By J.D. Oxblood

I have a new hero, and his name is Chesley Sullenberger III.  As anyone in the New York area who doesn’t live under a rock should know by now, “Sully” is a commercial airline pilot.  Yesterday, making routine flight #1549 from LaGuardia to Charlotte for U.S. Air, Sully’s plane struck something—most likely a flock of birds—and one of his engines erupted in flames.  Sully quickly decided that he didn’t have time to make it to the nearest airfield, Teterboro, and instead ditched the plane in the Hudson River in midtown.  There were no fatalities.  This is a clear case of incredible judgment and the skills to pay the bills.  “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking… uhhhhhh… we seem to be… uhhh… on fire… I’m going to drop this puppy down on the Hudson… uhhhhhh… we might get a little wet.”

As a veteran traveler, this story makes me all warm and giddy on the inside.  Not for nothing, the LGA-Charlotte route is exactly the ticket on U.S. Air that I tried to purchase in December but found it sold out—it was the cheapest way to get to Mexico.  And speaking as someone who has been in some uncomfortable airplane moments—emergency landings, blown tires on landing—there is no currency more valuable than a pilot who knows how to roll with the punches.

All this we can get on Yahoo, J.D., so why are you wasting our time?  I’ll tell you—because of Mayor Mike and his bullshit “Miracle on the River.”   Mike’s tagline was so attractive that Charles Gibson used it as a graphic on the ABC nightly news.  This just pisses me off.  Grab a dictionary and look up the word “miracle.”  (To paraphrase, it involves divine intervention.)  The wags would have us believe that the results of yesterday’s high-flying drama had something to do with GOD stepping in and saving the day, against all odds, and, possibly, against the laws of physics.  The Hudson ran red, turned out to be a delightful pinot grigio, and the Upper West Side was drunk for a week.  No, son.  What happened yesterday happened because my man Sully is a BAD ASS MOTHERFUCKER who knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  He did the math, he made a call, and he had the juice to execute a water landing—something that he would have been taught how to do, by the book, way back at the Air Force Academy.  Robin Roberts said that she saw the door to the plane open 45 seconds after the landing—turns out that Sully had a badass crew backing him up.  Then water taxis, the fire department, and the rest of the emergency management resources of New York City like, TOTALLY DID THEIR JOBS.  Everyone got out, everyone was safe, everyone rocked the Casbah.

The press keeps claiming that Sully saved “hundreds” of lives, and, again, I have to call bullshit.  LET’S CALL IT THOUSANDS.  Imagine, just imagine, New Yorkers, who have some experience with tragedy, what the fuck COULD have happened if Sully had been some moron.  A commercial jet belly flops into the Bronx, say, or into the Upper West Side.  We’re talking casualties like we haven’t seen, maybe ever.

In this cantankerous observer’s humble opinion, every single person in the Bronx or uptown should buy Sully a drink—he should not pay for a cocktail for decades.  And it wouldn’t hurt if some of the more lovely ladies wanted to throw him a hummer—if it’s cool with his wife, of course.  Coz call me crazy, but I’m betting that when that pimp-daddy walked off the waterlogged wing of his downed bird—after making two passes through the fuselage to make SURE that everyone was out, bless him—he was thinking, I’m getting some head tonight.

Calling this event “a miracle” steals the credit from the ones who deserve it.  Perhaps if the American people stopped crying for miracles, shit wouldn’t be so fucked up.  One should not pray for a miracle when all that’s needed is quick thinking, sound judgment, and excellent execution of professional skills.  What if you waste it?  What if you only get one miracle and you blow it on a wish that could be granted by a guy with the right skill set?

My glass is raised.  Fuck yeah, Sully.  I’d fly with you any day.

Kiss kiss,