Saturday, November 24, 2007

Disasters Lighter Than Air

My father has always loved dirigibles; when they are not bursting into flames over Lakehurst New Jersey, dirigibles are easy to love. They are cuddly, yet purposeful, nosing around the sky like big seacows (O the manatee). The Empire State Building was supposed to have a mooring mast for them, but the winds were not favorable.
Every Christmas I try to find dirigibilia for my father: postcards, tin zeppelins, and, thanks to Ebay, a silver captain's pin, though the airship in question turned out to be a mere blimp. (Blimps lack the discipline of a rigid frame. And they aren't filled with such volatile gases.)
One New Years', my parents went to a costume party. Papa-san went as Dr. Hugo Eckener, the father of the Zeppelin. Unsurprisingly, the other guests were unaware of Dr. Eckener's importance, so my father printed up the above card to distribute. His Dr. Eckener costume was further enhanced by false beard, mustache and pince-nez. He won a prize for most original costume.
I don't remember what Mom wore. Besides a rather miffed expression.
Now he is in a hospital bed, trying to survive his cardiologist's love for "cutting edge" drugs like Crestor. It looks like he will be there for a while--he's not in pain, but recovery is slow, and interrupted by fevers from hospital-acquired infections. The cardiologist comes in and sings hymns to the wonders of Crestor, very safe, this is totally anomalous, and other forms of ass-covering.
Some days Papa-san doesn't care for reading, or TV, and just lies there, alternately dozing and worrying. There is a contraption above the bed for lifting patients into wheelchairs. It is at the right height, just the right height, I believe it could serve as a mooring mast for a very small dirigible.

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