My work life and home life collided yesterday when my son complained that his toy Hess helicopter wasn't working as it was supposed to.
“My helicopter won’t fly anymore!”
It never flew. The blades spun. It lit up. It made lots noises. But it never flew.
In his world it did though. And now it did not. The batteries were dead. Naturally, they died while we were in the car. Away from fresh batteries.
I suggested maybe we should take it to the helicopter doctor. In hindsight… this wasn’t the best approach. Although I liked the sound of helicopter doctor and it sounded pretty damned cute when he said it, it got pretty old when he refused to do anything but go to the helicopter doctor.
“I think maybe the doctor is not in today.” I said.
“I want to go to the helicopter doctor.”
“Actually, they are not accepting new patients at the moment. I called last week for mommy’s helicopter.”
“I want to go to the helicopter doctor now!”
“There is no such thing as a helicopter doctor! I made it up… just like I made up that story about the aquarium being closed. Are you kidding? You fell for that! Sharks not coming out during the rain? I just didn't want to go run through the rain when you’d probably be bored as soon as we go there!“
This is what I wanted to say.
I made this bed. I had to sleep in it. Or work on another lie.
I tried explaining that I felt pretty certain I could fix the helicopter by putting new batteries in it. But I lost him when I started complaining about how much I hate the toys that don’t have an auto off feature because the batteries run out and that the manufacturers were in bed with the battery company.
"Doesn't it bother you when the train is running incessantly under the couch clicking and clicking and clicking with nowhere to go?"
“Can we go to the helicopter doctor now. Please?”
I told him I’d call the doctor and see if they had any advice since I didn’t have money for the copay anyways.
“Okay. Call the helicopter doctor.”
In the cockpit both on the ground and in the air there are times when we call the airplane doctor for advice. This happens pretty often actually. Most things are fixed by rebooting the airplane. This can only be performed on the ground… for obvious reason.
For the problems that Ctrl - Alt - Del can’t fix the mechanics over the phone sometimes can run through a procedure with us.
“Jiggle this or smack that with an open palm. Not a fist… and open palm.”
When this doesn’t stop the smoke from billowing out of the engine they send out the big guns with tools to the rescue.
I was hoping to nip this one in the bud with a phone call.
Luckily my son is used to seeing me with a headset for phone calls. If he was expecting a two way speakerphone call the jig would be up.
“Hello, helicopter doctor? My son is having trouble with his helicopter.”
“What is the problem?” I yelled to the back seat.
“It doesn’t fly anymore.”
“Yeah, he says it doesn’t fly anymore.”
“What color is it?”
“Green, and white.”
“It’s green and white.”
“And red and black and grey and yellow and it doesn't make noises anymore.”
“It’s a lot of colors. He says to jiggle it a little and smack it with the palm of your hand.”
He started beating it. Violently. Hey, doctors orders.
“Okay, the doctor thinks that maybe it needs a new battery. He says that when we get home I should put a new battery in it and if that doesn’t work to call him back.”
"Okay, let’s put a new battery in it."
"He also says that you need to take a nap and eat your green beans.”
"The helicopter doctor is nice."
"Yes he is." I replied. Relieved.
Crisis created. Crisis averted.
And peace was restored.