Monday, 14 July 2008

On Being a Maverick

One of my favourite films of all time is Top Gun. It has everything I love: gorgeous guys, excellent one-liners, and fighter planes. I happen to love planes. That's why Heathrow is one of my favourite parts of London because of the airport. Last year, a friend introduced me to the RAF Museum, which has authentic fighter planes that had been used in both wars. Being so close up to those planes was so exhilarating!

When I noticed "Top Gun" was on last night, I just had to watch it again.

Top Gun is about fighter pilots, Pete Mitchell aka Maverick and his wingman, Goose and the lifestyle of fighter pilots. At first glance, Maverick appears rather arrogant, which is only because he's not only very good at what he does, but he has his own way of doing things, which don't usually meet up with the text book approach. Hence his nickname, Maverick. After Maverick had demonstrated another unorthodox manoeuvre, his boss gives him a dressing down as follows: "Your ego is writing cheques your body can't cash!" I just love that line!

When the number 1 pilot at their station decides that lifestyle is no longer for him, Maverick and Goose, who were number 2, are given the once in a lifetime opportunity to train at Top Gun, the flying school for advanced fighter pilots. There they get to compete with the best of the best. At Top Gun, Maverick tries to psyche out the other fighter pilots. He realises his main rival is Ice, who is renowned for his smooth and perfect flying. While on paper Ice is the best, it is Maverick's original, albeit risky, manoeuvres, that the instructors secretly admire.

Maverick ends up falling for one of the instructors at the school. Things are going well until one day there's a technical fault on Maverick's plane and he and Goose have to eject. Unfortunately, Goose doesn't survive. Maverick is devastated to lose his best friend and loses his confidence. He even considers quitting. He has to come to terms with his loss.

Soon Maverick and his colleagues are called upon to fight in a real battle. Maverick uses both his technical skills and pure genius to assist Ice and other pilots and the Americans win that battle. Maverick comes home a hero. When Maverick is asked what job he would like, he chooses to be an instructor at Top Gun.

From the very first time I watched Top Gun I've preferred Maverick to Ice. For me, Maverick speaks of the genius within that expresses one's true self. Mavericks are never going to be the top of their class because society doesn't appreciate Mavericks as they challenge the status quo. In the end, it's usually Mavericks who transform society anyway with their original ideas. Mavericks also inspire others to express their Maverick within.

I am Maverick.


Related articles: A Woman's Right to Plug Out of the System; Thinking Outside the Box; The Voice of Innocence; My Kind of Guy; Message to a Dear Friend; Are You a Gutless Wonder?; How Would I Like to be Remembered?; Dare to Be Love?