I COULD DRONE ON AND ON AND ON AND ON…..
So Amazon is trying to fly the drone’s nose under the proverbial tent flap. Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder, has declared that the technology is available for Amazon to deliver products using their own drones. All Amazon needs are a few thousand legal permits, FAA approval, heavy insurance liability coverage, a fleet of drones and customers desperate enough to pay a steep premium to have goods delivered even faster than overnight.
Hey, Bezos has created a multi billion juggernaut in less than two decades, so, it all sounds good to me. Heck, he even recently bought the Washington Post! (And I don’t mean at his local news stand.)
I’m even willing, for a hefty fee, to help Amazon’s marketing efforts. I believe they need to show how history itself could have been changed if drone deliveries had been available “back in the day”.
TOWN OF MARATHON, GREECE – SEPTEMBER 18, 490BC:
The forward sentry was looking for Pheidippides a fellow soldier known for his running skills. The sentry found his way into a dusty tent near the river. The walls of the tent were adorned with Helen of Troy posters. Pheidippides was sitting at a table fashioned out of a slab of wood resting on two Grecian urns. The slab was cluttered with tiny whirligigs, springs and assorted crude tools.
“Pheidippides, is that you?”
The young man at the desk warily looked at the intruder.
“And, if I am?” he replied.
“The General needs you to do him a favor.”
Pheidippides stiffened. In his experience requests from generals were usually a pain. The sentry continued.
“We’ve won the battle of Marathon and we must let our allies in Sparta know the results.”
“So, you expect me to run to Sparta?”
The sentry nodded.
“Sparta.” Pheidippides mulled, “No way, that’s, like what, 26 miles and 385 yards away?”
The sentry persisted, “But, you are Pheidippides, fleet of foot.”
“Yeah, well, I haven’t run that far in, let’s see, about four years. I’m so out of shape I’d probably drop dead when I reach Sparta.”
Pheidippides stood up, a surprising paunch billowing his tunic, and waddled over to another work area where he uncovered a strange looking contraption.
“What’s that?” the sentry asked eyeing what looked like a featherless bird.
“My newest invention,” crowed Pheidippides “ I call it the Dronatasis. I’ll just write the message on some papyrus and this will fly it on the wind to Sparta.”
At that moment a courier delivered a huge basket filled with food from Pheidippides’ mother, Philomena Pheidippides. In truth he was a momma’s boy and she had been sending him sheets of baklava, bags of stuffed grape leaves and olives filled with ham ever since he’d been deployed to the front.
Pheidippides’ reputation as a gourmand and his renown for “putting it away” even brought him challenges from other well fed soldiers anxious to share in his bounty.
And, that it how instead of being honored as the “Father of the Olympic Marathon”, Pheidippides became known as the “Father of the Marathon Eating Contest.”
LITTLE BIG HORN, MONTANA – JUNE 26, 1876:
Lieutenant Colonel George Custer sat ramrod straight on his trusty steed. A picture of military macho except for the fact that he was twirling his finger in one of his long blond curls as he scanned the horizon. The Lieutenant was a bit testy. Three days out in the blazing Montana sun and not an Indian in sight. For this, his parents had shelled out for military school? Fey! Would have been better off apprenticing as a blacksmith like his Uncle Festus told him to do. Oh, well.
Suddenly Custer’s acute hearing, honed from years of eavesdropping on the troops back at the barracks to try and find out who kept writing, “Custer dyes his hair.” on the latrine walls, picks up a strange buzzing noise. Warily, his finger stops twirling as he spies a remarkable object which he first believes to be a small seagull even though he is 1,770 miles from any ocean. Mind you, this fellow did finish dead last in his West Point graduating Class of 1862. The astonishing apparition spun to a halt gently landing near his horses’ front hoof. Cautiously dismounting, the fearless leader tiptoed towards the now inert object which looked like a box with wings. To his astonishment the package was addressed to him: Lieutenant Colonel George Custer – 7th Regiment Cavalry, with the ominous instructions, “Open Immediately”.
So, open it he did and discovered a powerful pair of binoculars with a note attached: “Use these now! Reports from scouts say there are Indians at 9:00 o’clock, Indians at 12:00 o’clock and, yes, Indians at 3:00 o’clock. You are running out of time”.
The astonished Custer turned his regiment around and returned to the fort where he continued to incompetently command his crew of miscreants and vagabonds for another decade. Their shenanigans were much later immortalized on the television series “F Troop”.
CUMBERLAND, RHODE ISLAND – APRIL 8, 2015:
Well, I’m perilously close to my deadline for submitting this article for publication. Too late to mail, so I’ll use my own home built drone to send it. I’m having some problems with the drone’s latitude and longitude microchip, so, if it should smash through the windshield of your SUV on Westminster Street, PLEASE, deliver it to: Providence Journal, 75 Fountain Street, Attention: Editorials.
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