The Icarus Syndrome

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

It was early in the last Century, Count von Zeppelin assured us that his airship would revolutionize air travel.  The Germans used Zeppelins to bomb England during the first world war, then everyone wanted one. The Brits built them and America too and almost every example ever built either crashed or was destroyed. So, when the Hindenburg neared the mooring mast in Lakehurst, it was the end of the line. A visionary with a vision but with a vision that was wrong. An airship to fly must be light as a feather being light as a feather is also it’s weakness. The fatal flaw in bad weather is a feather in the wind.

A new Century excited about aviation and everyone wanting to be the next Henry Ford of the air. There is a disease which affects people who have acquired great wealth. I call it the Icarus Syndrome. (Capitalist Putrification) Henry Ford built a big plantation down South America way and was going to teach rubber trees how to grow on command. Ford had to control every aspect of his empire right down to the rubber plants. Couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to try and dominate the rubber market as well, because he was Henry Ford. By God if Henry said, “Grow!” you grow! He was a big shot, the richest man in the world. He genuinely believed that somehow his opinions were more important because of the number of zeros in his bank account, but the rubber trees weren’t impressed.

I grew up with the Space program and as a boy was rocket crazy. Model rockets, match rockets and water rockets. I was a boy playing in the back yard and never for a moment tried to convince myself that I was aiding NASA in their flight research. I was a kid playing with toys and maybe if I grew up to be the richest man in the world. I could build an even bigger model rocket to launch in my even bigger back yard. They’re changing the world with this uber important vanity space program. Someday any plain old millionaire can fly into space and masturbate in zero G in their very own space rocket. By recreating that first flight of Alan Shepard the world’s richest man has proven that a rocket fired straight up into the air will come straight back down. Proving conclusively the flight of Alan Shepard was genuine and no fluke.

Howard Hughes flew aircraft, Carnegie built libraires and Seiberling built universities and Rockefeller gave away dimes. The millionaires back in the day sailed on private yachts and drove Duesenberg’s. They toured Europe attending dreadful champagne parties in palaces. Today’s billionaire on the go needs a mega yacht with a helicopter pad and a submarine with a flying jet ski and stealth capability. “Daddy! I want a space rocket too!” Not for vanity purposes mind you, but just because they want to give NASA a helping hand. Sounds like fun, but don’t try and tell people that what you are doing is important. Any more than the Tilt-a-whirl on the boardwalk in Atlantic City is important for gravity research.

This is a toy and the world’s richest man is playing with toys trying to convince us this is valuable research. “Okay mom, I’ll be in in a minute. I’m launching to help NASA out, to see if the gravity is still working. Then after I finish my homework, I’ll get out my microscope and help Jonas Salk or do some radio research for Mr. Marconi. Just admit it. The world’s richest man just bought the world’s biggest Halloween costume and the world’s most expensive mid-life crisis. He could have bought a motorcycle or a corvette like everyone else, but no. He had to build a space rocket, chicks dig guys with space rockets. Wanna go for a ride in my corvette?

This is Commander Bezos to Star Fleet Command over. If I were a billionaire, I might want to build a rocket too or maybe jump the Snake River Canyon to assist in motorcycle research. It sounds like fun, but I’d be afraid that I might look like a bit of a self-centered ass.  Building my own personal tower of Babbel and allowing guests willing to pay the price to see what God really looks like. “Look at me! I’m flying! Write that down for the research paper!” The boy child Icarus next plans to duplicate the flight of John Glenn in Friendship 7. Which was America’s first orbital flight, but careful Icarus. It looks like it’s going to be a warm day.

The world’s richest man presides over an empire where paramedics wait in his warehouse parking lots. Where delivery drivers defecate in bags because they don’t have the time to stop. The richest man in the world pays no Federal Income tax. He fights to keep his workers wages low as a part of his research into Neo-Feudalism. Henry Ford discovered that by paying higher wages he got his pick of the workers. The workers with more money in their pockets could buy more Fords. Ford didn’t plan it that way it just worked out that way. Jeff Bezos hasn’t figured that out; he’s too busy playing with his toys. There are men and there are great men and then there are men who are neither great nor men. Self-obsessed greedy little boys grubbing coins, stealing lunch money, and proclaiming their cleverness. While rubbing the world’s face in shit trying to make us think that they are gods.

“How many men ever went to a barbecue and would let one man take off the table what’s intended for 9/10ths of the people to eat. The only way you’ll ever be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub he ain’t got no business with.”  – Huey Long

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