The place to come to wag more and bark less...


Friday, August 18, 2017

One Arm is Better Than Three

Two Prehensile Thumbs are Ideal – Three Would Be Overkill

As a one armed man living in a largely two-armed world, I find I regularly receive certain kinds of aid and comfort from strangers.

If those strangers who went out of their way to help me say, run ahead and hold a door open, or reach out to help me pick up something or hold it securely while I still had two arms, I might think I was being assaulted.

If I were to respond in kind to such a person, who was really only trying to help, a fistfight might ensue. While I’m not a violent person, I might naturally feel the need to defend myself from a physical attack.

It’s been five years to the day since I lost the use of my left arm. Often, people have asked me if I miss having both arms and my usual response is “If it came back tomorrow, it’d just be in the way. I’ve already adapted to life without it.”

So profound. But it’s true. And, most of the time it’s quite a point of humor. For example, when anyone asks “How are you?” if I’m feeling clever that day, I might reply “I’m all right, thanks.” Most of the time, people never get the joke.      

Still, I pondered this notion of my apparent need for extra help “extra help” for the sole reason I possess one arm. Then, for some reason, I wondered if strangers might also feel the same need to assist me if I had an extra arm or leg or digit or whatever.

My conclusion is that all of their same questions and statements would likely apply:
“Don’t you sometimes miss having both arms, or legs, etc.?” And “It’d be awful tough for me to do that. I don’t know if I could.”

Of course it’s tough to do but, as anyone who has lost a body part can attest, our minds are as adaptable as our bodies and, if we wish, re-defining our concept of “normal” is only, well, normal.

As an amputee for only four years, I spent a year with a dead arm in the hope that my severed nerve would regenerate into a healthy one again. This put me in the unique position of having plenty of time to contemplate life forever with just one arm. Provided, of course, that I don’t lose the other one, or an arm or leg or whatever later on.

Without knowing any statistics about this but having heard lots of anecdotal evidence, my understanding is that most people who lose a limb do so in some violent and/or traumatic fashion. As such, the limb loss is immediate and final.

Very few people experience their injury the way I have, I believe. And, despite the violent trauma associated with my own limb loss, I never believed I could get my arm back anyway.

It due to wasn’t futility, frustration, or do to some weird twist of fate, just my intuition. I might as well say that “a little birdie told me.”

Nonetheless, I saw my limb loss as immediate as any, though it’s presence as a remaining part of my body made it seem less final.

My conclusion then is that anyone who wonders how those of us with limb loss manages, it would be just as constructive to respond by saying “Imagine if you had an extra arm or leg or whatever. You’d probably find it’d only be in the way, right? Well, that’s how I’d feel if I had my arm/and or leg back again.”

One of my heroes, a world-class athlete named Hector Picard, survives and thrives quite well despite his quadruple limb loss, thank you very much.

He’s rightly an inspiration to all of us. However, I think he wholeheartedly exemplifies the physical power we all have to thrive in this world as he does.

The only remaining question is if we have the mind power to do so. Do I think I could? I don’t know, but I might be inclined to ask him, but only after asking him how long it first took him to change a tire tube on his road bike.

As a fellow amputee, I think I might have more reason to do so, if only out of a sense of common experience.

How about you? Would you have the mind power to do it? Think about it. I bet you’d be surprised at the honest answer.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Power of Introversion

Power of Introversion
I am an introvert, and that’s OK.

It’s a statement that’s powerful, at least powerful for me. It’s one that I’ve had trouble saying, I think because of all the trouble they believed that it’s caused me.

But it’s not been a trouble at all, it’s just been miss identified and, on the harshest terms, held against me as long as I can recall.

Among the first examples of this, of course, involve my family. Being raised by parents I now understand that as being extroverts, are extroverts, My introversion was both unfortunate and unappreciated. This sad fact is something I am braced, for I looked up to my parents and seeing their sense of failure in me, I saw failure in me, too.

On in on this went, with my introversion always winning out because it’s my true nature. As A first and only child for seven  years, I was celebrated as my parents hope for the future of their legacy. I received more than my share of adulation and attention as the keeper of the DNA, The young man who would grow up and out of his humble beginning’s to become the next NFL quarterback, Rhodes scholar, or American President.

This, quite frankly, put a hell of a lot of stress on me as I believe it would for any child. But not all children are the same four, unlike me, they are born extroverts. They both aspire and, later, hunger to attain such lofty goals.

