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Major

Today instead of a McAdventure, I am going to share with you a McStory. As you may have noticed, I enjoy a good story and as the apple doesn't fall far from the tree my father was also one who liked to spin a yarn but, to him it was almost like a fishin' trip. He would tell a story like casting a fishing pole. First he would start telling the story with little effort, just like a flick of his wrist. Then he would slowly reel you in as he told his tale and just as he had you waiting for the end of the story, he would set the hook and surprise you with either a comedic turn or a comic twist that would leave you with a good belly laugh.

It was these stories that I enjoyed the most and growing up my fathers son, I began to try my best to beat him to the punchline of his own stories by guessing the ending or jumping to the conclusion before he would finish. He would just smile and tell me that he "couldn't get anything over on me anymore" but, I knew he was always waiting to catch me unaware. This will be the first thing you need to know before I tell this story.

The second thing you will need to know before I go into my own story… Growing up, I had a best friend who was the ultimate measuring stick. He was the smartest, strongest, and fastest boy in my class. So it was no shock to anyone that after elementary and high school he went on to be a test pilot and officer in the United States Airforce. All that said, his humility has always been his real strength as even beyond all his accomplishments, he would never speak of them unless asked.

So one day, my friend was home visiting and since as kids we were always either at my house or his house, he had stopped by to see my father and catch up with him. Having met over at my parents house the three of us sat down at the kitchen table to share stories and laugh at each other.

My father was appreciative to see my friend and was eager to hear what new stories/adventures he had been active in with his recent work as a test pilot. My friend described the work of a test pilot as almost academic and boring, first listing all the paper work and documentation that took place first before anything happened in the actual airplane.

My father suggested to my friend that his work sounded very similar to that of my own. "Michael tests software at Cummins, and he tells me they have to document all the procedures before they use it." Dad said. "Yes, that sounds pretty similar." my friend agreed. At this point, I thought to myself "Well, maybe similar if you discount the importance of testing military hardware" but, I didn't say anything and just assumed my father was trying to impress upon my friend the importance of his sons work as well.

So my friend went on to then describe the actual testing of the airplanes and the care that was taken with these multimillion dollar airplanes. Again, my father interrupted to tell my friend that his sons work was also very similar to what he did in that the software that is tested is done very carefully and tested against many situations to make sure it will work.

At this point, I was not sure my elderly father quite understood the difference between putting one's life on the line to test pilot an airplane and installing software that may or may not install with error so I interjected. "Dad" I said. "There's a big different between testing software and flying around in an airplane where failure could lead to your death".

It was at this point with a wry smile, and a wink to my friend that my father set his fishing hook and said to me "Son, that why they call you Mike, and they call him Major".

He had been dragging me along the whole time… and he got me.

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Indianapolis, IN, USA

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