Proverb – United States

Why drink and drive when you can smoke and fly?

A modern proverb takes on a whole new meaning once you learn the origin of it.  A good friend of mine named Vincent Mejia shared this bit of folkore with me over dinner.  He is a sophomore student here at the University of Southern California, and is in the NAVY program.

Vince shared with me that the modern proverb that we today typically associate with smoking marijuana, rather than getting inebriated from alcohol, actually began in the Navy.  Most fighter pilots are from the Navy, and they all tend to be chain smokers.  The ironic part about this piece of folklore is that smoking obviously hinders the intake of oxygen.  When a pilot is flying, the one thing he needs the most is oxygen itself.  So, in essence, smoking is more dangerous than drinking and driving.

This piece of American folklore exhibits to me the humorous nature that even those in one of our nation’s most revered and most valuable professions can possess.  The fact that pilots in the Navy can joke around about such a thing reflects upon our culture, in that it is one that does not always take itself too seriously and is not afraid to make light of certain matters.