My daughter bought me an aircraft carrier last week.
It was a plastic version, complete with an elevator, hangar bay, and two aircraft (with pilots). The fact that she has played with it ever since had nothing – I’m sure – to do with the purchase.
She did it because she loves her Navy daddy.
When I DID play with it, which was right after we pulled it out of the box, I tried to explain how Flight Deck Control determines where the aircraft are spotted, and the pattern that returning planes follow when coming in for a trap. I could tell she was not listening, but I continued because it was important that she learned. I mean, if she ever wants to be a Naval Officer some day – in about 18 years – she is going to have to know this stuff.
The real trouble started when I tried to lower an airplane to the hangar bay on the elevator. My daughter shrieked, “No, Daddy! That’s where the princess lives!”
“But that’s where the airplanes live,” I protested. Clearly she had not been listening to my lecture on aircraft movement.
When I looked into the hangar bay, I found this:
She was right. A princess (or other creature with fairy wings) had moved in. Concerned that I was losing control of my ship, I switched my efforts to the bridge. I used to stand bridge watch on a carrier. The bridge is in my comfort zone.
And there, manning the wheel, was Snow White.
Snow White had taken control of the ship. The pilot on vulture’s row didn’t seem too pleased with the situation either.
Then she grounded all the aircraft.
Snow White breaking the news to the pilot
Before long, I had a full blown mutiny on my hands.
When confronted with a crisis, you can fight or you can run. I had over a quarter century of naval experience under my belt, and more sea time than my daughter has earth time. I knew carrier operations. I knew the bridge. She wasn’t even in my league.
So I confronted her. I took control. I exerted my position in the family chain of command.
When the dust settled from the counter-mutiny, the princess was still in the hangar bay, the aircraft were still stuck on deck, and Snow White was sitting in the Captain’s chair. I have not been allowed to touch the ship since.
Maybe she WILL be a Naval Officer some day.