George’s Flight -- or Plight
George mused at how tiny the cars and buses below were and how they looked like ants milling about. As he got closer, he saw people walking, jogging, riding bikes, and going about their lives completely unaware of what was about to happen.
George was an avid reader, particularly of Greek mythology, and had become so fascinated by the tales he began enacting them, trying to emulate them in every way.
He read the story of Hercules and how Atlas tricked him into carrying the burden of the world on his shoulders. Hercules quickly tricked Atlas to take it back on his and escaped the task. George pondered the story and began bodybuilding. He added muscle, toned his body, lifted weights so that he may relieve Atlas had he ever been asked to help hold the world on his shoulders.
He read the story of Atlanta, the fastest woman on earth. Atlanta boasted that no man could ever catch her. She was so cocky she said that if any man ever beat her in a race she would marry him. Melonian heard her boast and prayed that he be able to beat her. His prayers were answered by Aphrodite and he was given apples and dropped them during the race. Atlanta could not resist stopping to pick them up, so he won the race. George took up jogging, and then moved to sprinting, so if Atlanta happened to cross his path he would challenge her to a race and be able to beat her, without the trickery of Aphrodite’s apples and she would then have to marry him.
He read the story of Daedalus, who could build anything. He once built a pair of wings for his son, Icarus, so that he could fly away and escape from Crete, the island where he was being held hostage. Daedalus warned Icarus to not fly near the sun or his wings would melt and not over the ocean or he might drown. George studied the design of the wings and analyzed the warnings given Icarus and decided to give it a go himself.
George investigated which shape of wings and type of feathers would give the most lift. He sought out the most heat resilient wax available so that his wings would not melt and lose the feathers. He found the highest building, in the city, located furthest from any body of water so he would not drown. He built the wings, took them to the top of the building, and put them on for a test flight…then jumped off the roof and spread his wings.
He plummeted; straight down, toward the ground, flapping his wings but not achieving any lift whatsoever. As he fell, and flapped, he watched as the ground grew closer, as the cars and buses milled about. He watched the people grow larger as they went about their normal activities, unaware that he was hurdling toward them. He watched, and wondered what had gone wrong, why was he not able to fly as Icarus had done in the tale?
Moral: Sometimes, no matter how much research is done, no matter how many improvements are made, no matter how much preparation time is put in, if care is not taken to ascertain the practicality of the original premise you are certain to fail, regardless of how much analysis is done.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.