The Thing I Like About …

… Air Disasters (TV): the way it makes things really, really simple.

When you’re someone who likes disaster films and true-story TV shows about airline disasters, you get a lot of strange looks. But I don’t actually enjoy the fact that people – real people – died in these plane crashes; what I enjoy (outside of the excellent graphics) is watching the re-enactments and the interviews with survivors … because they all point to the same thing: in that moment, when the plane is about to hit the ground, the only thing that everyone is thinking, besides “please don’t hit the ground,” is “I want to live through this.”

In one moment, life comes to a very narrow focus, and the things that matter are really so few – love, family, friends, one more breath – and the passengers’ ability to control what happens is virtually non-existent, so there’s really nothing to do except brace for impact … and just be. In a moment when you don’t know if you’re going to live or die, you don’t think about your bank account, or whether your butt’s too big, or whether you were popular in school. You don’t think about wrinkles or laundry or meetings or college funds. You think about what matters – the love, the breathing – and you think about what matters for that moment: Where are the exits? Am I braced-for-impact sufficiently? Where’s my kid/friend/spouse? How quickly can I unbuckle this seatbelt?

For that moment, you are in the moment in the most fundamental way.

And what you begin to realize, when you watch Air Disasters enough, is that you don’t have to leave that moment. You begin to realize that every moment is the moment you should be in, and that the things that are important just before the plane crashes are actually the only things that are important, period. All that other stuff may be interesting or useful or fun or unavoidable, but it really isn’t important. It’s really not.

What would be important to you if your plane was about to crash? Whatever that is, hold onto it and let go of everything else. You can’t brace-for-impact sufficiently if you’re hanging on to anything else. That moment is every moment, and it’s the moment you’re in right now.


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