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Plane Truth

If there’s a pastime more suited to the loafer than paper airplanes, I’m sure I can’t name it. They have never been, nor are they likely to ever be, cool (hip, fresh, dope, sick, lit, off the chain, off the hook, or Gucci).

It’s also a hobby suited to the loner, or the quiet, studious learner. For one who likes observing, testing, and experimenting, paper airplanes offer a home. For those who like the grey areas of knowledge, who are comfortable in the not knowing, who revel in discovery, who are willing to risk looking silly in pursuit of perfection, paper airplanes welcome you.

The truth about paper airplanes? They are for everyone else but the cool people. The joy found in the perfect crease doesn’t translate to a prom date. Knowing the difference between Coanda and Bernoulli makes for dull party conversation. Knowing which Wright Brother flew first in 1903 (Orville) and which one flew farthest (Wilbur) doesn’t make Friday’s calendar fill up with invitations. It does let you into my world. My club is a widening group of chapters populated by single members. We stand alone, mostly. Sometimes we stand alone, together.

We put aside the by-products of sterile server farms for a while. We feed our brains with the doing of things and the visceral learning attached. We take a barely three-dimensional object (paper) and transform this castaway thing into a flying machine. We co-opt invisible forces to do our bidding. Not long ago, it would be called sorcery. Today it’s just ordinary flight, which is an extraordinary thing.

Here’s to the loafers and the lovers of science. We meet at the intersection of renegade behavior and rollicking science called paper airplanes.


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