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February 20, 2013 | By

Where Do The Marshmellows Grow?
best man checklist

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The funny thing is that they don't even grow in marshes I heard.

Why the hell do they call them 'marshmellows' then?

The 'mellow' part is obvious.

But apparently they got nothin' to do with marshes.

I learned that cranberries grow in bogs though.

And tapioca comes from the inside of trees.

Life is a strange journey like that.

I'm always askin' myself questions.

I question everything.

I wonder about so much shit.

I was the worst kid like that but my parents were always cool with it.

They knew that once I started askin' questions that I had to have the answer.

When I asked questions about the Sears Tower...

my dad'd take me to see the Building Engineer.

So I could ask him questions.

Did you know that the Sears Tower grows almost eight inches during a period of high tidal pull?

The building engineer told me that.

When we saw a plane crash my dad let me out of the car to go check it out even though I had to walk about six miles home after that.

Something he'd be arrested for today.

That was the day I decided that I had to become a pilot.

Because that pilot was so cool.

I was maybe eight or nine and I had to trek through about a half a mile of muddy field to get to the plane.

By the time I got there the pilot was gettin' chewed out by his girfriend and duckin' flyin' suitcases and stuff.

He was really happy to see me.

I guess I provided a little 'diversion' for him and I noticed his girfriend cooled off right away too... I mean she stopped throwin' shit at him at least...

although she was still pretty pissed about his losing an engine... his only engine... on the way to their vacation.

He showed me the inside of the plane and told me how everything worked.

His girfriend sat on a suitcase with her arms folded lookin' pissed.

That's how girfriends can be you know?

Dude saved their ass... glides his powerless plane into a muddy field... avoids the powerlines and barely dents that sweet Beech Bonanza... neither of them gets hurt... the guy's a freakin' hero...

and she's all mad at him.

'We should've just drove' I heard her say... 'I told you we should have driven.'

If she knew just what he'd done right there... by the time I arrived on the scene she'd have been making voracious love to the guy or otherwise demonstrating her affection for him in a more romantic way.

Bonanza's are known to glide like a brick when the engine quits.

Her boyfriend done good.

Another hundred feet and he'd have plowed it into a treeline.

I think he deserved a real and sincere and generous 'atta boy' at least.

'If this plane's a rockin' don't come knockin'

She shoudda showed old boy some ferocious love right there I'm telling you.

Then I would have decided to become a pilot the next day.

'Mom, dad... I'm dropping out of school to become a pilot' I can see myself saying.

'But you're only in the fourth grade' my mom would say.

'It's been my lifelong dream.'

I thought that guy was so cool... I mean... he just crashed a plane and he was talkin' to me.

He did everything right because he kept his cool.

The only thing he didn't do right is deal with the girlfriend properly but I didn't know that then.

Of course now I understand that the proper reaction to the girlfriend would have been to say something like...

'baby... I know that I've just saved us from certain fiery death and everything... but revelling in the moment would be selfish... and even though I'm totally pumped up and all jacked on adrenaline I can feel the emotional disconnect growing between us at the moment... which saddens me more than I'm probably letting on because of all of this excitement... and I really just want to reassure you that I love you and I care about you more than anything in the world... I want you to know that you are the most beautiful woman in the world to me... even sitting on a suitcase in a muddy field after we just crashed in a plane because of my arrogance and stupidity... that I'm sorry that the airplane's engine quit... you didn't deserve to be put through this... you deserve to be flown around in a plane that's taken care of by a more competent mechanic... and I chose aircraft mechanics poorly and in a way that wasn't considerate of you... I was wrong... I feel like I let you down... and I don't like how that makes me feel inside... when the airplane's engine quit my first thought was you... I was scared that I could lose you... I wanted to discuss how you were feeling inside right then and there but I had to fly the plane... I promised myself that the second we survived this crash that I'd address these issues together with you... that's why I'm talking to you now... because I'm keeping that promise that I made with myself... I didn't like how the whole episode made me feel... and it made me feel powerless and vulnerable and I'm going to need time to deal with those issues on my own... and I promise to reach out to a professional for help if I have to... I can understand why you're angry and you're right... we should have just driven... I should have listened to you... because every time I fuck up royally it's you that's there to tell me what I should have done... and I know it's because you love me and it comes from a good place in your heart... it's because you care... not just because you want to change me... I'll take life more seriously from now on I promise and I want you to know that I'm totally focused on your emotions at the moment if you need to talk about it... just know that I am completely emotionally available to you at this very second... I'm sorry baby... I don't even care if that piece of shit plane burns with all our luggage in it and I promise to kick that mechanic's ass next time I see him... I'm just glad that you're alright... this plane crash has changed me for the better and it's made me look at everything differently... I feel like a whole new man... I'm so grateful to have you in my life... I promise you that as soon as we get home I will start thinking about all of that shit around the house you've been telling me to fix... and I really hope that as we grow old together we look back on this crazy little moment as something that we can laugh about... something that brought us closer together... and made our love stronger... who's my hot little copilot huh... you are... c'mere you sexy little love nugget... somebody looks like they need a big hug.'

