This weekend we caught up with my friend Rad — Radicchio R. Peggio, Jr. — the only acknowledged offspring of his philandering father of the same name, who made his fortune in the post-WW2 airline industry. He created Air Hellair, which flew both passenger and cargo planes from his base in northern Great Britain to Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland, and eventually the then-Soviet Union, before he sold out to Aer Lingus of Ireland.
Like his father, Raddy is a ladies’ man who always has a scheme in the works, but unlike his dad, he never seems to bring it off. When I ask him what he’s dabbling in lately, he shows me an article in the New York Times I hadn’t seen yet.
It seems there’s this successful effort to dress up a small airplane so that it looks like a female whooping crane. Young cranes, fooled by the appearance (no, these bird brains are not the smartest creatures in nature) follow the plane and in so doing, re-create a migratory pattern to Florida that experts hope will lead to repopulating their native turf.
“Of course you see the financial ramifications of this practice,” he says.
Um, no, Raddy. Not at all. Do whooping cranes have disposable income?
Raddy sighs the sign of noblesse oblige, and gives me the pitying look .
“This is not about whooping cranes, my friend. This is about the capacity for leadership. I am here in Broward County for 2 years now, and I see the hostility toward French Canadians. Suppose I were to reach out to my late father’s contacts in the aerodynamic industry and ask them to design for me a plane like this that inspired French Canadians to follow like whooping cranes? These speedo-clad people I see on the beach, driving like drunks, and leaving no tips at restaurants are not nearly as smart as birds. They would follow the leader wherever we sent them — back to Canada, into the ocean, away from here. Which, as I understand it, is what south Florida wants.”
Gosh, Raddy. Here just two years and you’ve already developed the worst xenophobic instincts of south Floridians. I’m impressed.
“From here it’s a simple matter to sell the concept to border states concerned about Mexicans,” he says. “We fly the plane, the Mexicans start to follow, and pretty soon they’re either back over the border or in Federal custody, wherever they’re led. Brilliant, yes?”
Raddy, people are smarter than birds. Their instincts are different. What airplane design do you think would make human beings follow blindly like whooping cranes?
Raddy laughs for a full minute. “You are so disconnected from your own culture, my friend. We will try different models in separate parts of the country, but first up are planes resembling Lady Gaga, Tim Tebow, and Newt Gingrich. Americans and their culture and are very fluid, so the design will change. Just follow the trends. This is as simple as reading E-Magazine.”
Raddy, you’re an evil man.
“No,” he says, with a genuine note of sadness. “I’ve just lived in Florida too long.”