Captain Whirlybeard

Each year without fail my birthday falls on April 27. This is way too predictable for my taste, but it doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

So this year I’m going to bust up the monotony by asking for an extraspecial birthday present. No more neckties or gift certificates to the Hard Rockabye Cafe—no way, baby! This year I’m asking for a helicopter.

I found one on the Internet. The AirScooter II ( is a really cool one-person chopper. But it’s possible that my birthday money may not total the needed $50,000, so I have another option.

“Over my dead body” isn’t a phrase my wife uses often, but when I told her that I wanted to zoom around the country in a $200 helicopter, it seemed the appropriate occasion for her to utter these words.

I pointed to the photo I’d downloaded. “Just because it looks like a lawn chair with a mower engine and whirling canoe paddles doesn’t mean it isn’t safe,” I argued. “And look—it says ‘No license required.’”

“That’s a typographical error,” Diana said. “It was supposed to say ‘No brains required.’”

Well, she didn’t really say that. But her body language spoke volumes, especially the sly way she edged over to the phone and started punching in the number for the Western Maryland Mental Health Association. I recognized the beeps.

Actually, the plans call for a motorcycle engine to propel the aircraft. I may adapt the plans somewhat, and just add rotary blades to a Honda Gold Wing. There is nothing in the Bible about flying motorcycles one way or the other, and as far as I know, the Adventist Church has not taken a stand against them. That should silence the critics, though not my wife.

Just imagine how you could benefit from having your own gyrocopter.

Say you’re the school office student assistant. You could lift off from your school at 11:55 to pick up the principal’s pizza order at Chuck E. Cheese’s and still make it back for PE class at 12:30. Of course, if you don’t care much for PE, you could fly real slow, but gyropcopter debris is kinda hard to clean up, especially if you’re part of it.

Another possibility is providing aerial playground surveillance of the lower grades during recess.

Microphone in hand, you radio in your latest report.

“Come in, Mrs. Finkelstein. Over.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein here. Over.”

“I’ve got a code brown near the merry-go-round. Looks like a bad one. Over.”

“Roger. Will provide immediate response to merry-go-round barf emergency. Over.”

“Yeah, I think it’s over. Oops—not yet. Over.”

“Roger. Over and out.”

“Yeah, it is now.”

But that’s your world, and we’re talking about my birthday.

Since my wife has shown no change of heart since the last time I brought up the ultralight gyrocopter idea, I’m going to have to come up with something ultrapersuasive.

“Honey, I can fly over the usual backed-up traffic jam down at the corner of Oak Ridge Drive and Downsville Pike. Last night it took me almost six seconds to get through that intersection.”

No good. Maybe something romantic is better.

“Dear, I can add another lawn chair, er, I mean, seat, and we can fly through life together, just you and I.”

Who am I kidding? There’s only one twist I can put on this whole thing that has any chance of success.

“Sweetheart, I can get to Food Lion and back with a half-gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in three minutes flat.”

It might just work.

So maybe flimsy flying machines aren’t your thing. We can all still get some flying time in: “Those who hope in the Lord” “will soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).

With or without a gyrocopter.

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Captain Whirlybeard

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