After crashing my airplane into the combination restrooms and refreshment
stand gazebo at our club flying field, the club president told me
that I was a few bricks shy and that my elevator didn't go all the
way to the top.
I think I understand the elevator comment. It was in fact the elevator
servo that failed and caused the crash, so he probably meantthat
if I had more up elevator, I wouldn't have crashed. But what did
he mean by the brick comment!
-Barth in Beth Park, NY
A few bricks shy" is short for "a few bricks shy of a full load."
It's a mason's term and it means that your club president thought
your airplane wasn't heavy enough. Don't be discouraged by your
setbacks. Keep building, keep flying, and maybe someday you'll be
playing with a full deck.
Help! Electronic things hate me and I'm surrounded by them. My car
windows won't go down when it's hot and they won't go up when it's
raining. The can opener throws beets on the kitchen ceiling and
the automatic coffee maker comes on in the middle of the night when
the pot that's supposed to catch the coffee is in the dishwasher.
I'm a victim of progress. I liked handcrank car windows. I respected
them and they respected me. I got along fine with can openers that
needed me to turn the handle. I can't cope with a coffee machine
that's smarter than I am. My husband gave me an electric carving
knife. The first time I tried it, "-'... (Excuse me, I'm typing
this at work my boss just walked in.)
Goood Llord ! he tok awry hi- typ!wri7er anj geva me wOrd prcoessro
Dear Modeler's Wife:
Calm down. Help is available for people like yourself who have been
cast adrift by the integrated circuit revolution.
The Institute for the Electronically Challenged (IEC, 5604 Pleasant
Harbor Drive, Penobscot, ME 017191 has satellite agencies all over
the U.S. that offer counseling and support groups for the appliance
impaired. Programs include: The LED is Not Lucifer's Eerie
Display, Coping with Electronic Ignition, and Programming
Your VCR (Beginner and Advanced).
So sign up and I'm sure they'll be able totototototototo.
Hi. It's me, Tommy Smith, again.
I know you want me to keep you informed, so this month's
body count is one squirrel, two parakeets, a box turtle, and
my cousin Jimmy.
That's all for now.
If you got it off, could you send me back the skin that was
glued to last month's envelope!
Your Friend, Tommy Smith
No can do. I added it to the skin ball I've been building
from your correspondence over the years. It's about the size
of a grapefruit now.
I've got to take a business trip by airline next month. I
know how much you hate air travel, but since you write about
it fairly often, I figure you must have to do it relatively
frequently. As a regular air passenger, maybe you could give
me some advice on how to cope with my upcoming ordeal.
Jerry in Jamesburg, VA
First of all, if you ever had any airline coffee, you would
know there's no such thing as a regular air passenger. Yes,
I do travel by air frequently. I used to think it was preferable
only to a root canal, but a recent experience has altered
my opinion. I was on a flight to St. Louis with a stop and
plane change in Madison, Wisconsin. The first leg was ordinary
enoughovercrowded people chewing vulcanized omelettes-
but a storm hit while we were on the ground in Madison and
we got snowed in. After a series of unsuccessful phone calls
and useless threats to numb airline employees, I found myself
with absolutely no choice but to take a bus to St. Louis.
Seeing the USA by bus may be the one travel experience
that could start you longing for the friendly skies. I boarded
my bus and selected an empty window seat in Row 11.
As I satdown in it, the reclining mechanism deposited
me in Row 12. Several trial-and-error back flips later, I
eventually occupied a working seat in Row 17right over
the bus's rear axle, as I would learn later. Comfortably seated,
I surveyed the magazine pouch in front of me...a 1986 Boy's
Life and the current issue of Ebony. Not particularly interested
in either, I decided to open and adjust the overhead air vent.
I succeeded in directing a high velocity plume of bus fumes
onto my left ear and was subsequently unable to turn it off
or aim it somewhere else. I pushed the button for the overhead
light and it worked. A lamp came on about six rows forward
on the other side of the bus.
About this time, the bus stopped in Milwaukee and an older
woman got on and sat down next to me. I am convinced that
if I opened the dictionary, I would find the woman's picture
next to ''bag lady." She arranged her multitude of shopping
bags on and under the seats all around us. One of them clearly
contained something alive and moving, but it never made a
sound, so I don't know what it was. I don't want to know what
I have shared a row of seats with some pretty ripe individuals
on airplanes, but this lady smelled like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's
sock drawer. I was looking for an escape route through all
the bags when the bus hit a bump and tossed me to Row 21.
That was my clue that Row 17 was over the rear axle. I could
go on, but my advice for your upcoming flight, when the flight
attendant has parked the beverage cart on your ankle and is
demanding six dollars in exact change so you can watch Home
Alone, is to just remember that you could be on a bus to Hell,
in Row 21, just across the aisle from that most terrifying
of all travel conveniences, the bus toilet.