by Glenn Norman – June 6th, 2010
Got my hair cut in the nearby town of Mount Forest a few days back. Now that’s a big deal for me because a) I hate having my hair cut, and b) I’ve a touch of O.C.D. and have only let four (4) people cut my hair during my entire adult life.
But as I was starting to look like Einstein’s madder brother, I decided I’d had enough of my OCD’s decrees, so just drove to town and went into the first place I saw (Julie’s Hair Salon, 130 Wellington St. E., Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada).
As I settled into the chair (with my OCD screaming, “NO. THIS IS WRONG”), Julie (at least, I assume it was Julie as she was the only woman there) opened with the obvious first line … “So, what do you do?”
I opened my mouth to answer, thought for a beat, then – for one of the very few times in my life – I was speechless. I had no idea what to tell her. So, after a few uneasy seconds of silence, I broke up laughing.
“I don’t know,” I answered (as Julie watched me very carefully). “What do I do?”
Fortunately, Julie (at least I think it was Julie) has a great sense of humour, so she answered for me and said, “Well … you look like a Writer.”
We have a LOOK?
She was very pleased when I told her she was right. But as I sat there, watching my hair fall away at a prodigious rate, her question really troubled me.
What do I do?
In the “About” section of Why Fly, it says I’m the Editor.
Well, yeah … I guess.
But if you ask me real fast, demand an instant answer, I’ll probably still say, “Screenwriter.” Even though I haven’t written any T.V. since rat-bastard-producers stole our last series and I quit in disgust.
Even then, Widge & I weren’t “just Screenwriters” any more. We’d had fancy titles like “Executive Story Editor” and “Creative Producer” for more than a decade. But those always struck me as too ostentatious, so I continued to answer, “Screenwriter.”
Yeah, but even that’s not right. That’s what I did to make money, but it wasn’t who I am … it wasn’t what I do.
I pondered the question further.
Why did I become a Screenwriter?
Well, it paid a lot of money for relatively little work (albeit angst-ridden), paid for our airplanes, and left us lots of time to fly.
Now there’s a clue.
“I Fly Airplanes.” That used to be my stock answer, and is a lot closer to the truth.
But it’s still missing … something.
“Okay. Why do you fly?” says the voice inside (Oh, no. Not him/it/me again.)
“Sweet Ra – I’ve already explained that.”
“Not, really. Why have you and Widge held – at last count – seventy six (76) jobs over the years, just so you can fly airplanes?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do.”
“Aw, leave me alone.”
“BECAUSE IT LET’S ME DO MY JOB, that’s why,” I blurt out at … well … me.
“And what is that job? What is it that you really do?”
The answer appears with crystal clarity, and is more than a little weird (even for me).
What do I do? Honestly? Well my real job is … “Doin’ the Job.”
“Huh?” says the voice inside. (Ah Ha! Finally managed to confuse him/it/me.)
But the more I think about it, the more I realize – that is the answer.
It doesn’t matter what you do. All that matters is: “Are you ‘Doin’ the Job’?”
When I take someone flying for the first time, and I watch their fear turn to wonder – I’m “Doin’ the Job.”
When I make sure the little girls get to fly, not just the little boys … “Doin’ the Job.”
When I check someone out on an antique taildragger and pass on the skills others have given – given – to me … I’m “Doin’ the Job.”
When we help new pilots buy their first airplane (we’re up to 36 and we’ve never charged), we’re “Doin’ the Job.”
And when we gamble every cent, every last thing we own, to create something that just might remind pilots why they started flying in the first place, and – even more importantly – discover like-minded writers, photographers, videographers, artists and poets who can help inspire a whole new generation of pilots (who don’t even know they’re supposed to fly yet…)
Yup. That’s “Doin’ the Job” too.
And that’s what I do.
I looked in the mirror and saw a new version of me; new, but still the same.
“Hmm. Five,” I said.
“Five out of 10?” said Julie with concern.
“Nope. You get to be the fifth person I’ll trust my hair to.” (Take that O.C.D.)
“I did good?” asked Julie.
“Absolutely. You’re ‘Doin’ the Job,’ Ma’am,” I grinned.
“Doin’ the job.”
About the Author
Glenn Norman is a Co-Founder and the Editor of Why Fly. Learn more.