June 11, 2009
So who’s seen this movie, this Up? hmm?
What is it about unpowered flight that fascinates us? Is it the silent journey into the heavens, guided only by the gentle breath of God?
Nah. Merely the primal fascination of man seeing what he cannot do, but very much wants to. Ever see how the orangutans at the San Diego Zoo all start masturbating frenetically whenever a butterfly floats by?
You think floating under a balloon is a legitimate form of transportation?
Then why is it every billionaire who attempts a balloon journey, with every technology at his fingertips, ends up hanging off an electrical transfomer 10 miles from the launch pad?! Listen, I’d love to walk to Hawaii some time, that sounds like a real hoot.
Shall I see if Richard Branson wants to come along? Alert the Press?
But maybe you’ve heard of a man named Larry Walters, somewhat of a personal hero around here at the CH3 base camp.
Larry was a truckdriver who took flight on July 2, 1982 in a homemade aircraft. Dubbed Inspiration I, the “flying machine” consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of 16,000 feet (4,900 m) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California into controlled airspace near Long Beach Airport.
That’s right–you’ve heard of him now, right? The lawnchair guy!
Larry took his little flight and that was about it. But his trip captured the dreams of millions and actually inspired a few imitators. Notably, Brazillian Priest Adelir Antonio de Carli who disappeared while re-creating the legendary flight of Larry Walters. Fater de Carli was well prepared and had flotation, GPS and parachute. Body parts found offshore July 4 2008.
These jokers totally missed the point of Larry’s little jaunt. It had nothing to do with daring or the insatiable hunger for adventure. This was a stunt born of boredom, and I’d bet my goddamn last dollar a little alcohol was involved…..
But here’s the real reason Larry Walters is a true American hero: After violating federal airspace, causing an electrical blackout on landing, and being immediately arrested by the Long Beach Police, a reporter asked him the reason for the flight. “Because a man can’t just sit around,” was his reply.
Wha? Because a man can’t just sit around?! Goddamn right brother! That’s gonna be my new motto too! Next time the cops roll around at 3am and ask me why the hell I’m taking a dump on the front steps of the high school, well, ya know what I’m gonna tell ’em!
A man can’t just sit around–duh!
He committed suicide at the age of 44 by shooting himself in the heart in Angeles National Forest in 1993
Larry Walters by CH3
Larry Walters was a man who saw his dream take flight
Have you never been afraid yet told you had to fight?
We all keep dangerous thoughts contained like gasoline
Larry took his bottle of hopes and opened it with his teeth
Take me with you when you fly away from here
Show me the truths that lie just beyond my fears
Larry Walters, how does it feel
When your fantasy becomes real
Larry Walters, is my earth still round?
Larry Walters, don’t you ever come down
I used to sit up on the roof though terrified of heights
I grew to love my neighbor’s dog who growled all through my nights
If only I could fly away and finally touch the truth
I’d shiver in the stratosphere, I’d let go my balloons
I’ve seen your light but I can’t break free of this 9 to 5
Hold the time, it’s terra firma nine to life