Several weeks ago a friend sent me a private message on Facebook asking if I my grandsons might have an interest in receiving something he received for Christmas last year? At least, that is how I interrupted his communication. My grandsons are ages seven and eleven. My friend is well on the other side of forty. Actually, it may not be too much of a stretch to say that he is well on the other side of sixty. Who knows, he could be my age or older. He reportedly, had little interest in pursuing the benefits of the incredible gift he had received.
Truthfully, my initial response was to “bring it on.” Whatever it was, if he thought the urchins would enjoy it, he was probably right. Sometimes adult gifts work well for kids. I remember that the General and I did something outlandish for Craig’s fifteenth birthday. At the time, he thought we were really strange. After all, how many fifteen year olds want a framed canvas print to hang on the wall in their room? I don’t recall who the artist was, but it was a western print and it was perfect for his room. However, I do recall at the time that “thrilled” with our generosity wasn’t his initial response. He mentioned this week that he still has the print and that today it is on display in the living area of their home.
The gift my friend was hoping to re-gift didn’t resonate with his interest and it reportedly required time that he didn’t have available. He said, “I was hoping to give it to a youngster that really wants one. It is a power drone.” Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t want a power drone? In the DNA of every little boy is a desire to fly something.
I remember the year that Ronnie and I received a gasoline powered model airplane for Christmas. We were so excited, but our skill set in making it fly was less than stellar. I remember using the index finger on my right hand to quickly flip the propeller to start the plane. Getting the engine to run wasn’t as difficult as getting the plane to fly.
“A drone for the grandkids”, they would absolutely love it. I even thought, “Hey, it could be something they could play with exclusively while they are at my house.” That thought carried the unspoken realization that I could play with it when they weren’t at my house. Like I said, “In the DNA of every little boy is a desire to fly something”.
There is a man at our church (father of three children) who has a drone. He brought it to church a couple or three times when kids were involved in Vacation Bible School. It was a big hit with both youngsters and their parents. I actually had the thought, having one of those would really be neat. After all, it is a great way to capture an aerial photograph of one’s home. For that matter, it would be a great way to play detective and spy on one’s neighbors. The possible different uses of a drone are endless.
However, before I got overly carried away with envisioning the possible uses of the drone, I came back to reality. All I had to do was open the box the drone is packaged in and realize its operation was too complicated for me to figure out. For one thing, the instruction book is printed in print so fine that I couldn’t read it without a magnifying glass and I didn’t have one. All it took was sixty seconds at attempting to process the instructions and my interest in flying the drone crashed. The directions were “over my head”.
The friend gifting the drone had added the caveat that the registration with Homeland Security would have to be switched from his name to the new owner. The new owner was going to be my son, not his dad. I was done with the drone before I got started and it all had to do with the instruction book that I couldn’t read.
However, I did have the thought: “Isn’t registration with Homeland Security a little much?” Ours obviously is a world of too much governmental regulation or not enough governmental regulation. Do you remember the crash from back in the summer resulting in the deaths of sixteen people including the pilot of a hot air balloon? Oversight by Homeland Security or some other governmental entity would have added some level of protection for the fifteen passengers who unknowingly were at the mercy of a pilot who couldn’t legally even drive a car.
The pilot for hire reportedly had five convictions for driving while intoxicated and three convictions for drug related offenses. According to investigators, the pilot was reportedly flying high before he ever left the ground. Earlier that morning he had taken a cocktail of prohibited drugs including the opiate painkiller oxycodone.
The way I see it, the laxness associated with regulation of operators of hot air balloons providing transportation services to those hoping to satisfy the desire of every little boy to fly, needs to be extensively re-evaluated. However, I’m not sure about the need to regulate the operation of a battery-operated drone in the hands of an eleven year old.
As a side note, today is the 44th anniversary of my twin brother’s plane going down somewhere in North Vietnam. At least he was fulfilling a lifelong dream. He was born to fly.
All My Best!