Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nope - Ain't Seen No Jetpacks Yet

In the last couple of days, I've had friends send me messages via Facebook, Twitter and email regarding this story from The Wall Street Journal. It's very similar to a story done in July of last year by The New York Times—and it's the same old story, "Everyone wants a jetpack - but jetpacks suck really bad right now."

Because of the title of this blog, I've been quoted in a book about Jetpacks.

There's another book about Jetpacks whose title is the same as this blog. (I was first.)

And there will also always be crappy jetpack announcements from starry-eyed inventors. But none of the jetpacks fly very far for very long, they're usually tethered, and they're usually priced at about $250,000.

When I was in 2nd grade, I checked out a tattered old book from the Fort Lewis, Washington Elementary School Library called Skyjets for Fliers of Tomorrow. It told the tale of two kids who got mail-order flight suits and went flying around their town, visited their grandma and were home in time for dinner. (Images on this post from that book.) I guess that book started me wishing I could fly, but it's really an ancient and universal dream - personal flight. And it hasn't happened yet. Not to any satisfactory degree, anyway. I mean, who wants to fly only over a lake tethered to a giant hose sucking water from the lake?

The only way I will stop asking the question “Where’s My Jetpack?” is when jetpacks are affordable to common clowns like you and me and will safely convey us to and from our places of employment or the grocery store. It would also be nice if they didn’t sound like F-18s at full throttle and could fly for longer than a couple minutes on a tank of fuel. Another real benefit would be if they were available at Wal-Mart. I want them easy enough to operate that my Mom could handle one.

But more than that, the question “Where’s My Jetpack?” is at its heart a joke. The jetpack is simply a symbol of all the other things that were supposed to be here by now, promised to us by the advertisers, by Disney, by the government and all the other dreamers. As it says over in the sidebar under “Bascially...”: “The future is now, and we’re still waiting.”

It's all explained in the lyrics to this blog's theme song.

UPDATE: And Hanna points out in the comments that Quaker just launched - haha - get it? "launched" - sorry - a campaign featuring a Jimmy Fallon lookalike wearing a Quaker Oats jetpack.

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  • Having been born in 1959, I saw the jetpack at the Super Bowl, and in the Bond film. I assumed I'd be flying one by the year 2000 - jeez I'd be 40 then! It had to be a reality by then - right?

    Sadly, I'm still waiting.

    By Blogger Matt, at March 10, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

  • Funny you posted this the day Quaker's new campaign hit featuring a man, with a jet pack.

    By Blogger Hanna, at March 10, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

  • re: that quaker ad:
    I think the propulsion exhaust is coming from the wrong hole.
    Thanks for taking some of the gloss off the future as envisioned for us.

    By Blogger raytube, at March 11, 2009 at 3:50 PM  

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