They Can Do… Everything

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So we’re watching this TV show last night, Primeval, and these two paleontologists, guys who dig up and study fossils, suddenly grab a pair of motorbikes and dart all around the parking garage, chasing and being chased by raptors. They just know how to maneuver a motorbike at high speed among parked cars. In fact, they just know how to do wheelies. Both of them know these things. Instinctively. Up until that point in the series, we never saw hide nor hair of motorbikes. And now they’re doin’ wheelies. It’s very effective against raging dinosaurs.

How many times have we seen this in movies and TV shows? Some wispy little Barbie snatches up a .50-caliber machine gun and mows down the zombies. Joe Hero jumps into an unguarded helicopter and just takes off. Heavy machinery, high technology, advanced weapons systems–it’s all the same. Whatever special ability is suddenly called for in the script, the character in that scene has it. No one ever just doesn’t know what to do! “Old man Can’t is dead!”

Pity me. If I were being chased by Velociraptors, you could have 50 motorbikes parked in a row and I wouldn’t know how even to get one started, let alone zoom around like Steve McQueen, doin’ wheelies. First I would have to be taught. Then I’d have to practice. No time for that in a movie!

I consider this a literary crime, and pledge myself to try as hard as I can to avoid committing it in any of my novels. Your money back if I can’t do it!


15 comments on “They Can Do… Everything

  1. Love your comment about the helicopter. One of my buddies in the AF, a helicopter pilot, used to say that driving one of those things is like rubbing your stomach, patting your head, and tapdancing with your feet, all at the same time. 🙂 But of course someone with no helicopter training can jump into a helicopter and do air tricks with it. Especially if it hasn’t been fueled.

  2. About 30 years ago my son, who has been fascinated with anything with wheels and motors since birth, had a dirt bike. He put me on a moped and took me with him into a patch of woods not far from here. He was sailing off the top of a hill and doing wheelies all over the place.

    I wanted to try a wheelie. There was a little mound of dirt on the path, and I got the front wheel up about 6″ ! Then he got the camera ready and i did it again!

    I thought of sending you the photo but I don’t know where it is amongst my 10 bankers boxes full of photos.

    He now has a business, called Vintage Auto, LLC, where he restores old vehicles.

    1. When we were kids, my friends and I tried to do wheelies on our bicycles. It can be done, if you’re an expert and you put a lot of time into it. But we couldn’t do it.

  3. Lots of motorcycles and wheelies in my deep past, but I don’t recommend it without working your way up to it gradually. Movies and TV are bunk.

    1. Last night it was some chick suddenly and inexplicably turning into a virtuoso with a backhoe. She instinctively knew how to operate heavy machinery!

    2. I’m not skilled as a heavy equipment operator, but I suspect it takes a lot of practice. Scenes were a non pilot flies a helicopter are probably the worse. They are not easy to fly and require a lot of training to master. I doubt highly that the average person would even begin to have a clue as to how to get one off the ground. Even fixed-wing airplane pilots face a steep learning curve before they can fly a helicopter.

    3. Never been in a helicopter, but I worked for Sikorsky Aircraft one summer in college, and watched them out the window. Sikorsky was famous for huge helicopters that had a space under long bodies, and were so strong they could pick up a train car! They were used by the military, for bridge construction, etc.

      I have a related story. My husband, Joe Reilly, before we were married. in the 1980s was the head of a national non-profit, Morality In Media, based in New York. He was on many TV news shows, including McNeill-Lehrer. Once he was in the “green room” awaiting the beginning of a program and in walked Milton Berle!

      “Uncle Milty” asked what they were there for. The topic was public nudity. He went into a story about how he used to have a school for comedians. He said that comedians like those of today, who use profanity, would have not been allowed into his school. He said, “In those days it was so strict, that when I came in late for a show with a live audience, I apologized and told them, because I was running so late, I had to take a HECKICOPTER!”

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