Monday, April 28, 2008

Crossword Puzzle Pilots

This ad had me in hysterics, because not only am I a pilot, but I like to do crossword puzzles.

It also brings me to a story. Many years ago, before I first decided to become a pilot, I had an office job. And every day before work I would do the New York Times crossword puzzle in my local paper. As the week goes on the puzzles get harder, so on a Thursday or Friday I would usually have some left to do at my coffee break, or lunch. Other people discovered that I did the crossword puzzle and I became the office crossword puzzle finisher. People would call me to get the answers to their crossword puzzles, or sometimes just drop off the crossword for me to fill in the last few pesky words for them.

When I started training to be a pilot I saw how much I had to learn, and how much work ahead I had to do to get the jobs I wanted. I realized that crossword puzzle time and brainpower would be better spent reading From the Ground Up, the Canadian pilot groundschool textbook, or learning the procedures for my airplane. I couldn't bear to throw the crossword puzzles away, though, so I cut them out of the paper each day, and saved them in a file. I thought, "there's probably a lot of waiting around in flying. I'll save these until I'm an airline pilot and then I can do them while I'm waiting for fuel, or catering, or whatever one waits for." The file went into a drawer with other files, the files went into a box, and the box went into storage. In a recent tax-related file clearout, I found the file.

I'm still not an airline pilot, but for one, there's a chance I never will be. I'm just not on the right track, and am loving my job so much that I'm not sure I want to quit it for a less interesting "airline track" job. And doing crossword puzzles would be a silly anti-social thing to do in a multi-person crew environment. And of course any time you're not with your crewmates, you want to eat, sleep, pee or do laundry. There just isn't a right time to do crossword puzzles.

I decided that as a gesture of control over my own fate, to keep my puzzling brain in shape, and because I really like crossword puzzles, I would sit down and do them. and so in a burst of pre-taxes (Canadian taxes aren't due until the end of April) procrastination, I did. It was pretty funny trying to remember the clues relating to long-ago "current" events. But I finished them all and threw them in the recycling.

I've also done my income taxes. (Actually gathered up all the required information and bits of paper and taken them to a professional to do. Unless your taxes are astonishingly simple, the professional can save you more money than she charges in fees, and you don't have to pore over the forms and worry about being sent to jail if you do it wrong). I have even written the required cheque to the Canadian Customs and Revenue agency. The accountant looked at my cheque with great admiration, saying it was the neatest one he'd ever seen. "It looks like a stamp!"

I looked back at it. Apparently filling out the journey log at the end of every day of flying, day in and day out, produces a transferrable skill. I write clear legible numbers. I'm always aware that I'm producing a legal document. And it's taken seriously. I know someone who had to undergo Transport Canada censure and companywide re-education because he had corrected a simple logbook error by scratching it out and initialling the change, instead of signing his full name with the correction.


Anonymous said...

You'd never maken it in medicine....too neat.

We used a pro once, to try to straighten out the intricacies of being paid in vouchers for three months and ending on 01APRIL during Desert Storm. We paid the pro, then had to pay the government $6,000.

Puzzle on, cap'n.

Anonymous said...

pore or pour? or Poor? Eh?
What the heck are you doing Xword puzzles for instead of blogging?
I really enjoy all of your posts, Jon

Anonymous said...

Haha - I do the same thing. Well, for me it's the USA Today. I save the puzzle pages and do them on my commutes to and from my base. When the flight loads get high and I end up in the jumpseat a lot, my crossword file gets large.

I don't do the New York Times a lot, but I have to admit when I get ahold of a Friday NYT crossword I usually leave it unfinished. Kudos. I also like the big page-sized crossword in the Globe and Mail around the Christmas season, but it's a little difficult to do on an airplane.

Dagny said...

oh man, I don't even want to know how messy my penmanship has gotten since I have been off work!!!

And that video had me dying. LOL

Lord Hutton said...

Wot? No Sudoku?

Todd - said...

Great video!

Sue said...

This clip is hilarious!

I'm not a puzzle person, but I did enjoy the movie "Word Play"