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Big Mouth, er, Big Ears
Nick Wisser. 2000/2/1.

The scene :  Nick Wisser sitting at his desk. A small feminine figure with gown and halo pops up on his right shoulder, a male one with horns and pitchfork appears on his left. They look at each other as if for the first time, then both begin whispering into Nick's ear.

Devil :  Hey Nick, the Big Ears thing is up and going again! Wouldn't you just love to jump in on this one? These guys are nuts, and you can set them straight. Nothing irks you like a bunch of know-it-alls telling people that ears are gonna kill you. You've done it hundreds of times. [Shoots glance with arrogant smile at Angel]

Angel :  Wait a minute, Nick, you still have wounds from the other list. [Looks at Devil, notices that he’s not wearing more than his dark red skin. Smiling, she averts her eyes but can't help looking back again]

Devil :  Sure, but didn't I crawl around and help you pull that knife out of your back?

Angel :  It isn't worth it, Nick. Even you don't do them any more. You said it yourself: coming in with ears is just too easy, it isn't 'sporting'. Didn't you say it is more fun to come into a tight LZ with a full canopy and do wing-overs at 50 feet to control glide? It's so Fly-Hard-esque.. [Shoots another glance at Devil, absently twirling a lock of hair around her finger]

Devil :  But you're trying to get rid of that crazy-man reputation. What better way than to take the lofty side of "safety?" And those people who said ears are bad, when you asked them for facts, didn't they all of a sudden find something more important to do? [Notices that angel is attractive, takes a more arrogant stance]

Angel :  Yes, but Ian Blackmore actually had a real comparison. By the way, didn't he play guitar for Deep Purple in the 70's? That must count for something... And the others, sure they have more important things to do, they are all successful comp-type instructors, and they deserve respect. [Still twisting her hair, her finger becomes stuck for a second; her expression breaks]

Devil :  You said it yourself Nick, you were more than willing to pay your respects to the comp pilots, but you ask forgiveness if you only go down on one knee. [Smiles smugly at Angel]

Angel :  Lets get back to the issues here. Remember Mexico? You pulled ears to get through about the worst lee-side turbulence you've ever experienced, and things went from bad to worse. The darn glider was never over your head. You finally had to blow them out and fly the whole wing. Didn't you say you'd never pull ears again?

Devil :  You never said any such thing. You don't do ears because you don't fly a glider with split-As any more. Besides, no one said there would never be a time when it was just too turbulent to use ears. Maybe it’s more of an experience issue: if a pilot feels confident that he could sort out a 70% collapse at 50 feet, he should fly without ears. Tell 'em, Nick. [Suddenly notices that he has nothing on, tries to hide behind his pitchfork]

Angel :  Its not your position to tell them anything, Nick. You have a day job; leave it to the instructors. Shoot, you can't even land on your feet half the time. And your launches: remember at Golden last year when you flapped so much the spectators were quacking at you? [Smiling broadly at Devil. Cocks her head to one side, as if looking around Devil's pitchfork]

Devil :  Don't listen to her, Nick.

Angel :  And what about that anecdote, where a guy pulled ears, took a frontal and spun?

Devil :  Big deal. The same thing happened to you: frontal and spin on recovery. The only different detail is that you *didn't* have ears. If anything it shows how these stories can start. Never mind that bad things happen to everyone. [Twisting hands around pitchfork, staring at Angel, wishing this would end]

Angel :  BUT EVEN YOU DON'T DO EARS ANYMORE! Can't you just let it go? Remember the controversy over whether cloth diapers or Pampers were better for the environment? Research showed they were roughly equivalent, including detergent and bleach, but the greenies wouldn't let it go. They lost credibility. [Gives beseeching look at Devil]

Devil :  Now she's REALLY grasping. You've never had credibility.