a bad rap about their drinking habits. God forbid we have a solid 24 hours off in the shittiest hotel on the planet. Oh and thank you Denzel for ruining all the strange I was getting and coke I was snorting.
(IF there is anyone from the FAA, NTSB, FBI, DEA, DOT, here: I would just like to point out that is a joke…) Next time you’re in an airport I want you to count how many hot flight attendants you see. They’re like the white rhino of Africa. That shit is practically extinct and the few that do exist are actively being hunted 24 hours a day. I remember the first time I watched that Denzel movie. I didn’t even want to watch it. I had seen the previews. I’m sure most doctors don’t like watching ER, because most of us are cynical assholes. When you do something professionally that required years of training and you do it every day, first of all you’re probably not watching a show about it and second they likely fucked something up because “IT LOOKED BETTER ON CAMERA.” Well imagine how pumped I was to watch a movie about an addict pilot that brazenly saves the day by simply FLYING UPSIDE DOWN. Wow. Yea, get me some popcorn can’t wait to see this drama unfurl.
Ultimately I didn’t want to ever watch it but I was living with my best friends and they were both non-aviation types so they were REALLY interested in watching ME watch the movie. I’ll never forget the look on my buddies face when the movie started. He’s just staring at me, with this huge grin like “HOW BAD WAS THAT? IS THAT EVEN REAL?” Because he knows what an asshole I am. He knows. He was right. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, I won’t ruin it, but I will say this. In the first few minutes of the film you see Denzel who is the captain, he is walking around the airplane in the pouring down rain. Few things: Captains are old as fuck and don’t do walk arounds. People always ask: how do you know which one is the captain? Walker. When they do the walk arounds it is either because they smoke and they want to sneak under the terminal and smoke, or because they have training coming up and they haven’t seen the outside of the airplane in about a year, or it’s sunny and 72 and they feel like taking away the only time I get to walk around outside and curse under my breath about how shitty the captain that I’m flying with is. Sometimes the only thing between me and homicide is that walk outside. Imagine if you were at work and they moved you to a new desk. This desk was the size of two milk crates and it was inside a bullet proof chamber. Your boss said to increase productivity you need to remain at your desk for no less than 5 hours at a time and that you’d be sharing that desk with the worst person on the planet. That’s my job in a nutshell, sometimes. You get to work with a lot of different people but sometimes you’re stuck next to someone in this cramped workspace crucible for long hours on end that the thing that keeps me from just snapping and ending that persons life in a fit of rage and a first class spork is my little walk around the airplane. There’s generally a nice breeze out there, sun is shining, airplane noise in the background, smell of jetfuel killing whatever braincells I haven’t already permanently disabled, and nobody can hear my mumbles of “swear to god if he keeps talking about his ex-wives I’m gonna kill him. I’m gonna fucking kill him.” So if you are sitting on a plane and you see a pilot walking around, look closely, you’ll probably see him mumbling something. Just know that it’s a process and it’s keeping you safe.
Most people I work with, when we spend 16 hours at work, 8 of those hours flying people from point A to point shitty, we just want to have a few drinks and forget about the life choices that brought us to Dayton Ohio.
If you’re from Ohio I apologize, it’s just that I dated a real whore from Ohio and I’ve made it my life mission to ruin that states reputation in hopes it will come full circle back to her. I know what you’re thinking, but no, I don’t hold grudges. Slut. The funny part about her story is I was warned about her years before I even met her. My parents were travelling a lot while I was in flight school and my dad got like super into my training. It was weird because I wasn’t use to that attention and every time I had a big training thing coming up or a test, he was always the first to call me to ask how it went and all that. So apparently when my dad was travelling one day he sat next to a pilot and told him all about me. Let me tell you, as a guy who travels in my pilot uniform on airplanes, I don’t want to hear about your kids flight training. One lovely old lady asked how I liked my career and I smiled and said it’s amazing and I love it but that the training costs have crippled me financially and that I wish it wasn’t such a burden. She looked me dead in the eye and said “well you can always join the military, they’ll pay for it, of course it might kill you. My first husband died in the military.” So I should be dead instead of broke? That’s your advice? Ok, move it along granny.
