I had a teacher at Pratt who was as inspiring as he was detestable. (I actually had a few of those) That doesn't have a lot to do with the story but it was the case. One class he announced that we were going to take ten minutes and make paper airplanes and whoever made the plane that flew the farthest wins. So we all set about folding up the best planes we could remember how to make. I think I just went with a dart style plane with a folded over nose. Ultra creased and absolutely symmetric. Not too inspired but it was the best I could come up with. Everyone else did a version of the one I did with the exception of this one guy who crumpled up his paper into a tight ball. When it was his turn he just chucked this thing and beat everyone soundly. It was great.
As ironic as it sounds, it takes a lot of discipline to think freely. To control your mind and not allow yourself to drift over to the gutter that is the way things have been done before, is a real talent. Of course, when someone says "plane" you think of some wings and a fuselage because that is what the Wright brothers made them.
So when Leo (our 4 yr old) called me over to see the paper planes he made, I felt like the The April Fool for spending all that money on grad school when I could have just observed a bunch of kids and learned the most important thing Pratt taught me: how to think.
I have to say, those tissue planes fly wonderfully. They fly like the bag in the film the kid made in the movie, American Beauty. You know, the movie where that guy does that thing?