What PIs Do
August 29, 2009
I am reading a cool-ass novel right now called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living”, by Michael Dahlie, that was a PEN Hemingway award winner (whatever the fuck that is). One of the minor characters in the book trained as a bush pilot in Alaska, and then over time built his own bush flight operation in Africa with multiple planes and pilots. I really like this description of the dude:
Prentice’s whole pursuit of aviation actually seemed largely intellectual, as though landing in a narrow lake two hundred miles north of Juneau were a kind of thought problem as much as it was an act of physical bravado. It was something like assembling a radio, although the variables and stakes and the physical challenges made the puzzle much more complex and much more fascinating.
This kind of technician’s outlook seemed to carry on throughout his career. Prentice began running his own cargo operations, and hiring his own pilots to deliver shipments in war-torn jungles and budding dictatorships all across Africa, approaching it all with that same mathematical outlook–he took a great deal of satisfaction from manipulating the course and destination of people and machines through very complex environments toward a specific and measurable goal.
The book as a whole is actually totally fucking hilarious.