Blogs > 37th Frame

Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


JFK - one of the busiest airports in the world. Thousands of planes, millions of passengers.

At any given moment, dozens of huge jumbo jets are approaching and departing, zipping into one of the most crowded airspaces in America at hundreds of miles an hour.
The air traffic control center is the hub of it all, legendary for the stress and 24/7 activity.
What a great place for a cute kid moment!

One lucky grade-schooler got to direct REAL JET PLANES into the sky recently at the side of his parent, an air-traffic controller at the airport. Just like Jay-Jay the Jet Plane, only REAL! And with HUNDREDS of LIVES at stake! What fun!
Now, the parent was right there, and probably nobody was really in any danger. But as much as we like to joke around and have a few laughs while working here at the newspaper, nobody will DIE if we screw up a headline or misspell 'committee' in a story. But even a small distraction could be an issue for the folks at the radar screens, which made me wonder WHAT WAS THIS PARENT THINKING?

In this spirit, I offer a short list of jobs that I believe require a high level of 'serious.' I'm not against fun, but when you're sitting in a pressurized metal tube waiting to defy gravity in a sky full of other fast-moving metal tubes, I'd like to think somebody very serious is in charge of it all. Here's a few other times I like 'serious':

- Hospitals. Nothing like hearing doctors or nurses laugh about a recent blow-out party out in the hallway while you're in your room pondering life-threatening surgery.

- Airport security. They say 'no jokes' on the sign. I'm with that.

- TV news. Isn't it great when they switch right from the earthquake footage to the footage of a piano-playing cat just by saying, "now, on the lighter side of the news..."

- Funeral director. Unless you're in Vegas. Or maybe Los Angeles.

- Dentist. I'm in the chair. My mouth is jammed open. Drool is running down my chin. I'm possibly in pain. Get this over with FAST.

- Airport van driver (mostly applies for early, early flights). I'm still asleep. Can't think of witty comebacks. The less you talk, the more I'll tip.

- High-rise crane operator. Imagine him/her bringing the kid to work. "Easy now, careful, NO, NOT THAT SWITCH...Ooooh, that's ugly..."

- Torturer: Well, if the jokes are that bad, maybe...

- Drug dealer: Ever see a happy-go-lucky drug lord in a movie? There's a reason for that.

- Missle launch operator: OOPS!

- My desk-mate Geoff Patton suggested executioner. You don't want Hee-Haw when they're pushing the plunger on the poison.


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