When born to parents of extroverts, these traits are so desirable that anything less is unwelcome. This is understandableparticularly in my childhood family.

My parents undoubtedly wondered if I weren’t “touched,” I E “slow, retarded, or artistic.”

Raised by parents with elementary education teaching degrees, they often thought on a similarly elementary level.

Ironically, my introversion let me to a much greater world inside, for being (Miss) taken as “slow,” somehow. Was it the inherent notion that my thinking was dangerous, that it caused trouble.

I looked less upon myself as an introvert and more as a heretic, a pariah. Further confounding my developing self perception was my way above average vocabulary and aptitude for English skills.

This led to my development of a rich in her life, One that went far beyond that which most of my peers my parents and family, let alone my peers would ever have. Unfortunately, it also underscored my developing self understanding that my thoughts were dangerous.

How long can someone ask questions of his or her parents that The first don’t understand, and then are unable to answer? How long until parents are first confused at the child’s questions, then aggravated and openly hostile toward them, culminating into A deep-routed suspicion?

Having at least one introspective parent would go a long way toward understanding a child like me, and two introspective parents would likely assure it.

However, the shy nature many introspective kids adopt and then carry into adulthood virtually assure that such two such people would be unlikely to “make the first move” toward another person. Though I’ve never been attracted to another introvert as far as I know, I imagine that if I did recognize such a person I’d feel far less inhibited to do so.

Perhaps this is because I’ve also learned along the way that people who don’t understand me – extroverts – our people to be wary of. Unfortunately, I’m certain I’m not alone in being what author Susan Cain referred to in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking as a “pseudo-extrovert.” That is, an introvert who has learned to function in society that favors extroversion above all.

Being a “good team player” is both admired and encouraged, and the inability to do so leads to ostracism, poor academic and athletic tendencies in group situations, and out right shaming in the most severe cases.

Unfortunately, as the celebrated first child who went through those stages of first stymieing my parents with “unusual” questions, then inspiring there aggravation, anger and suspicion, I developed a pseudo-extroverted family identity as a sheer survival mechanism.

In fact, I adopted a pseudo-extroverted personality to survive the entirety of my world. Until reading Susan’s book, I could not articulate myself as being out of place. Rather, I simply thought of myself as a “social chameleon.”

Though this definition is accurate, it does little to help me understand my place in the world. But I know realize that putting a name to my greatest trait has empowered me in previously unimaginable ways.

Hence my proud declaration at the beginning of this article: “I am an introvert and that’s OK.”

Susan Cain illustrates this through many examples in Quiet, from Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, to Vincent Van Gogh.

Such a revelation empowers any introvert to rise above a lifetime of being and feeling misunderstood to first find, then follow the path they were meant to take all along. This is the only way they’ll achieve more than ever thought possible.

Though I could go on at length about this subject, what I’ve written here is plenty. It is a revelation that carries with it implications I’ll now need to process in order to gradually incorporate into my life.

Only then will I be able to capably and unabashedly apply them to my world.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Upcoming Book-Perils of Traveling Solo and Disabled

In Fall, 2017 I will release my new book and my travels as a disabled man, traveling with only my service dog, Sophie. There are many pitfalls and drawbacks to solo travel for anyone, but those faced by a disabled person may carry more unique complications, not to mention outright physical and financial dangers. Despite the situations I've faced, however, I emphasize that this book is not meant to dissuade you, the would-be traveler, but to enlighten you.

Having been brutalized in the desert by a federal officer who disregarded my disability and injured both my service dog and I, I have firsthand knowledge of this.

He separated us by arresting me and impounding my service dog then, to top it off, charged me with the crime he committed.

Upon being jailed, I was notified my service dog was to be put to sleep if I didn’t plead guilty so I could get out and save her life.

The nightmare is not over yet. Having plead guilty to something I didn’t do, a federal probation officer has become part of my life.

The police reports were faked to reflect the officer’s claim I assaulted him, as were many other facts about the case. I was made to look like the bad guy to the extent that the probation officer acts afraid of both my dog and of me.

She is indifferent at best, with a questionably nice but suspect personality that'd mak her equally complicit in her fellow officer’s crime if she's not, in fact, acting genuinely. And I hope not, for she'd become, to me, a smiling face on her otherwise reprehensible and cowardly colleague one state away.

As an obviously and visibly disabled man in my 50s, I am an easy mark for any opportunistic person intent on causing trouble.

