How Landing is Like Puppeteering

Landing is like being a puppeteer in charge of the most complex emotions. It’s like trying to orchestrate a person’s smile.

Applying your hands to the correct instrument, curl up the edges of the lips. Voila! A smile.

But remember, the eyes move during the smile, too. To work the eyes, you have to use your feet. Apply your feet to the instrument that controls the eyes.

Now the eyes are smiling alongside the lips —- but be careful! Not too much smile or it becomes obscene. Refine your control of the instruments or you’ll turn that smile into a leer. And be careful you don’t let the edges of the lips fall!

Now keeping the lips up and the eyes smiling, make the nose crinkle a little. But how? Your hands and feet are already fully occupied. That’s ok —– just reach out with your right hand and touch that instrument over there, being sure to maintain your attention on the lips and the eyes. Is that a lot to do at one time? Yes, but that’s how it’s done. Now work the nose into a crinkle, but not too much or it will become a squint. The last thing you want is a squinting leer. And watch out! One side of the lips has fallen.

Now make the ears wiggle a little. But don’t let the lips fall! Wrinkle the forehead a bit. But keep the eyes smiling! Plump up the cheeks. But hold the nose in a crinkle! Flatten out the chin.

What do you mean, your attention is divided? What do you mean, you don’t have enough hands and feet? What do you mean, it’s impossible to tend to every instrument at all times with the perfect degree of finesse?

That’s landing an airplane.