Paper Airplanes

Sometimes it seems like nothing, and I mean virtually nothing, is within our control. At times like these I fall back on a sentiment from a cheesy little movie I truly enjoy called The Replacements. The main character in the made-up football flick is Shane Falco. During the course of the movie we get bits and pieces of his current life and the backstory that the ‘present day’ person is built upon. Shane’s character has a minute in time where he is addressing his teammates in the locker room. This is a vulnerable moment where he relays a fear to try to unite his teammates. His analogy is about the pitfalls of his playing career. He labels his fear: quicksand; I’ve stolen the passage and pasted it below:

Shane Falco: You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can’t move… you can’t breathe… because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand.

A tip of the cap and a genuine thank you to whoever put this passage together, movie or no. I’ve found that often in life you are trudging along, trying to make the right decisions and be a good person until…one thing goes wrong. Then another…and so on down the line. Eventually it seems like you blink and you are staring at a wall in a dead-end alley. Honestly I think most of us can relate to this, if not literally, then maybe in a figurative sense.

A long time ago in a lifetime far, far away (back in my school days) – someone taught me how to make a rudimentary paper airplane. If I could remember what his name was I would surely give credit but that information has long since departed my brain. Anyway, after I watched him make an airplane, I tried my hand at the task. I folded a piece of notebook paper in half, then I folded from the corner to the center on one end and then it’s corresponding other corner as well. I folded in from the new points on both sides. The piece of notebook paper hinged on the crease at the center. This allowed me to take the long, slender triangle and fold each side outward at the halfway point of the triangle to make ‘wings’. The finished product was not overly sophisticated but when the ‘body’ was pinched between my thumb and index finger, it flew after a quick flick forward of my wrist (releasing the plane).

Over the years some would fly better than others (measured in speed and distance). Some would flop pathetically to the ground with barely any flight distance covered. From that day until now I have easily made hundreds of these antiquated planes mostly because I never Googled how to make a better paper airplane. But I still had my original process and I even relayed the instructions to young Master Ayden at one point. We made a few planes together that we flew again and again until they were utterly destroyed.

If you are searching for a point in this piece, there may not be a concrete one to offer to you. But maybe if I was pressed to explain myself I would say, life is kind of like…no Forest no! Heck with it, I’m going to anyway. Life is kind of like those silly, nothing planes I make and have made. I go through all the steps and try to be as precise as possible but no matter what they will not last. Regardless, I will keep making those flimsy planes and life will keep guiding them behind the bookcase to become entangled in the dust and wires. Or life will swat them down in their very first flight to end up in the cat’s water bowl. Those with paper and water experience know that once paper gets wet, the paper un-creases and the weight distribution is shot so the jig is up.

Every day we all get a chance to make our own paper airplanes and fly them. Some choose not to make them and thus have none to fly. Some just want to think about doing it because of all the wasted effort that comes with failure or the success that turns to failure. To all of my readers out there mentally making their own paper airplanes, kudos to you and keep fighting the good fight.

Have a great weekend.



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