Though I wouldn’t have expected this trouble to arrive in the form of a trigger-happy young law enforcement officer, I’m sure I’m not the first to encounter this sort of brutality.

The niche I am choosing here is directed to disabled travelers going it alone, of course. But it will also be written for concerned loved ones who stay behind and are unable or unwilling to join the solo traveler.

This content will provide them a level of comfort in knowing that their loved one is informed of the dangers and has options in the event of emergency.

Accepting the notion that just because you are disabled in some way does not preclude you from being a target of unscrupulous people is wise.

This does not imply you must travel with a sense of distrust of those around you. Often, just using your best judgment is sufficient in sizing up any situation.

In my case, with the violent federal agent, I did not have a Plan B. The crisis that suddenly arose in my life took me by surprise, and a criminal with a badge perpetrated his act on me and my innocent service dog with impunity.

I used my best judgment at the time and did not wish to have my unfortunate situation occur. However, I did not anticipate such a situation, either. If I had, chances are I would have been able to right this wrong, or at least minimize its physically damaging outcome.

The unfortunate irony is that a person who assaulted my dog and I walks free today while the two of us are confined to one area referred to as a “judicial district” for the balance of a year’s “supervised release.” It’s the legal term for the sentence I was given for a crime I did not commit.

Others might be able to avoid this wrongdoing, and my research of case studies and related statistics, like accidents, crime statistics and hospital/ER experiences will allow me to present reasons why.

My upcoming narrative will describe ways to avoid such situations, and how to handle them if they do. My hope is that, in seeing it once before, in print, you are less likely to be ambushed as we were.

I believe sharing my experience is not only cathartic, but a responsibility as well. I look forward to offering this to you.


August 14, 2017

  • Richard Moreno and Sophie 🐾, the most loving teammate and travel companion through life I could ever hope to have.






 



Friday, August 11, 2017

Sophie, my Beautiful Gibraltar

Many times I have said that I could go on and on about what Sophie means to me. Tonight, following a particularly stressful day after an intrusively probing interview yesterday with a probation officer from Denver, I will do just that.

First, to specify, the only reason I am meeting a probation officer is due to a violent crime committed against Sophie and I in the Arizona desert six months ago.

A trigger-happy federal officer, a young psychopath armed to the teeth and clearly suffering from a mental deficiency attacked Sophie and I under the premise that I did not have her on a leash.

As an amputee carrying a water bottle and T-shirt with my only hand, insisting I hold a leash was not only dangerous given the rocky, sandy trail we were on, but unreasonable, too.

After Sophie cued me that I was in danger, something she is trained to do, I turned and began running away, desperately searching for safety.

The officer chased me through the deserted campground, tackled me and, while kneeling on my back as I lay on the rocks, he pepper sprayed my Sophie. Sophie is my seizure dog and, seeing that I was down on the ground, she was approaching me to stand by me and make sure I was OK and safe. It’s what she’s specifically trained to do.

I was dragged by this young man across the sand, my legs cut and bleeding from sharp, half-buried rocks. Laying face-down in the sand, the officer stood above me and deployed to his Taser in the middle of my back.

It was the last time I saw Sophie for a week while I was incarcerated in Flagstaff jail, charged with assaulting this officer who had beat up Sophie and I as well.

The last I knew of Sophie she was confused about what was happening and in agony with the chemicals burning her eyes.

While in the jail, I was presented the ultimatum of deciding between pleading not guilty for a crime I did not commit or face Sophie being euthanized at the animal control shelter.

The cops involved were all complicit in covering up an assault on a disabled man and his service dog. They had no conscience, and rightly banked on me pleading guilty so I’d be released to save Sophie.

It was a reprehensible act, supported by the court system which always sides with the cop’s version of events. And all any cop has to say is “I was in fear for my safety,” and they gain automatic immunity for their crimes.

Cops are well aware of this and, as in our case, an unscrupulous cop will seek protection from their actions by uttering this one, simple phrase.

Naturally, I didn’t think twice about saying whatever I needed to say to be released so Sophie and I would be reunited again. I plead guilty.

Horrible stories about my conduct were concocted by this officer and his cronies at the sheriffs department. These were widely circulated, from the magistrate to the probation lady and everyone in between.

This cowardly officer, of course, also claimed to be in fear for his safety because of my physical threats and actions and that he was attacked by Sophie as well.

The young federal officer even went so far as to intimidate the only two witnesses there who possibly could see what happened. Though they were at least 100 yards away, the report from one of them said I was “a nut case for sure.”

