You are the pilot of a jumbo jet, just realizing the plane may crash. What will you tell the crew and the passengers?
Okay, okay, what do I do…. Did that, did that… did that. I don’t know. I don’t know! Is this it? Is this for real? I don’t know.
I should ask Jim. Dammit, though, he’ll panic. Look at him, he’s already panicked and he doesn’t even know anything’s wrong.
Ah, shit. I can’t leave this without doing something about it. I could kill all these people. I should tell them. I should tell them all that they’re about to die.
Oh God, how can I do that? What do I say?
Maybe I don’t need to tell them. Why tell them? They’ll panic, all of them, and spend their last few minutes of life freaking out. That’s not what they want. They’d rather die suddenly and never have to go through that terror.
How can I say that? How do I know that? Oh God, I don’t know.
You’re supposed to spend the last few minutes of your life thinking back on your loved ones and how much you love them. But who really does that? I bet nobody.
No, people get all mad at life, don’t they? Why do I have to die? Why doesn’t anyone care that I’m dying? This isn’t fair! Or they get scared. What’s going to happen next? Does dying hurt? Am I just gonna be gone?
Oh man, it’s so sad. People spend their whole lives getting rich experiences and having love and laughter, and they spend their last minutes with nothing but selfish thoughts. Maybe I should tell them all they’re gonna die just to spite them. Go ahead, ruin your whole life with your stupid selfishness in those last minutes.
But they shouldn’t do that. I should grab the intercom and tell them all to call the love of their live and tell them they love them. Call your children, call your pets. Call everyone you ever met and thank them for being a part of your life.
But they’d think I was crazy. There goes Jack again, that lunatic, they’d say. And then maybe they’d all realize that they’re gonna die and they’d all panic anyways. Maybe Jack isn’t so crazy after all, is he?
Shit, I gotta do something here. I gotta say something. Dammit, though, what!? What do I say? How do you tell somebody that their life is over? What if there’s children back there? Or a mother who’s kids are back at home? Or a father who is just getting back from war and hasn’t seen his wife and kids in years? How do I tell him that he’s gonna die on this plane?
I can’t do it.
But they have a right to know.
But do they? They’ll just waste that time panicking and cursing me and cursing the fact that their life had to end this way.
Oh, why can’t people be more grateful? Why can’t people appreciate what they had instead of always being mad? Why do people always look at the wrong things?
Look at me, I’m doing it myself. I’ve spent the last three minutes thinking about how shitty people are about death. I’m no better. I’m judging them instead of thinking of Shelley. Oh God, Shelley. I love you, baby. I love you so much. I gotta call her.
What’s that green light? What – what. Oh my God. They fixed it. The tower guys fixed it. We’re gonna live.
We’re gonna live.
And those guys back there had no idea that they almost died.
The pilot suddenly picked up the intercom radio, much to the surprise of his co-pilot Jim.
“Attention everyone,” said Jack with a rather serious tone, “We’re about thirty minutes from landing. I’d just like to take this moment to… to remind you all that, well, whoever’s waiting for you at the airport, to give them a big hug when you see them. After all, they love you. They came all the way to pick you up. Why not show them you love them back?”
He hung up the intercom and felt his face turn beet red. It wasn’t exactly what he’d wanted to say, but it was all he could think of. He could feel Jim staring at him with a shocked face and he didn’t dare look at him. He had never been a good public speaker. His hand had picked up that intercom and pushed the button before his mind had told him what to say. But it was and there was nothing he could do about it. Maybe though, by some miracle, one of those passengers understood what he was trying to say.
Jim, sitting beside him, sat there thinking about what a good pilot Jack was. Except that his fly was open.