Bravo! Bravo, I say! Terrific landing! Five stars! Two thumbs up! My compliments to the captain!
Come on, everyone. Don’t be shy. Join in.
Seriously? No one? What a sorry group of thankless travelers! If transporting 130 live bodies from Des Moines to Detroit in two mere hours—through the clouds, no less!—isn’t worthy of a modest round of applause, then by God I don’t know what is.
Clapping is the least we can do to show our appreciation for the fact that we didn’t end up pancaked against the side of a mountain or splashed down in the middle of the unforgiving seas. Hell, we should all be on our hands and knees right now thanking the good pilot for his heroic efforts in guiding us through the perilous Midwest skies.
How can you all be so indifferent to the marvel that is modern aviation? Is it too much to ask for you to slap your meaty paws together for two seconds before scrambling to retrieve your luggage from the overhead compartments? Need I remind you that our pilot has just flown us in a mighty bird of steel, harnessing the power of flight which eluded human civilization for centuries, all the while thumbing his nose at Icarus and laughing in the face of Newton’s law of universal gravitation? Yet none of you can so much as muster up a few measly golf claps?
Your lack of applause is a grave insult to those brave men and women everywhere who have risked their lives taking to the skies, including my own father, who flew commercial aircraft for more than thirty years, and his father before him, who shot down enemy planes in WWII before he himself went up in a fiery ball of flames somewhere over the Pacific. Sadly, I have been rendered permanently grounded as a result of my color blindness—and because heights give me the heebie-jeebies—but I like to think that I am keeping the family legacy alive by clapping for other pilots upon landing.
So what say you? Who will join me?
Still no one? Fine! You can shush me all you want and pelt me with as many safety instruction pamphlets as you can find. Painful as they may be, these laminate paper cuts shall not silence me! After all, do you think those in attendance on December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, stood by in silence as the Wright brothers achieved the first successful sustained flight of a powered aircraft? Of course not! Surely they erupted into raucous applause—if not soiled themselves!—at the sight of something they had once imagined to be all but physically impossible.
And that was a 12-second flight! Our arduous journey has taken us nearly 600 miles—from the beautiful corn-filled plains and rolling grasslands of Iowa to, well, Detroit—all while in the comfort of a Boeing 737 that comes equipped with every luxury modern life has to offer: half a can of tomato juice, a lone Biscoff cookie, intermittently working Wi-Fi, and a full three inches of spacious legroom upon which to stretch our weary limbs, assuming the person in front of you doesn’t recline their seat.
If Orville and Wilbur Wright can be heralded as American heroes, then why can’t we afford the same treatment to Captain Grant T. Chapman of American Airlines? That’s right! I learn the full names of the pilots on every flight I take, as well as their addresses so that I can send them a thank you fruit basket to fully express my gratitude. It’s got persimmons and everything. It’s nice.
So I say unto you all once more before we deplane: Who will clap with me?
Oh, come on! How about one clap? A couple of “hip hip hoorays?” I’ll settle for a thumbs-up even. Those aren’t your thumbs, but I’m liking the collective spirit at least.