This, despite having had a pleasant conversation with them the previous evening.

This couple, probably in their mid-to late 60s, were “campground hosts,” people commonly found on public land campgrounds whose job consisted of monitoring campers.

Their safety was, in large part, in the hands of the federal officer. If they didn’t play ball and cooperate with whatever he told them to do, he could look the other way or fail to show up if ever they found themselves in danger.

Given some of the sketchy-looking people at that campground, I would imagine that they’d need some sense of protection from such people.

The officer who assaulted Sophie and I provided that protection – and also had the power to deny it. The older campground hosts had little choice but to comply with his fictional statement in their police report.

For all I know, those fictional police reports weren’t even written in the presence of that older couple, but concocted in the squad car or station house long after the fact.

Just like the violent assault the officer committed on Sophie and I, there would be no witnesses to prove his behavior otherwise. Hell, I might as well have been charged with murder or arson or who-knows-what-else he could think of.

Given the awful and reprehensible and outright intimidating things this officer said to me during his attack, it’s obvious that bullying people is his MO.

Plus, anything the older couple saw him do to Sophie and I is something they realize he could do to them as well and never be punished. In this manner, the officer bullied them, too.

The officer is not that bright – how bright must you be to assault a disabled man and his gentle service dog? – and any transparency he may have thought he had was a mistake.

This man’s assault on us, which he then turned around on me, led to the court’s determination that I needed followup mental therapy by probation authorities, therapy I’d scheduled long before this awful attack happened.

On paper, it was put forth that I was a lunatic and the magistrate bought every word of it. So did the probation officer in Denver. These federal people stick up for each other, and anything less is tantamount to a betrayal of one to another.

Ever since that time, the Denver probation officer also buys into this fictional story about me being a crazy person, a nut job, and has had her nose up in my business about it ever since.

The indignity of this violent crime Sophie and I endured continues still. Each interaction with this federal probation officer triggers the violent experiencing of this crime anew.      

Seems like a lengthy precursor to the story about Sophie and how wonderful she is and how much she means to me, doesn’t it? But that’s the short version.

This evening, I was in a state of bliss. Following a particularly bombastic, day-long display by the elements, which included hail, heavy rain, and lightning, early evening brought a quiet stillness to our neighborhood.

After a quick walk through the cool evening air in search of bunny rabbits, Sophie and I had a perfect time to unwind together.

Given Sophie’s afternoon trauma of dealing with lightning, one of the rare things that frightens her, she was ready to relax by my side.

She accepted my invitation to climb up and lay down next to me on the fold-out bed where I was about to begin writing. My writing is something that calms me, particularly when I am upset about our interactions with people like the probation lady.

However, given the warm feel of my soft and furry best friend in the dark, I postponed my plans indefinitely.

There she sat, first licking my hand and arm, meticulously grooming me as if I were her puppy. I do believe Sophie would have made a great mom dog and though she might be stern at times, her puppies could only benefit from her guidance.

Anybody that had any interaction at all with any of Sophie’s puppies would be a lucky person, indeed. And anyway, the world could always use more great mom dogs, if you know what I mean.

When she was done grooming me, she lay down next to me, her head in the crook of my arm. Because of my years of adapting to using one hand for everything, my wrist and fingers have an unusual ability to flex more than most people’s do.

With her head on my arm, I could rub her ears, which she loves. I could also reach over and massage her paw or rub her nose, both of which she also loves.

It was a special moment, one we rarely share because of her natural inclination to always be on guard. But this evening she made an exception, as if to reward me for calming her for a change, as I did during the lightning storm.

During such storms she trembles, but afterward she always shows me her gratitude. It almost makes me wish we had more lightning storms so that we could share more of these moments.

There we lay on the bed, as she adjusted her head occasionally to find a softer spot to put it. Lately, soft spots aren’t hard to find on me.

All I remember then was how wonderful I felt, and I told her so. I told her how much I love her, how much she means to me, how grateful I am that she chooses to be my friend, how lucky everyone else she comes into contact with is, how beautiful she is and so much more.

I tell her most of these things every single day, but I rarely get the chance to do so while she’s laying here next to me. This evening, I followed up each of my statements with specific examples from today.

Afterward, I spent some time marveling at all of the things we’ve done and gone through together. The violent assault I described above and one other night of violence at another Arizona campground were thankfully unique and isolated examples of mental and physically painful experiences.

