Best of Grizzard- Fear Of Flying No. 3

  • Friday, June 9, 2023
  • Jerry Summers

With the Chattanooga Municipal Airport reporting record numbers of passengers and expanded destinations with the expected conversion of jet fuel to an all electric fleet of “puddle jumpers”, an update is necessary.

In previous articles Lewis Grizzard (L.G.) expressed concern over being placed in the seat next to a large passenger in commercial aircraft has been well documented.

Honoring the family reputation of this website, we have left out any risqué reference to Erica Jongs’ best seller the Mile High City (Denver) and the Mile High Club, and this article is now more timely than ever before due to the current tension-filled atmosphere in the commercial aviation industry.

An added concern is the risk of the potential arrest of the Pride (not that type) of Moreland, Ga., due to his intense alcohol consumption before takeoff and his continued consumption of his favorite beverage on the tarmac and in the air on Delta, Southwest, and Wing and a Prayer Airlines.

L.G.'s chances of getting obnoxious, ordered off the jet, or transported to the local jail increased substantially after he indulged in a large amount of alcohol.

In his 1989 paperback “Fear of Flying”, (Longstreet Press) with illustrations by Mike Lester, L.G. in 19 chapters of his 11th bestseller once again conveys his fears and concerns about having to cross the country after the replacement of trains by planes.

“As a kid I was never all that impressed by airplanes. My dad was a foot soldier, so I never heard stories of aerial combat. The planes that flew over our town weren’t much to see - mostly military cargoes that looked like Greyhound Scenic cruisers with wings. And, of course, every time a plane went over, somebody brought up Uncle Alton.

Even in the movies and on television, flying wasn’t all that hot. Peter Pan, who could fly all over the room, was too swishy for my tastes. I didn’t know anything about sexual persuasion in those days, but I knew a fruitcake when I saw one. Maybe it would have been different if Mickey Rooney had played the role instead of Mary Martin.

Superman had everything going for him except one thing - he would never stand up to Lois Lane. That bimbo led him around like she had a Kryptonite collar on him. I couldn’t stand to see him leap tall buildings in a single bound and then hop every time she called.

And what a disappointment Batman was. That sucker wore a cape like Superman, but he couldn’t have flown if they had bought him a ticket. And Robin, with his bird legs, was just as bad; he’d have been better off eating worms and rock, rock, rockin’ along.

Mighty Mouse? Ever notice how he flew in to save the day only after the bad guys had beaten the pulp out of some little fellow? An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure in the real world, but it wasn’t worth its weight in cheese in TV ratings.

And there was Sky King and his ugly niece, Penny, the one with the Ovaltine mustache. All Sky ever did with his plane was round up stray cows. Heck, Lassie could do that without ever leaving the ground.

So there just weren’t a lot of role models that glorified flying for me. Trains, on the other hand, were the talk of the old men I knew growing up. And there was that soft spot in my daddy’s heart for trains.”

(As the reader can ascertain, L.G. in said article offended gays, women, transgenders, Disney World, and pilots but repeated his love for trains.)

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You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com

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