I think that covers all the bases.

Then... just to go the extra mile and because I'm a romantic at heart...

I would have walked back to the plane... grabbed the radio microphone and said loudly enough that she could hear me...

'Midway Tower this is Beechcraft yadda yadda yadda... I just made that mayday call... I just want you to know that the most beautiful woman on earth... the love of my life and I are on the ground safe and sound... and that I was wrong and I should have listened to her... we'll be driving next time... over.'

'Roger that Beech yadda yadda yadda... we're glad you're safe and goodluck with the girlfriend... hope you didn't FUBAR that' I can imagine the tower would respond.

They should put that in the 'post crash checklist' under 'dealing with your wife/girlfriend after the crash.'

Shit... they should have 'pilot type' checklists for girlfriends and wives.

Damn... I could make some money with that idea.

Laminated... with index tabs and everything... bullet pointed issues to address... key words to say over and over again and a sample script tested on female focus groups and approved by psychiatrists, marriage counselors, therapists and divorce attorneys for every scenario.

Things NEVER to say highlighted in red.

Every guy would need a copy of that.

Dealing with womankind without it'd be like flyin' by the seat of your pants.

My instructor always said... 'no matter how crazy it gets... stick with the checklist... when the shit hits the fan your head's gonna be up your ass.'

And he was right.

That dude crashed eight times... flew like a madman-kamikaze wanna be... smoked a pack of Pall Mall filterless cigarettes a day... half of them in the cockpit with me where he'd fall asleep with them burning in his mouth... he drank whiskey straight like water... married an ex-nun and lived to almost ninety.

Lenny Prorok you were the best pilot I've ever known and certainly the most fearless.

You did things with airplanes that God, physics and the Wright Brothers never intended... and the FAA certainly objected to.

I miss you.

The guy knew what he was talking about.

If I ever doubted him he'd pull out his original pilots license and show it to me... pointing out that it was signed on the back by Wilber Wright.

Every good argument in the cockpit always seemed to end with 'see this... this is Orville Wright's gahdamned signature!'

The guy used to hit me in the cockpit if I messed up.

We flew through some crazy skies together me and that old bird.

Crankiest mofo I ever met.

But the dude could fly.

Man could he fly.

He proved to me that he could land a Cessna 152 in a football field once.

The little move he pulled at the end 'to clear the goal posts' he said... that was some scary ass flying.

Wing on a 'knife edge' in the craziest sideslip I've ever seen ten feet above the ground with the stall warning horn screamin' as loud as I ever heard it.

That manuever had a 'pucker factor' of eleven and it probably took a week for my cajones to relax enough to come out of my esophagus.

I thought that was the end.

Pilots like to use acronyms and rhymes to remember stuff.

I stick with 'BISYWaR'... busywar... it works in every situation... BISYWaR is an acronym for 'Baby I'm Sorry You Were Right.'

The little 'a' doesn't mean anything... it's kinda just thrown in there to make the acronym more 'wordlike' and memorable.

The acronym makes sense too.

You don't use it at the right time... you're gonna be busy at war.

Put that in your mental pocket guys... right next to the place where you have instant and total recall of the date of your anniversary.

And don't just use it a lot... use it every chance you get... make it a goal.

No... make it a 'lifestyle.'

The secret to the phrase's success is its simplicity and its honesty.

Sometimes a guy is sorry.

Sometimes a guy is sorry his girl is right.

Either way.

I've learned since then that women are far more complex than any flying machine ever built.

Even helicopters.

Sittin' in the pilots seat as the pilot finished gettin' all of their stuff outta the plane I wondered how I'd have done in the same situation...

would I have kept my cool I wondered...

would I have done everything just right so we could walk away from the 'forced landing?'

I'm as curious about myself as I am about the world.

It's all about curiousity I guess.

That's what it is that I think drives me to get out there and get up close to people on the street.

I'm curious.

I always have been.

I want to know more.

I wanna know about everything.

That's a good thing I think.

One day I swear I will find out where the marshmellows grow.

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