Regarding these times, I take responsibility for putting us both in a position of danger. Whether I knew it or not, they ended up being times when Sophie either needed to bail us out or suffer pain, too.

I apologize profusely to her for the danger I created for us and for the hell I’ve put her through as a result. Though I can’t be sure if she remembers these things, I certainly do, and the pain of it hurts each time it crosses my mind. I can never tell her I’m sorry too many times.

Then again, I can never tell her I love her too many times, either. Over and over I tell her, I massage her paw and play with her ears and kiss the top of her head. Sometimes I just look at her face and tell her how beautiful she is.

I marvel at her natural beauty, how she always looks stunningly gorgeous, and how nature can create such a beautiful being, inside and out. I constantly ask her this question, half expecting her to answer me. “Well,” I imagine she’d say, then finish her explanation.

But I never forget to tell her how downright smart she is, and how grateful I am for her ability to communicate with me. I tell her it’s so unfortunate that we humans often refer to our animal counterparts as ”dumb friends."

But an inability to speak as humans do isn’t an accurate indicator of an ability to communicate. Sophie has a vast range of communicative skills, including a verbal vocabulary unequaled by any other dog I’ve met.

In fact, she’s so adept at communicating this way, both in terms of actual sound as well as tone that I often understand what she needs right away.

At other times, she uses body language to indicate a specific need. Usually licking my hand means she needs something, though tonight was special in that grooming my hand and arm is also a gesture of love from her.

Of all her nonverbal messages, her licking my hand out of love for me is my favorite. I consider it the highest compliment she can pay me and I hope she feels the same way when I tell her how much I love her.

See what I mean? I could go on and on and on with specifics about how much I love Sophie, and I am glad I have begun doing so here. There will be much more to come in the future.

Until then, I will consider myself the luckiest person alive just to get to be with her, even as she lies snoring like a freight train in the bedroom..!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MADA-Mutually Assured Destruction Again

"Let's not be hasty-nuclear weapons may destroy a hostile regime, but they will also most assuredly destroy their oil reserves as well. I vote two thumbs down."
- US Secretary of State Rexxon "Rex" Tillerson, from his book The Art of the Steal.

"Attention, Earthlings, now that you all know me, I command you to worship and fear me..."
- US President Donald "never worked a day in my life, bet you can't say that" Trump, from the sequel to his original bestselling book, written by someone else, of course, This Old Fart's Unreal.

Where's my red hat? I've a new platform for the 2018 elections. It's a new twist on an old theme and is inspired by Republicans who have grown weary of the two-party system of American politics. Those wily Republicans are introducing a third party, which they call "Republicans."

That's right, the 2018 elections will consist of Democrats, Republicans and Republicans. Initially the brainchild of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who pitched his idea on an updated version of the 2016 red ball cap with the words Mutually Assured Destruction Again.

It was a terrific, money-saving incentive for the Republicans and, though the idea didn't discriminate against minorities or women it carried the day anyhow. Their campaign rallying cry is "Lock him up!" chanted by thousands of Republican supporters clogging the many campaign rallies nationwide.

The other Republican Party consists of only one person, the current sitting president, Donald Trump. Campaigning as the Know-Nothing Party, he literally knows nothing and is proud of it. He has ditched the red ball cap in favor of a handmade sign he carries with one hand, an image of Russian president Vlad "The Impaler" Putin. Scribbled beneath are the words "Wish You Were Here."

In his other hand, Trump holds a flickering votive candle. His rallying cry is still "Lock her up!" and he occasionally has outbursts of old campaign speeches. "Biggest crowd in history!" he's been heard shouting, and "30,000 missing emails, could be the Chinese, or who knows," and "Get 'im outta here!" even though nobody is actually there.

When asked about his discontinued use of the trademark red ball cap he replied "Those damn hats are for LGBTQs, Republicans, Democrats and everyone else I hate, even those I've not yet met..."


Whew! That's plenty of nonsense for me for one night.

So, just as Donald Trump approaches his legislative responsibilities, I'll come back some other time to finish writing this nonsense-unless, of course, I can get someone to do it for me. Then I'll complain about the job that person did and replace them with somebody else to complain about. Well, a president's work is never done. "McConnell, where are you?"

A nuclear cloud-fueled smoke-and-mirrors show. "Look, Kids! Anything but my tax returns..."

