People make a lot of assumptions when you’re a blimp pilot. And when you fly a celebrity blimp, boy can people really start pressuring you into having a good time. Sure, where there’s a sky you can bet there’s me, blimping across the pale sea, shaking hands with God. But let me tell you, I’m a professional. I don’t take my work home with me. I may fly the Goodyear blimp, but that does not mean that I share its optimistic spirit.

I am not my blimp. I am Jeremy Burger, 5’6 and scared of large dogs. I have athlete’s foot, chafing thighs, and no sense of smell. The Goodyear blimp is 246 feet tall and scared of nothing. It is made of rubber and has no weaknesses. Every day I climb aboard that hulking oval and every day I feel shame. Time and time again, the Goodyear blimp has proven itself to be more than just my vehicle. It is also my better.


When people find out about my job they ask if I’m having a good year, and every time I tell them that the Goodyear blimp is not my father. I’m never quite sure why I say that, but it happens every time, regardless of my feelings. People do not take this well, and it has since only alienated me more, forcing me to the isolation of my sky box. There, sitting inside the belly of my beast, the world looking up to see my blimp but never me, somehow I do not find the moxie people typically expect of a Goodyear blimp boy.

Believe me, there was a time when I thought I could keep up with the Goodyear blimp, and when I was mandated to by the good people at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. I danced the town tired and sang the children deaf, trying to reach their hearts the way my blimp had. I even got “Great Year” tattooed on my chest in solidarity, but that only made my fall all the more tragic.

People will always love blimps more than they love other people. You see people everyday, but a blimp? Not only that, but a blimp that seems to be in very high spirits. That’s a rare sight indeed, and no matter how many times you tattoo positive slogans onto your body, you’re just not going to beat that. Of course I realized this only after getting my “Stupendous Centennial” neck tattoo.

People called me “Jeremy Hindenburger”, and although decent human beings promptly hushed those people, I understood their anger. A Goodyear blimp boy cannot be crying and covered in tattoos, they must pick one. So I saved up enough money for laser ink removal, and still tour the skies teary eyed. I just hope that from now on, whenever you see a Goodyear blimp, you remember that there is a person inside there with his own feelings and outlook on life.

Luke Strickler is a writer in New York City and a person everywhere else. He’s head of gags at Boys Night Videos and has written for everywhere that lets him. @Luke_Strickler.

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