Picking The 3 Best (And Last) Of The Idle Thoughts

I had a full day last Friday and then a late flight home, but I was looking forward to seeing what Terry Maxon published for his last 3 idle thoughts.  They would likely be the last ones we’ll see as he has retired from a spectacular career on the aviation beat for the Dallas Morning News.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve relied on Terry to find out what was really going on with so many different situations.  He covered American Airlines in great detail, something I always have a keen interest in.  He also had a way of adding a special brand of wit to stories others might find mundane.

Doug Parker, the CEO of American, even tried to give him props by trying to come up with his own “3 idle thoughts” during their last earnings call.  It’s still one of my favorite lines ever to come from Doug:

“This ‘idle thoughts’ thing is a lot harder than Terry makes it look.”

Terry’s comparison of livestock and airline executives is also one of my favorites:

2. It occurs to me, having grown up on a dairy farm, that milking cows and covering a beat are a lot alike. You have to extract stuff out of annoyed beings that would rather not have you bothering them, and do it in such a way that they’ll let you extract more stuff out of them the next time.

When I finally got the chance to go over his last entry in the journalism world, I had to chuckle when I discovered it was 30 idle thoughts.  They were all worthy of a “3 idle thoughts” column, so I had a tough time picking out my 3 favorites.  But, here they are:

14. I still plan to go outside most nights at about 11 p.m. and watch the Qantas Airways Airbus A380 rumble over my house on its way to Sydney, Australia.

21. I’ve always wondered how the airlines knew when my birthday and wedding anniversary were, so that they could schedule major events to disrupt my life.

27. I wonder if the government might eventually have to step in and set minimum comfort standards for seating in airplanes. The leg room and elbow room in a lot of economy/coach sections are becoming close to unacceptable, but airlines are making them even tighter.

On that last one, I sure hope not.  I want more room and comfort like all fliers.  I just think our government is ill-equipped to define that.

So, there you have it.  Terry Maxon retires as a writer with a style you don’t see from many new faces in journalism.  It’s not that “new” journalists have gotten stale.  To some degree, the content in the aviation space has, as the cowboys of the industry retired from their own self-made version of the wild west.  I don’t think it’s just the material that made Terry a special writer.  Intelligent writers still exist in the aviation space, and at the Dallas Morning News.  But, Terry retiring is another piece of an era gone by.

I’ll certainly miss reading what he has to say, but it’s good to know he’ll still be looking up at the sky keen on the next chapter of aviation.

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