This look back at a description I wrote four months ago of the first four months of the Trump administration empasizes something Americans were just getting an idea of: the seriousness of the culpability of the president and all his men in their deceptive Russian collusion in their bid for the 2016 presidential election.

Now, the world is beginning to realize that the threat of nuclear catastrophe has always been Trump's fallback, in-case-of-emergency-push-red-button diversion from his criminal past. This governing philosophy by the golfer-in-chief apparently is "If I can't win the game, nobody else wins, either."

In only four months’ time, the US has seen the rise of a blindly self-serving autocrat. Some, who rely upon his mere presence to pursue their own interests, kowtow to this man’s whims and placate him with patronizing words.

Despite the seemingly endless ego-stroking on display in DC, all involved compromise whatever sense of decorum they have to achieve their agendas.

The president himself, along with his entourage of sycophants are normalizing a wildly distorted definition of decency, honesty and good faith.

Further, these revised concepts are not subtly introduced, but hammered in like a red-hot rivet and left to cool. If ever our mindset is to be freed of this new mentality, it'd take a considerable paradigm shift for each of us. That, and very likely a blowtorch, too,

Since these norms of honesty and forthrightness are being stretched to a barely recognizable version of their intended meaning, our culture is slowly but surely assimilating them as our “new” normal.

But this is where, as a culture, we're conceding our generally accepted Great American mindset to adapt to the one that's conspicuously absent in the White House today.

The pensive and level-headed diplomat we're used to seeing at press conferences is nowhere to be found.

Instead, we're finding ourselves duped by a master whose only real skill is heavy handedly duping others to do his bidding.

And, my, how accomplished he is, making his administration look productive by signing a multitude of executive orders.

These, however, are merely photo-ops designed for broadcast or publication by reporters in the corporate-controlled media outlets he vilifies as “scum” and mere peddlers of Fake News.

In the face of all evidence to the contrary, the president and his minions, despite their rhetoric espouse a critically flawed agenda that can only end in disaster.

We citizens, who’ll be left to pick up the pieces, will find ourselves united in the sharing of a common trauma, which we'll only survive with the support of each other.

How could we have let this happen?, we'll ask ourselves. More important, we'll (hopefully) wonder how to keep it from happening again.

As a nation, we will emerge scarred and with a tarnished international reputation. But, like the Whitewater, Watergate and Clinton scandals (and many more), we will emerge.

It won't be much, but it'll be all we’ll have to work with at first. Along with the strength that the confidence to overcome brings will, hopefully, come wisdom.

Only then will all Americans be able to take a collective, deep breath and get back to the business of life once again.

This experience has been a horrific violation of our national trust, and it may leave a residue of governmental distrust for the next generation.

But the absence of this autocrat-and the nightmarish energy he carries-will one day be behind us. Not until then will the United States be able to return to its philosophy of governance of the people, by the people and for the people once more.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My, How The Mile High Club Has Fallen

Recycled Airplane Homes – My, How The Mile High Club Has Fallen

This evening as I indulged the online news junkie in me, I viewed a one minute PSA on the subject of “ups cycling” jetliners, making them into livable homes.

The message was sponsored, appropriately enough by the Coors Brewing Co., whose products are typically sold in 12 or 16 ounce cans.

If you can imagine such a can having the ability to think like a motivated person, they might dream of one day becoming the largest, most celebrated tin cans of all. Those that are bestowed with the gift of flight and the ability to travel anywhere-jet aircraft.

The PSA stated that three jetliners are retired every day. It almost gave the impression that these planes are shipped off to some distant place where they’ll take up space forever. But we know damn well they are torn apart and solid for scrap.

But there it was, an overhead shot of one of these planes sitting in the woods, looking for all the world like a crash scene, the kind that claims a “tragic loss of many souls…”

Even the wings were jagged, as if shorn off by treetops and lying hundreds of feet away, engines dangling and still smoldering in the canopy of branches above.

While I love aircraft, seeing one of these retired jetliners situated in a forest, sans wings and outfitted as a working residence, felt downright spooky. But, if I’m to believe this message was no joke, what I was seeing was somebody’s house.

Though this comparison may be way off, I have to say that living in an airplane that looks as if it’s crashed in the forest has about the same appeal to me as eating a barbecued burger made of roadkill. The concept seems sound on paper, but in practice it is gruesome and morbid.

How is it possible, I wonder, to sleep soundly at night in one of these old airframes?

