Monday, June 12, 2006

COLUMN: Air Show

I've never understood typical "guy" behavior. You know... running around, fixing stuff, building stuff, destroying stuff, chugging beers while making college b-ball brackets. It's all beyond me -- I think perhaps I've been machismo-challenged since birth.

Thankfully, though, I've learned over the years how to deal with it. When some of my guy co-workers start in on a conversation about home repair or the NCAA or what-have-you, I know where to properly insert the grunts and nods to cover up the fact that, as far as my nerdtastic self is concerned, they may as well be speaking Martian.

That said, I've discovered one thing about myself that falls in line with the other Average Joes of the world. Maybe it's something that's firmly rooted in my DNA, something I'm chained to by testosterone and testosterone alone. It's what assures me that perhaps I'm merely one American Eagle Outfitters visit away from being "just one of the guys":

I like things that are loud and fast. And that's why last week was pretty exciting in Shaneland.

It's not hard to tell when it's Quad City Air Show weekend. It was Thursday and I had just left work for lunch. Walking to my car, I received a call from a girl I'm crushing on right now. "Hey you," I said, "It's good to hear your WHOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAARRRRGH!" Well, I didn't say the last part. That would have been the Blue Angels as they darted over my head at umpteen hundred knots per whatever. The point is, I went "eep" like the big sissy I am. There are lots of words I want this girl to hear -- and "eep" isn't one of 'em.

But if I'm going to have my day interrupted and my bejeebies scared out of me, there's no better way to do it than via a screeching jet fighter. As we drove Saturday to the Davenport Municipal Airport, we passed person after person opting for the view from their yards instead of the airport.

"Enjoy the cheap seats, suckers," I thought to myself. I wanted the whole nine yards. (Well, that and I won free tickets in a drawing.) But I wanted to see the show from the airport itself. After all, an air show isn't just entertainment; it's also educational. Among the things I picked up during said education:

• Water is a limited resource. I wasn't aware we were having a shortage, but it must be true. What else could explain why small bottles of water were selling at the air show for $3? I'm never flushing again.

• Speaking of overpriced concessions, there was a trailer selling "GIANT TURKEY LEGS!" First off, I wasn't aware that giant turkeys were roaming the Earth, and now I'm vaguely concerned. And even if these mutant giant turkeys were all safely being exterminated in some kind of gruesome leg harvesting genocide, does eating a greasy turkey leg -- regular OR giant -- sound remotely appetizing on an 85 degree summer afternoon? Ick.

• The Blue Angels are awesome. However, why was it that every manoever the announcer referred to as being "incredibly difficult" or "rarely performed" happened DIRECTLY OVER MY HEAD? I couldn't help but be a wee bit spooked.

"Don't worry," my friends said. "These guys are pros. They've had loads of experience."

Well, no offense, but I've now had loads of experience writing newspaper columns -- but that doesn't mean I don't make the occasional typo. Call me a wuss, but I'd be happier if they did their schtick over a cornfield, or maybe a square mile of pillows or something.

Little did I know that the Blue Angels were the warmup for the REAL main event -- something I like to call the "Traffic Jam-boree." Yes, there's nothing like witnessing the greatest feats of mechanized speed and power followed by a 45-minute wait in the car in order to go 2 blocks. By the time we left the parking lot, I wanted to BE one of the cheap-seated people I was making fun of earlier. At least they could leave. Meanwhile, the Blue Angels could have made it to Botzwana. Better yet, they could have called in an airstrike to take out the bazillion people in front of us -- or at least the one dude playing Kiss at volume 11 with the windows down. (As it turns out, sometimes I DON'T wanna rock and roll all night and party every day.)

By the time me and my friends escaped, we were tired... yet emasculated. We had seen the sky, and we had seen dudes slice through it like butter. I felt like high-fiving someone. I felt like belching. In short, I felt manly. There was only one option. We pointed the car towards Hooter's. More on that next week.


Anonymous said...

"we were tired... yet emasculated. We had seen the sky, and we had seen dudes slice through it like butter. I felt like high-fiving someone. I felt like belching. In short, I felt manly."

You may want to check your dictionary. Emasculated does not equal manly - quite the opposite actually. ;)

-shane- said...

Hey, maybe i MEANT to say that I was feeling particularly castrated that day. LOL. Good catch.

It's not the first time I've used big impressive words in absolutely the poorest of ways :)

Anonymous said...

LOL. I had to read it several times to be sure I saw it right.

I'm a bit of a word-nerd (comes from all the reading I do) and knowing what little I know about guys, I don't think ANY guy would ever voluntarily admit to being emasculated. ;)

Love the column - keep up the great work! (Oh, and I've not noticed any other misused words. ;)

-shane- said...

By the way, let's hear it for the unspoken heroes of my column -- the copy editors. The version of my column that I upload to this blog every week is the version straight off my computer.

The version of the column that makes it into the NEWSPAPER is the one that's been patiently fixed by our copy editors.

Needless to say, they changed "emasculated" to "masculinized."

Bravo, copy staff. SOMEBODY'S got to bring the journalism to the table!

Anonymous said...


Good stuff. Hope you enjoyed all the static diplay aircraft while you were there. The QC Airshow is one of the best in the country.