Editor’s Note: The following column contains adult subject matter and is for mature audiences only.
Jack was a new and fairly shy pilot for our airline, and right out of the military. At our pre-flight briefing, everyone could tell by his wide-eyed grin that he was looking forward to our international trip.
“It’s my first time to Amsterdam, and I am bringing along my digital video camera to capture the trip. My buddies in the military will get a kick out of it,” Jack said, like a schoolboy getting ready for “Show and Tell.”
“You know you won’t be allowed to film in the Red Light District?” I replied, getting a few laughs.
“Why not?” Jack asked, seemingly discouraged.
“The prostitutes are very picky about that sort of thing. They smash cameras on the ground if they catch you – or so I am told.” A few more laughs and the briefing was over.
The flight was fairly uneventful, and Jack made his rounds while filming everything from the airplane’s interior to the view from 35,000 feet. We got to the hotel, and the crew agreed to meet up after a nap to see the sights of Amsterdam.
We went to the museums, Anne Frank’s House, and then on to the Heineken Brewery for a tour.
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a stroll down the Red Light District. It’s fun, interesting, and quite harmless. The ladies of the night were in their windows and the smell of marijuana smoke lingered in the air.
Jack tried to film a bit, but was told almost immediately by a local to put the camera away or lose it. He was extremely disappointed because that was what he wanted to film the most. I told him he could always film the racy after-hour television programs when he got back to the hotel. As a consolation prize, we went to the sex museum, had a few drinks, and marveled at the people smoking pot out in the open.
We were floored when a couple of the girls on the crew suggested we see a sex show. They had always wanted to but never had the courage. There was confidence in numbers, so we all went and had a good laugh, too. The show was well done, and while I would recommend it only for people with open minds, I also suggest staying out of the first couple of rows– trust me on this.
We boarded the plane the next day, laughing and talking about a great layover.
Unfortunately, we were informed of a three-hour flight delay, so they held off passenger boarding. We all made ourselves comfortable in a first class seat and decided to watch a movie.
On his way to do the customary airplane walk-around inspection, Jack asked, “Do you want to see my layover video?” A resounding yes was returned from a now bored crew. “But you have to be aware that I did film some of an uncensored television movie last night.”
“Oh, please, we went to a sex show together, you can drop the PC crap,” one of the women remarked.
So Jack popped in the videotape, pushed “Play,” and walked off the plane to perform his inspection. We all sat around watching and laughing at the video. Near the end, Jack had placed the camera on a bedside table and filmed a Dutch pornographic movie. After a few minutes everyone started feeling a bit uncomfortable. It wasn’t like the previous night, where we all had a few drinks and were caught up in the moment.
One of the female flight attendants sat up and pointed at the screen. “What is that?”
“If you don’t know, I can’t tell you,” I wisecracked.
“No, not that–that, on the side.” She walked to the screen and pointed at a faint reflection.
The more we looked, the clearer the image became. The reflection was of Jack, and, let’s just say, he was reacting to the movie with his hands full. We were shocked at first, and then came a chuckle or two, progressing to outright hilarity. There wasn’t a dry eye among the crew. The other two pilots came to witness the laughter, and joined in as well. Just as Jack’s reflection was “finishing up,” so to speak, Jack returned from his walk-around. “What’s so funny?”
The crew erupted in roaring laughter. I laughed so hard I think I pulled a groin muscle. Jack’s confused expression merely added fuel to the fire. It took a good 15 minutes for anyone to be able to explain the hilarity to him. When someone finally did, he was unable to look at anyone directly in the eye for the remainder of the flight. He had a permanent blush and never emerged from the cockpit. I think each one of us laughed our way across the Atlantic–all of us, that is, except Jack.
Jack was on his first foreign trip, brand-new pilot with our airline, but became instantly known around the system as “First Officer Whacker.” It’s a name that follows him to this day, but he was recently promoted to “Captain Whacker.”
Flight crews never forget, and I am sure he will take the name into his retirement years. We could give him a break, but never seem to let Captain Jack off–the hook, that is.