Sleep disruptions would likely be peppered with imagined turbulence that suddenly wakes you in a cold sweat. Or perhaps there’d be mentally draining dreams of eternal flight delays that’ll have turned Terminal A into a purgatory of the damned sitting for hours in uncomfy chairs.

I have trouble believing that passion-filled dreams of the sort that leave you refreshed and maybe even with a sly smile in the morning are anything but a rarity.

And despite my sizable imagination, I think dreams of desperately horny lovers wrestling in the tiny confines of an aircraft lavatory as they join The Mile High Club are to be celebrated for their occasional symbolism “Maybe this means I’ll get laid soon,” I’ll think.

Speaking of, the only viable, positive association any family may have with raising a family in a retired aircraft is to be able to say “Now that you’re old enough, I can tell you Johnny or Janey,” motioning to the tiny WC, “this is just like the one where you were conceived, somewhere over Tulsa, I think. Your father and I used to call it “Cockpit 13.”

Other than this, which is admittedly a stretch, where’s the charm?

Jet aircraft have bathrooms so cramped that crossing your legs and holding it until you arrive seems plausible even if you’re only halfway to Hawaii. And memories of in-flight meals that bring their actual origins and ingredients strongly into question are valid deterrents to anyone’s fond recollections of airplane travels.

How about comfy aircraft chairs with lots of legroom and folding seat trays? Or handy overhead compartments for your carry-ons? How about all the in-flight magazines you could ever read or barf bags you could ever fill conveniently located in the “’seat-back’ in front of you?”

Maybe it’s the sing-song way the flight attendant says “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now beginning our descent into Denver International Airport…” or the questionably slurred speeches from the cockpit.

Or maybe you’re drawn by the PFD-personal flotation device-the use of which is visually demonstrated by the flight attendant prior to takeoff followed by the comforting closing line “…in the event of a water landing.”

Or perhaps it’s sudden screech of a peevish toddler in the seat behind you, which, if I interpret airplane cabin terminology correctly places you in the “seat-front,” aka the geographic opposite of the place where “in-flight mags and folded barf bags” are kept.

Just be glad that same toddler (and it’s quite possibly half-inebriated parent) isn’t seated next to you in “same-seat-right or same-seat-left.”

The only thing worse than hearing the parent’s comforting voice saying to the child “Shh, honey, we’ll be there soon,” and then, to the flight attendant, “I think I will have another rum and soda after all” would be hearing no parent at all.

Of course, you could enjoy the same peace and quiet if you like, too, without coughing up a few bucks or trading your lucidity for some Z’s just by taking the airline up on it’s thoughtful and free earplugs.

In case you are wondering, no, I did not write this aboard an international flight or any other flight for that matter. But of this you can be sure: This article will never find its way onto the pages of any in-flight magazine.

If anything, I’d imagine the rail travel industry having some use for it, though I imagine their seats have -front, -back, -left and -right designations, too. Not to mention peevish toddlers and drunken parents. There are, you know, the sort of things no glossy brochure would dare reveal to any would-be customer.

So, aside from all of these “perks,” what’s the market really like for recycled airplane-homes, and who’d want one anyway?

Simple: Someone with no imagination who has never flown before. Or someone who’s always wanted to start a business aboard one, like a daycare, a brothel or a dental office, to name just a few.

Or maybe an events center for lightweights whose better judgment and/or religious beliefs allow for fun but not too much fun. Say, Mormon bachelor parties.

It’d have the feel of a potentially raunchy, one-last-crack at the singles scene but, instead of strippers and tittie bars there’s Monopoly, Yahtzee, Dominoes and Kool-Aid.

The wildest part of the experience is that the groom picks the flavor without the groom’s knowledge. The plane never flies to Vegas and, except maybe for Going Straight to Jail without Passing Go and collecting $200, nobody gets hurt. Or laid.

On the other end of the spectrum, maybe Chuck E. Cheese or Applebee’s or TGIFriday’s would franchise the idea. It’d come complete with aircraft-inspired food and drink specials: The 747 Margarita, for example, or L-1011 Widebody Wings.

So forget about recycling aircraft info private homes. Commercial aviation has come up with much worse ideas-just ask the guy who thought up the idea for Trump Airlines.

And maybe, just maybe when the cost of Jet Fuel A gets to be too great the flight industry will remain aloft with a fleet of aircraft that no longer flies.

As a vintage video of a jet aircraft flies off into the sunset, the tag line will read “Fly the Friendly Fries of Ubetcha Ground Airlines…”