Francis Meyrick

Of Helicopters and Humans (38) – “That beam in my eye “

Posted on July 9, 2015

Photo: Steve Apperley

Of Helicopters and Humans (38) FIRST PUBLISHED ON “JUST HELICOPTERS “

“That Beam in my Eye “

(With thanks to Med crew member Dave Giles for the peanut butter recipe, and Med crew member Jon Fowler for the adipose tissue) (yeah, I know, slow day at the Base)

There’s an interesting old book floating around out there, which has been read by many people, and it conjures up some interesting cerebral (and optical) challenges. One of the passages refers to people who are obsessed with splinters. They seek these splinters in the eyes of others. They do so minutely, with a ferocity of inspection, hair triggered towards wagging an accusing finger: “Hey dude! You’ve got a SPLINTER in your eye! What is your PROBLEM!?”

You can imagine such a confrontation taking place in public, and the accused, the worm with the splinter, recoiling in embarrassment and guilt. He might be thinking: “Merde!” (he could be a Frenchman). “I have been found out!”, or “How do I explain this to the wife?”, or maybe “If only the ground would open and swallow me whole – I can’t stand the humiliation.” However, this passage I refer to then continues on, and severely cautions against being the nit-picky accuser with the wagging finger, humiliating a transgressor in public, when in fact, fancy that, YOU might be carrying a BEAM in your own eye. Speaking
Now I first came across this story when I was very young. I think my Irish mother read it to me. She read all sorts of stories to me at bed time, and I believe the constant exposure to story telling had a permanent deleterious effect on what passes today for my mind. A bit like the effect of trying strawberry jam on your boiled eggs. It might not taste very good, but it sure is an original experiment. Well, the whole beam business in-your-eye, well, heck, that fascinated me. I remember wondering how on earth you would get around with this beam protruding from your eye? How would you get up the stairs? Or into your pyamas? It would be a struggle. Maybe it wasn’t a really big beam? But surely, ANY sort of beam would be a bloody nuisance, to say the least. The hidden, deeper meaning, was lost on me for quite some years.
I was reminded of this allegorical beam recently, discretely watching a very nice young lady. She was in her early twenties perhaps, wore the obligatory skin tight jeans, a very hard working, stretched T-shirt, AND she sported some truly gargantuan mammary glands. I think I’m allowed to say that in polite company? It’s a respectable statement of simple fact, right? Anyway, wearing red high heels, purposefully striding towards a steep staircase, I confess my mind shot to the potential conundrum we helicopter jocks refer to under the heading of “weight and balance”. Did she consult the Ops Manual, and do a written weight and balance check every time she went up the escalator? Or did she figure it out on the hoof, so to speak? How about the trampoline at the local gym? Was she on the volley ball team? Did she drive a Segway? I mean, scientifically speaking, how does one work with the rapidly alternating momentum? The kinetic energy aspect? A half times Mass times Velocity squared? I’m just saying. Check out this video if you don’t believe me I’m on to something potentially very nasty:

Weight and Balance Computational Failure

In order to exercise gender neutral, politically correct (PC) editorial even-handed fairness, let me quickly assert to the fair-minded reader, that such escalator driven visual conundrums are absolutely NOT the preserve of females only. Thus there was the case of an EMS pilot, whom Nature had configured in a slightly unusual manner. The gentleman had small feet, a small head (gleaming bald), narrow shoulders, but his waist line… well, to phrase it in PC talk, Nature had decided this was the best and only place to store excess “adipose tissue”. (You can tell I hang around with EMS folk, right?). This excess “adiposity” (oh, okay then, “b-l-u-b-b-e-r” to you uninitiated plebs) combined with his tight flight suit, produced for all the world the exact semblance of a fat sausage parked -with difficulty- vertically. Some wit nicknamed him “Banger” (as in Bangers/Sausages & Mash), and Banger’s annoyed protestations only assured the handle stuck. Permanently. Hey, you’re in EMS. They are cruel. Get used to it.
Now the same thing happened when ‘Banger’ navigated staircases, escalators, and -oddly- bar stools. It drew everybody’s attention. The pilots in the audience automatically computed the (major) weight & balance challenge. The ladies simply tittered. It wasn’t helped by Banger’s unfortunate habit of placing his hands under his (bulging) adipose tissue, and lifting his tummy up, on departure or arrival at his favorite LZ. To wit: the bar stool down at “Smokey Joe’s”. I’m serious.
Well, these scenes always reminded me of that beam in the eye business. Same issue. How do you walk around, and climb stairs, and get into your pyamas, with a beam in your eye?
The answer appears to be, if you observe Homo Sapiens at work and play, “quite easily”.
Which is a pity, if we fall into the trap of nit-picking everybody else’s splinter.
In the Choppy industry, we have our nit pickers, and we have our beams as well. How to tell ’em all apart? How to get along? For my part, if I feel aggrieved about somebody’s actions, words, or pontifications, in person or on the Web, I try (heck, I TRY) real hard to hit the PAUSE button, and reflect on the fact that what some might call “loquacious”, others might label “humbug”. That what I might think of as “helpful & well meaning”, others might regard as “trivial, bombastic and self-serving”. That’s not to say we anti-authoritarian and discretion-challenged bloggers should cower in a 100% politically correct, but also 100% bland and tasteless silence. Heaven forbid. Come now. Some pepper & jalapeno irreverently thrown in the apple pie mix can produce new flavors. And, doubtless, some heat. Like strawberry jam on your egg sandwich. Wanna try some Peanut Butter on your Bacon Buttie? Poke fun at Big Grab-a-Mint? Secretly stick a slightly mischievous… fender sticker on our (seriously conservative) Worship Captain Dalek’s Cadillac? As he sets off on his 200 mile drive home to Florida?

(the FURIOUS phone call afterwards…!!) (a whole new dimension to “spluttering indignation”) (how come he instantly knew it was ME?)

(“Dammit to hell, Moggy! Don’t EVER do that again! I had every weirdo and skinhead, and loopy-ass FREAK hanging out the window waving and cheering at me, cutting me up and honking like crazy, and there’s me in my uniform, with the company sticker on the back window, My Purple Heart and my Veteran’s plate, and I didn’t have a CLUE what the MERRY HELL was going on…”)

(Ho-hummm…) Winkthumbs

As a blogger, the sky is the limit. Even if it does fall on your head sometimes.
I also try real hard -before I open my squawk orifice- to reflect on the possibility that I’m about to try climbing up a steep stair case, with this massive big beam in my eye. Minus the mammary glands and the red high heels, thankfully, but still a challenge. And that I’m maybe blind to that beam, which isn’t too surprising, when you think about it.
The old optical nerve -between beams and mammary glands- is taking a pretty hefty hammering along the way…!

Fly safe, my friends, talk softly, and carry a big beam.

(no, that’s not quite right. Noooo I just mangled somebody’s adage. What did I mean? Heck, I don’t know…) Fly


Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on July 11, 2015, 5:13 pm

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