You KNOW that was always the best part of the kit.
It came dressed in a thin cardboardy stiffness, wings all flat and even the special "engine" of rubberband and big red plastic propeller attached to praying mantis wheels. And these paper slivers of soft, wet, seemingly hamwood but real tree Styrofoam indeed. Yes, the paper airplanes in candy wrappers! But putting them together was only part of it. Of course it flew -- took off sometimes movie credits good, too. No-one ever saw this of course, only the times you said look and there it went all 911 right before your eyes.
But no, I'm talking about that GUY. He was part of the kit; in my humble opinion (Bisquichinanly large and hairy as it may seem) the BEST part of it.
It was an oblong tab with a pilot printed on it. The side view appearance showed him to be a very intent, obviously military (no dust cropper dreams for boys please) pilot. You just sort of stuck him in there, along the spine of the vertically presented balsa piece passing for the body of the airplane. Like putting a coin away in jewelry case. Click here or on the post title to see a sample of it. I used to make him face the wrong way just for fun.
To fly, one could simply mean ALOFT.
Now the years have gone by and I realize...that pilot guy is us.
The symbol of mighty direction in flight and yet being nothing of the kind. Looking keenly onward-front but mounted only on flying pieces of wood tension strong to a rubber band of flight, and not by the feathers we all really have. Poor 2D pilot guy! There he is, bold as a coin face when seen from one side, mission in the skies of a child! Having no idea really how long the tension will last to support his brief journey in the air, or of whoMever may have wound it up just right or not nearly enough, tab into pre-cut slit-in-the-wood precision but always gruffly placed a little off in hurried fashion for the Great Godchildren to fly your plane with their giggles in the air.
I think it's us because lately we're always looking ahead somewhere else on the ground even when high up in the sky. It just makes no sense to me at all if Heaven's in the clouds. Always, always -- we're needing a place to land. And you know there's no such thing as land, right? So when you think of him think of you a little. I do now. If you close your eyes and think about it, you may like me remember building these airplane kits too, and when pushing the pilot into position flight after flight, always inward and deeper into the seat of the tiny wood, it was really a symbol to the study of life. Opus Christi, now fly.
If only you could turn and look around.