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BRIAN MCKIM has performed standup comedy in all 50 states. He earned a B.A. in Magazine Journalism from Temple University. Any resemblance to a living person is purely coincidental.


Brian McKim
Editor In Chief

"Powered Flight"

I hate flying. I guess I don't so much hate flying as I hate turbulence. I went through a 16-day period last month where I experienced ten takeoffs and ten landings. (As long as the landings equal the takeoffs, there's no problem, right?)

Toward the end of that string, I flew through a particularly lengthy patch of what the captain ironically called "bumpy air." My entire flying life passed before my eyes. I realized that some of the important events in my life were tied to hurtling through the stratosphere.

My very first experience with air travel was a short hop from Philadelphia to Toledo to embark on the first leg of my "college career." I arrived at Toledo Express Airport with all my possessions stuffed into a trunk lent to me by my Aunt Rita. I felt important. Arriving by air lent the whole enterprise a little more weight. The distraction provided by flying helped take some of the focus off the fact that I was starting college.

The second time I flew was seven years later and was connected to my first "real" job. In my capacity as managing editor of the Photographic Society of America Journal, I was invited to be present at the grand opening of the Kodak exhibit at EPCOT at Disneyworld in Orlando. I remember flying through the clouds (at Kodak's expense) and thinking that I had finally arrived (figuratively, not literally): I had a job in my chosen field, I had a title, I was "being flown" to Orlando. A year later I got canned...sort of, but that's a whole other story.

Anyway, by the time I got canned, I was well on my way to being a comic, having done a mountain of open mikes and gone on a few out-of-town gigs when my "position" would allow it. I half-heartedly sent out a few resumes and went on an interview or two, but I eventually faced the reality: I was going to be a comic.

But I wasn't really sure that I was a real comic until I flew to a gig. Once again, jet travel legitimized my enterprise. I remember my third time in the air very keenly. It was January 28, 1986. I had managed to secure five weeks of bookings with the Punchline chain. The first three weeks of which were at Atlanta, Greenville, SC, and Columbia, SC. The reason I can remember the date is because it wasn't just a memorable day in my life, but a memorable day in the lives of millions of Americans. As we were making our descent into Greenville/ Spartanburg, the captain addressed us via the intercom. He used poor judgement by prefacing his statement with the words "We have some bad news..." (NOT what you want to hear from the captain!) He went on to say that the space shuttle, which had just taken off from Cape Canaveral, had some sort of difficulty. He said he'd keep us posted. A minute or two later, he came back on with the confirmation that all on board the Challenger had perished.

Fourteen years, and several hundred thousand air miles later, I am still a comic and I still hate turbulence. HOME Back to the Top