Bicycles and Killing Machines

Good line from a post at Mimi’s Musing:

I looked it up, discovered that the Air Show–the penultimate thrill of bullies and fascists–is scheduled from 10:00 until 3:30, so advised him his friends should have no particular problem going south.

It reminds me of being in Ocean City, New Jersey during an air show two years ago.  We were down there for the weekend at the place my mother-in-law rents for a week every September, and a bunch of us had rented bikes and rode down to the boardwalk.  While we were there, the air show started up.  It consisted of a succession of vintage planes doing the usual assortment of stunt dives and loops out over the beach and ocean, moving, if I recall, from older and slower to newer and more powerful aircraft.  Then, for the big finale, modern fighter jets came screaming in from out beyond the bay.

We were on our way back when the war planes came in.  The rest of the group had rode on ahead, leaving me and my daughter, who was six at the time (and a much slower rider than her older cousins), behind.  People stood all along the boardwalk, and on the decks of the houses facing the ocean, watching these planes rip across the sky with what I took to be a mixture of awe and civic pride.  When we reached the end of the boardwalk and descended to the street, the town itself was pretty much deserted.  Down amongst the houses and other buildings, the noise from the jets was deafening, and by about the third or fourth pass my daughter had had enough.  “I hate these stupid planes,” she yelled, wobbling on her bike and hunching her shoulders as if attempting to ward off the sound.

It didn’t take much effort to imagine that this is what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of U.S. military “aid,” except that instead of dodging bombs we were just having our eardrums blown out.  Maybe next time, in the interest of putting on a more realistic show, they could work in some live explosives—not close enough to kill anybody, of course, just close enough to send a few hundred patriotic fools scurrying for the nearest sand dune.

One thought on “Bicycles and Killing Machines

  1. Yeah. We had one of these the past weekend. Sonic booms are just so EXCITING. I role played as an Afghan wedding party participant, maybe a third cousin to the groom. Fun fun fun

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