Erstwhile Muse

Apr 16, 2007

Eng 251 - External Journal Entry #2

Are you an individualist? Why or why not?

MySpace is, by and large, a stinking pile of rhino dung. It is atrociously coded, contains little of true value, and is generally a colossal waste of time. I'd call it the asshole of the internet, if that title weren't already reserved for the various *chan sites out there. That does not mean it is not without its uses; it can be used to keep track of folks that would otherwise disappear from radar, and some find it a method of amusement, further proof that it doesn't take much to entertain some folks. User generated polls are a common source of time wasting while there, and though they are most often full of ridiculous queries and poor grammar, occasionally one has a question or two worth at least a bit of thought.

What was your dream growing up? is one that recently caught my eye for several reasons. First, the assumption that someone would be limited to only one dream at a time—what a sad, terribly boring life that would be to lead. It also triggered memories of one of my more outlandish high school dreams (which, I must admit, still holds a modicum of interest for me even today) that perfectly illustrates a very keen example of my particular individualist streak, as well as why I believe one should never trust the press to provide an accurate quote.

My plan was to build a personal aircraft, specifically an autogyro and use that to travel to and from school. I had formulated the plan after looking through a large stack of aircraft identification manuals that had been owned by my grandfather (who had been involved in the Pacific Campaign of WWII in some manner that I am woefully unfamiliar with). I loved flipping through the pages for a variety of reasons—the engineer in me loved to peruse the different solutions to the many problems of powered flight provided within, while the artistic draughtsman side greedily drank in the detailed schematics and simplified iconic images. I can still picture the grainy black and white image of a man seated at the controls of a four stroke, single seat autogyro to this day, the allure of it was so great. Where I found the rough plans for building one I don't recall; this was back in the late 80's – early 90's though, very much the pre-Internet days, so I can only assume that it was the fruits of my obsession with spending time at the local public library (which, all things considered, was actually quite good for such a small rural area).

Sadly, for want of cash and a lack of social networking ability, the pieces and parts to put the plan in motion never materialized. While this was probably for the best where my physical safety was concerned, it did leave me a bit disappointed. But I never completely abandoned the idea; I was strangely thrilled when the family lawn mower was scheduled for replacement, and once or twice I stopped by the local junkyard to inquire about prices and availability. Thus had I remained primed to make a royal ass out of myself at the hands of the local news rag when they came ‘round school looking for students to interrogate interview for one of their insipid life story interstitials used to fill up a few inches of otherwise useless space near the bottom of the page.

The question they were asking was something along the lines of What is one thing you'd like to accomplish before graduation? My answer is lost forever to the ether, but the intention was much different than the interpretation. The general gist of the answer was that I felt that since it was somewhat expected of high school students to want to attempt the implausible, I wanted to do just that in the form of constructing the aforementioned autogyro. I think the concept of autogyro confused them outright, and I had to explain it as something akin to a helicopter. This explanation did not really cement the concept in their minds however; all it did was guarantee that I would be quoted as saying I want to do something everyone expects, like build a helicopter….

Who knows? Maybe that was what everyone expected of me during those years. Perhaps the community at large considered me more of an individualist than I did. I certainly did little to dissuade them of that perception over the years, and see little point in attempting to do so now, even if I had the inclination.



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