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Hope is the thing with fire. And fueltanks.

Sorry, Ms Dickinson, it's not the thing with feathers.


The BBC did a lil video on an amateur jetpack enthusiast. It's kind of...sad how hard he's trying. And how much time he's probably put into this. But it's also a bit, um, uplifting? {choke, snorkle, guffaw}

The video feels like some metaphor. Like when the dude is walking along carrying his latest jetpack monster on his back as the reporter walks along side--like, literally dogging his footsteps--spewing raw realism about how implausible and impractical jetpacks are in real life.

And then when he's trying to fly it. All tethered up and stuff. And the reporter's kind of standing there--as, apparently, a counterweight. Oh, he took a step back. Slightly less slack in that rope now.

Am I the only one who had the impression the only person in the video actually giving two shits about this guys lil project is the guy himself? It's like everyone else is kind of there to gawk, "Wow, this nutter's for real."

And then his line at the end, after the thoroughly anticlimactic "test flight", "Yeah, we got a few inches off the ground there, but what we probably plan on doing is just going higher and higher and higher and higher and higher and higher.".

That's more than a little heartbreaking, isn't it? Just from the video you can see he's got no control of his flight, really--he keeps spinning this way and that, though moving a little farther forward.

But, interestingly, he's still got hope. Or at least some practical sense of "higher is progress...farther is progress...". I suppose you could call it "certainty", however absurd it is.

Indeed he doesn't have the manic demeanor of your usual hope junkie; no, he's calm and unfazed. Also, he seems genuinely, however very slightly, happy with the result of the flight. Again, in a very practical way. "It works."

Perhaps this is the only kind of viable hope there is. Something so rudimentarily realistic, so fundamentally practical, that there really can't be any disappointment. At least nothing like the pure hope junkie has when the crash inevitably hits. Instead, he has contentment if it works or a reasonable understanding of where to go if it doesn't.

This guy really is like a trick-or-treat bag of metaphor. "he doesn't soar miles above the ground; he only hovers a few inches" "not even the weight of his dreams can hold him down when reality declares itself" It's kind of too easy, so I'll quit while I'm ahead and this post isn't too monstrous.

I will say one last thing. In contrast to what you might usually hear--"Sometimes you just have to lower your expectations"--this guy doesn't seem to have resigned to this point of view. It seems he reached it objectively, by way of realism, if an optimistic realism, rather than wild, uninhibited fantasy.

Perhaps he did, as a boy, dream or make-believe he was jetpacking through the night sky. But nowadays he seems to have adopted the sort of goals befitting an engineer--practical, realistic, hopeful, unfanciful. And it seems it might even bring him some modicum of joy in life. Imagine that.

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