Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Okay, Dahl Wins This One

            (This one gets a bit strange. My train of thought does not as much ”derail” as it does “take a ninety degree turn towards the center of the earth, and emerge on the opposite side of the globe as a molten piece of slag that nonetheless tries to continue on its original course before stopping in the middle of the ocean”.)

            One thing has always bothered me about James and the Giant Peach ever since I first heard of it. James and the Giant Peach, for those of you who have more productive things to do than read surreal children’s books, is a short novel written by Roald Dahl where a young boy (whose name I can’t remember, though I think it might have been Vladimir) is kidnapped from the home of his legal guardians by a gang of gargantuan insects who have commandeered an equally implausible piece of fruit. This is treated as a good thing.
            That isn’t what bothers me, though. Neither is the fact that a flock of seagulls manage to support a giant peach in midair indefinitely; I’ve managed to resolve that by theorizing that seagulls are actually composed of a gas several orders lighter than hydrogen (my efforts to capture seagulls in order to test this theory have proven fruitless so far). Neither is the fact that the reason the peach had to become airborne in the first place is because it was being eaten by carnivorous sharks (which would imply that the peach is actually a giant immobile animal, casting a much darker light on its slow dismemberment over the course of the book). Neither is the fact that Roald Dahl never offered whatever he evidently was smoking while writing this book to the world at large.
            What bothers me is that Mr. Dahl chose such a mundane food as the focal point of the book. It might’ve seemed novel when Dahl wrote the book, but nary a day goes by nowadays when I don’t see some sort of oversized fruit floating over the horizon. Not to mention the logistical problems inherent with fruit-based aircraft. It’s a wonderful mode of transportation at first, but then it starts to age and you’ve got a rain of wine running beneath you as you move across the countryside, which may constitute giving alcohol to a minor, depending on the laws where you live and the density of minors there. Also, I think the pit of a giant peach would contain enough arsenic to poison a small urban center, so it’s a bit of a quandary for those of you who don’t wish to commit genocide every time that you use your flying peach to go down to the grocer.
            My solution? Sandwich-based aircraft. I’m putting every cent that I gain into this project, against the advisement of my friends, family, financial advisor, therapist, and humanity in general. The goal here is to create a sandwich of a size capable of sustaining a crew of at least fifteen people, which will be suspended from a group of hydrogen balloons (the seagulls are out as a source of lift, at least for me. Evidently it is possible to receive a personal restraining order against a species. I had it framed). The ultimate goal here is to sail across the world in the giant sandwich, getting into various sandwich-related adventures and buying replacement materials from whoever happens to sell giant cold cuts near wherever we sail.

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