Friday 6 January 2012

It's Kind of a Funny Story

One warm summer day at the cottage, we decided to put on a family-wide tournament of skills, complete with shiny new trophies and endless bragging rights up for grabs. Everyone divided up into teams of two, and my dad and I were paired together. We put on a good show at the kayak races, relayed our way to the finish line, and ate our way to second place, but it wasn't until the paper airplane competition that we truly had victory in our sights. 

See, in his university days, my dad and his engineering buddies created a foolproof paper airplane, able to soar through the air with the greatest of ease, so he assured me we had this one in the bag. He folded out his perfect plane as we snickered knowingly at the lesser creations of all of our opponents. Little did he know that his foolproof plane was no match for his klutzy daughter. 

As we lined up along the balcony, my dad shouted last minute pointers at me from the ground; keep your arm strong, hold the plane pointed up, make sure to follow through. Filled with one too many tips, I cleared my head and just went for it. This approach was quickly proven wrong as our plane sputtered in mid-air then quickly took a nosedive down to the ground. I was crestfallen. My dad was confused. He'd had had so much confidence in the power of his plane and I had failed to make it fly. I knew he was frustrated and I felt horribly for having let him down.

I haven’t picked up a paper airplane since…

So, you can imagine my trepidation when presented with The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes. Though it boasted that launching a regular old piece of paper into the sky was nothing short of pure magic, all I could envision was a repeat of my pathetic previous performance.
Luckily, Klutz, and my dad, were there to hold my hand. With illustrated instructions for folding and throwing ten perfect paper planes, as well as throw charts, safe fly zones, and a crash course in flight, how could I fail?

We sorted through the 40 sheets of cool patterned paper and set to work folding out our fleet. As I learned about lift versus gravity, thrust versus drag and elevators and ailerons, my dad’s long ago, last minute advice—and the logic behind it—finally fell into place. I was ready for action! I took a deep breath, wound up and threw, and was delighted as my planes soared around the living room while my dad cheered me on. 

Fun with the family, a little bit of learning and a second chance at glory? Sounds pretty magical to me!