Anyways, after my dad gushed about my training and about how I wanted to be an airline pilot so badly, he somehow got this guy to call me for “career advice.” I remember being a bit skeptical when my dad called me and told me what he had arranged. “I talked to this pilot and he’s going to call you with some pointers on how to get into the airline industry.” Ooook. Strange.
I remember this phone though. I wish I had recorded it, I really do. Picture me, I’m in this tiny dorm-room at flight school and I’m sitting at my tiny desk with a tiny pen and tiny paper waiting for my tiny phone to ring. Couldn’t afford real flight school, I went to tiny flight school. Anyways, guy calls and we start talking. He’s asking me how my training is going and this and that. Now I’m super naïve at this point when it comes to the airlines and the industry as a whole. I mean I was 23/24 and just about halfway through getting my flight ratings. I had some high hopes that this random guy that my dad convinced to call me was going to give me the keys to unlock my career. Ready for his advice?
“Don’t fuck flight attendants.”
“Don’t fuck flight attendants. They’re disease bag whores who only want to get pregnant and get your money. Just let them suck your dick. Seriously. Blow jobs only, that way they can’t get pregnant, you can’t get a VD, and you still get off.”
Like, what should I have written down? I’m on the phone nodding along “uh huh, oh okay, right, of course. I see. Gotcha.” But I’m staring at my pad of paper with literally nothing to write down. I mean, I had questions for this guy. First of all, what’s the name of the flight attendant he knocked up and is getting alimony or child support? Maybe I could just not fuck her because she seems to be the devil, according to him. Like after thinking about the phone call all these years later, having been through some different relationships at the airline, I can just imagine that his wife or girlfriend cheats on him, the next day he meets my dad, and he agrees to give me advice based on his rage and he made the conscious choice to warn me about “Cynthia.”
Furthermore, I was concerned about his understanding of VD. Like, is this guy legitimately out there getting blow jobs from hookers thinking “hah, can’t give me any diseases!” Like, wow! One cross-eyed and broken toothed blow job from a homeless guy could ruin that dudes life and he has NO IDEA! I’m actually a little jealous of that bliss. Even after all that, that isn’t the worst part about this phone call.
The worst part was inventing some intricate lie to tell my dad when he called me next. Here was my dad, super excited about my flight training, excited enough to talk to random strangers about me, and zealous enough to convince that stranger to call and “advise” me. He was pretty stoked to hear this career advice and insight and how I was going to put his info to good use.
That, for me, was one of the first times I felt like I really lied to my dad as an adult. I mean, I had lied to my parents as a kid a lot. You name it I was lying about it. But this was different. This was some real shit that I couldn’t tell my dad. I mean first of all I don’t have that relationship with my parents where we talk about everything. The last thing I’m going to talk about with my dad is blowjobs because god forbid he mention something about mom. “Ah yes, that’s why I married your mother.” Because this would have been a suicide note 10 years ago. “Dear dad, you know why I did it. Jared.”
I pretty much just made up stuff about this random guy to tell my dad. “Oh you know, he was like ‘don’t crash airplanes’ and ‘stay in school’ and ‘no drugs’” and I just casually left out the blowjobs and money grubbing whores.
Anyways, when you’re in a hotel bar, you will often find the same 5 people. Businessman, woman, person, whatever. They’re the same people that you see flying in first class with their laptops and blackberries just typing away at who the fuck knows what. Do you know how annoying it is to fly these pretentious assholes around who complain about everything like “are we gonna get there safely?” and “my salmon is cold.” Like, those are the two worst complaints you could possibly put together. One is a completely unnecessary – but common- concern on planes, the other identifies someone who doesn’t understand the irony and the blessing of eating fish while flying through the sky.
But now after dealing with people like that all day, you sit at the bar and captain productivity is there next to you just clickity-clackity on the keyboard making presentations about how much it costs to produce a vacuum cleaner.
Anyways, next to that guy is almost always someone who isn’t dealing well with being in whatever hotel we’re in. Be it because their flight was cancelled, or their flight was supposed to land in Orlando but they diverted it to Pittsburgh for weather, even though their self proclaimed weather experts. Do you know how pathetic it is to try and convince a pilot that quote “the weather’s fine! We should leave now, we’ll be fine!” Trust me, it’s pathetic, and it happens a lot more than you would think. People will point at their phones and their fancy weather apps and yell and scream about delays or cancellations. Just once, perhaps on my last day, I want to just walk up to them in the crowded gate area and scream back.
