Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Real Fear Factor, Not The TV Type

I was in a place today and their tv was showing "Fear Factor." I remarked that it should be titled, "Beautiful Young Women Wearing Practically Nothing Factor." The guys agreed, but without taking their eyes off the screen. While I could admire the pulchritude hanging by their feet on a cable from a helicopter (they were supposed to fetch some objects in the water), I was also somewhat amused by the lack of real fear in the whole operation.

A well-maintained, inspected and licensed helicopter; ditto on the cable. I'm sure that, outside camera range, the producers had whatever emergency assistance might be needed in case anything went wrong. I don't know if there were any rehearsals, but it would not surprise me to find out the girls did a bit of training before the show was taped.

Let's go back to the mid-1920's. Back to the days when barnstormers would fly from airport to airport and put on shows with whatever they could keep in the air. They used to take people up on a "penny-a-pound" rate for a spin around the airport and you can bet there were teenage girls who would bet each other they wouldn't do it.

Well, I know of two who did. Mom and her best friend. You don’t bet Mom won’t do something.

I don't know how well-maintained the aeroplane was, or how old. Was it something left over from the Great War? Were airplanes inspected and licensed in those days? Pilots were licensed, but what shape were they in? Most likely, nobody thought about that, but going up in one was certainly somewhat of a real fear factor. The airport was surrounded by lots and lots of swamp, tidal marsh and water, with a fair amount of open fields somewhat beyond. It was not a friendly environment.

Mom said she told her mother after she got home. She did not say what happened after that. But no matter where we flew in Alaska, no matter what type of plane or whether it had wheels or floats, she was never afraid. I guess her "been there, done that" was far more exciting than some dull inspected, approved, licensed and safe airplane.


Anonymous ruthc said...

My Mom should have known your Mom in those days. They would have pushed each other to even greater heights (no pun intended; well, maybe a bit)!

Did I ever tell you my Mom used to smuggle booze over the border during Prohibition?

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