Life Is Full Of Dusty Buttons
SOME THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT ALONE. That’s another way of saying my personal motto: “Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that you should.”
Would you pick up a stick of Dynamite with a short lit fuse? You could I suppose, but it wouldn’t be a good idea. Would you go up to every stray dog on the street and try to pet it? You could, but again – not a good idea.
“Oh, look, Harvey, he has foam all around his mouth. He must have been getting a shave.”
What brings this to my mind has been all of the talk recently about Russia and their high-tech capabilities.
Let me tell you.
I used to have this friend in California who was a pilot for a major U.S. airline. He told me about the time a Russian Aeroflot Airliner landed at the San Francisco airport carrying some diplomats or a trade delegation or the like.
My friend had never been inside a Russian aircraft. The Russians did, and still do, have a reputation for copying Western aircraft technology, but not always successfully.
The Russian plane had a long layover at SFO so my friend decided to see if he could take a peek at the airplane. He was able to get past security and go down the Jetway and get onto the plane. It appeared to be empty until he saw a man in a uniform sitting in the Co-pilot’s position – smoking a cigar and reading the Wall Street Journal.
Rather than being hostile or defensive the Russian invited my friend onto the flight deck. He also offered him a cigar and a drink. The Russian was bored and glad for some company. It gave him a chance to practice his English language skills. He was also half drunk.
My pilot friend looked at the controls on the plane and could see that there were some significant differences from the planes he was used to flying. His Russian host was quite accommodating. He gave his American guest his opinion of the plane he had just flown from Moscow to San Francisco. In his thick, vodka fueled accent he said,
“Russian airplane is piece of shit. All Russian airplanes are piece of shit.”
Short and to the point.
As the Russian pilot gave my friend a guided tour of the latest in Russian copycat technology he pointed out that, while almost everything looked clean, shiny, and new, there were a number of switches and buttons that were covered in dust. The Russian explained that not everything on the plane worked properly – worse than that – they were downright deadly. He admonished my friend with these words.
“On Russian airplane Rule Number One – Never Touch The Dusty Buttons.”
I can hardly think of a better piece of advice for Life in general. Forget about airplanes – Russian or otherwise – knowing what works in life and what is a “Dusty Button” can save you a lot of grief and maybe prevent a 600 mph screw into the ground.
It may take some close inspection to determine which buttons in life are shiny and which are a bit dusty, but it is time well spent. There might not be a second chance to take a closer look.
I think I might get a T – Shirt with a picture of a Russian Airliner and the words, “Rule Number One – Never Touch the Dusty Buttons.”