RICH THE PILOT DID THREE VERY NORTHWEST THINGS

Roughly a week and a half ago, someone stole a plane from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, took it for a joyride and crashed into an island in Pierce County. You already know this. It made the news. I think they’re still writing about it in middle Britain. It was a sensational story that was shocking (because whaaa?), sad (because it was essentially a public suicide), and funny (because someone managed to steal a plane from an international airport, do barrel rolls, and said they learned it from video games).

As details came out, the official line on “how to feel” about it was decidedly mixed. Like, public suicide is tragic, but also. . . what a way to go?

One thing is for certain, though: This was definitely the most Northwest thing that happened this month, maybe year. To wit:

1. The Beautiful Sunset

Richard Russell, 29, who hijacked the empty plane, is recorded talking about how beautiful the sunset was. The Northwest has very beautiful sunsets. Even with all the smoke, we are famous for these and are really good at getting a vantage point to see them. It is one of the reasons we have such bad zoning laws; the Northwest is primarily famous for it’s views.

2. The Plane Stealing

From American Anti-Hero DB Cooper to the Barefoot Bandit, stealing planes is a Northwest tradition. Maybe it’s our history of aerospace. Maybe it’s the isolationist, sometimes inspiring, often troubling libertarian streak. But it’s kinda hard to root against some rando who managed to steal a giant artifact of war, technology, and commerce when they aren’t hurting anyone else.

3. The Suicide

The Northwest is a beautiful place that is also famously depressed. It’s one of the things we don’t like to talk about, playing it off with irony, self-deprecation, or desperate, panting self-help mantras. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the aforementioned isolationist streak. Maybe we’ve all been cursed by an ancient witch who once had her babies eaten by a grizzly. Who knows.

This is where I wanted to segue into a vaguely hopeful, understanding outreach post– something to tie sensational current events to deeper emotional truths. Something to comfort people who, like myself, have been feeling a bit rough lately. But you know what?

I just couldn’t stick the landing.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255


Also published on Medium.