I'm not sure what it says about me, that my favorite characters are down on their luck, fumbling through life, and generally flustered over existing. The protagonist who makes a brave sacrifice? Okay. But the man who is standing in the rain, defeated, and takes another step anyway? I'll be on his side any day of the week.
Martin Crieff, a hapless airline pilot featured in the BBC radio show Cabin Pressure, fits the bill perfectly. It took seven tries to get his license, and his short, scrawny frame usually has people guessing he's the steward or first office, definitely not the captain. He's underpaid, unappreciated, and, really, not all that good at his job.
In fact, the tests show that his flight skills are just within the adequate range. But his passion? Higher than a 747. His dedication to the craft? Unmatched.
And though life offers nothing but roadblocks, he digs in his heels, knows that flying is the one thing that matters, and promises himself that “I won’t settle for a life where I don’t get to do it.”
It reminded me of the Van Dyke quote: that the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best. And once Martin accepted mediocrity as not only a step towards reaching his goal, but also an accomplishment in itself, he was content.
Let's raise our off-key voices, fly our planes with shaky hands, and stop worrying about being best when just being is more than half the fight.