All pilots know that one of the riskiest parts of a flight is take-off, since that is when an aircraft is most at risk of being in a mid-air collision with a fish.
Which is exactly what happened recently in Florida. The pilot heard a crunch and decided to land immediately-only to find a dent in the fuselage matching the shape of a very freshly deceased fish on the runway.
How did the fish get there? In the British Independent newspaper report forwarded to me about this, unimaginative officials suggested that a bird of prey may have dropped its seafood dinner in the flight path at the moment of take-off, but what are the odds of that? The answer is surely something more believable, involving portals from a parallel dimension.
Try this easy experiment to prove that matter moves between different worlds. 1) Put your neatly looped earphones in your pocket. 2) Take them out ten minutes later. You’ll note they spent that brief interval in a parallel dimension where boy scouts tangled them into a triple slipknot, two angler’s loops and a Gordian knot.
Life’s bizarreness factor is super-high just now. A European reader sent me a report from Germany in which scientists reported finding a four-eyed fish which can see in 3D vision in all directions at once. That’s scary: a creature with a superpower hitherto seen only in teachers! A teacher once caught me doing something naughty when she was 100 meters away going in the opposite direction. Or she may have just screamed my name by chance, knowing the odds were in her favor.
But going back to planes, ever since the mystery disappearance of flight MH370, many people have become nervous about flying. And so they should be!
As a plane-hopping citizen of Asia, my main fear in this regard is not disappearances but sudden appearances of the beautiful, rich fauna of the region. Who can forget that vulture that smashed into the cockpit of an Indian Airlines flight some years back? Or the ducks, goats and chickens sharing the economy cabin on flights in Mongolia? A reader was on a plane in Vietnam when a passenger threw his briefcase into the overhead storage bins and smashed a glass jar containing a giant snake, which sprang onto the passengers below, causing them to express their delight in life’s little surprises by having heart attacks, running screaming for the doors and the like.
A pilot told me of a 2010 flight over the African Congo, where a passenger’s hand luggage consisted of a live crocodile. It escaped while the plane was somewhere over Kinshasa. Finding a croc at the back of the plane, crew and passengers ran to the front, putting it into a nose dive.
An animal lover reading over my shoulder has just pointed out that the most dangerous type of animal on any plane is the human being. “Dogs don’t hijack planes,” she said.
As far as we know. Dogs are pretty smart. Whenever a stranger approaches my house, my guard dog reacts instantly, teleporting herself to a hiding space under the bed. More proof that parallel dimensions exist.
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send comments and ideas via www.mrjam.org)