“This airline does billions of dollars in revenue a year and operates thousands of flights with millions of passengers and you think your PHONE is the glue that binds this operation together? You don’t see me coming to get a car loan from you and then insisting I get a better interest rate because my PHONE said it was fine!”
Like that moment, that exchange, telling off some asshole passenger for a million different reasons, that’s what pilots spend those long flight hours dreaming about. Well thinking about. Because we never sleep.
Anyways, so this person who’s so not dealing well with being at the hotel, they’re the loud drunk one that everyone else is avoiding eye-contact with. You made eye contact with me? LET’S BE BEST FRIENDS! “Dude….dude….dude. Can you believe it? This bullshit? The plane, was fine. I was on it, we were all on it. Then they said it was like broke, bullshit. Something about a fire or something, but I mean, I didn’t see any smoke! It’s fine!” Do you know how hard it is to keep not only my cool while dealing with this person at every single airport hotel, but also to keep my disguise?
Most pilots at the bar won’t walk in wearing their uniform and aviator glasses, announce their arrival “HELLO I JUST FLEW IN FROM CLEVELAND AND I WANT TO GET SO DRUNK I FORGET ABOUT MY THREE EX-WIVES!” we don’t do that. Well the ex-wives part is true and I don’t understand it. More than two? Either stop fucking or stop getting married, but one of them isn’t working out.
Walking into a bar though, pilots, we’re like Batman. Well, Bruce Wayne really. We’re in street clothes so no-one will recognize us. We get that really deep raspy growl. “ugh. WHERE IS THE BEER LIST?! WHERE IS IT?!”
But that’s seriously how I feel. If I don’t hide my identity from these people there will be questions that I’m not prepared to answer. “OMG. You’re a pilot? Like, OMG. So. What’s it like flying a plane with peoples lives in your hands? Like at any second, like everyone could just die. What’s that like?”
It’s pretty simple actually. Because if you think the pilots are up there flying the airplane and god forbid something catastrophic happens and we have some sort of in flight emergency that requires the decades of experience, years of schooling, thousands of hours of training, all to safely land the airplane, and we’re up there thinking about all the people? Is that really somebody you want in control? Because that person is basically an emotional wreck. I’ve been flying for over 10 years with thousands of hours of experience in all kinds of different airplanes but I’ve never had the airplane do something out of the ordinary and immediately thought “OMG. That woman in 3B is pregnant and travelling with her ill and dying grandmother. I BETTER NOT FUCK THIS UP!” You don’t want that person in charge! You don’t put an emotional train-wreck at the controls of a flying missile! Yet that’s the first thing everyone assumes we think about. Hell, I think most people assume that’s why pilots drink so much is because of the pressure of all the lives in our hands. It isn’t. We’re all selfish assholes who only think about ourselves and we drink because most of the time our job is pretty fucking shitty.
That sounds bad on the outset but the reality is, it’s pretty good to have a selfish pilot who only cares about himself and I’ll tell you why: you’re all sitting behind me. You can’t back an airplane into a mountain like you can a car against a telephone pole. Doesn’t work that way. The day the put the cockpit in the tail of the airplane and all the passengers sit in front of the pilots, that’s the day I would stop flying as a passenger. Because then, pilots would be like “think we can walk away from that one? Yea, fuck it. BOOM.” But as it stands, we’re the first mother fuckers to eat dirt and statistically the highest fatality rate, so we’re pretty keen on not killing ourselves, which in turn works out nicely for everyone else.
Anyways. The bar. The other person that’s at the bar is the family. Dad, mom, and usually miserable fuck 1 and 2. This is the family that booked their vacation on orbitz like 10 months ago and saved $12 bucks by staying 3 hours away from the theme park. Dad’s trying to point out all the things that ROCK about the hotel, mom’s 3 martini’s into her hangover and miserable fucks 1 and 2 are locking in nightmares that will cost them thousands of dollars later in life.
That’s not a dig on my parents, we had some great vacations as kids, but I grew up with one older sister and she was a super cunt. Nothing says sibling rivalry like your older sister sitting on you and tickling you until you pee. And your parents just pointing and laughing at you. Yea. Jokes on her though because when I hit puberty I got fat and she got anorexic and we pretty much reached an understanding.