Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Hot Air Balloon Launch in 1783

Top Ten Things Not to do

 

This week marks the anniversary of the first hot air balloon launch in Versailles, France in 1783. Since this was the beginning of man’s desire to fly, you must go. Please take this list with you to avoid an incident with the French (challenging to do) or to create a time continuum disruption that could be catastrophic.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Hot Air Baloon Launch in 1783.

10 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not try to buy a ticket. If you do, at best you will be told no. At worst, the head guy will inform you this trip is for animals only. (Do not give in to the temptation to moo like a cow, Javier. The first animals on the trip were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck.)

9 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not ask Tiny the WWF champ for a selfie with you. If you do, at best Tiny will think you are kidding. At worst, Tiny who just left his anti-witchcraft support group will think you are trying to take his soul. (I’m not saying Tiny is superstitious, but I’m not sure that phone is going to survive a foot stomp and water bath, Jagger. Also, Tiny has the same thing in mind for you.)

8 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not attempt to communicate in French. If you do, at best, no one will acknowledge that you are understood. At worst, you will give yourself away with your obnoxious American accent. (Now you’ve done it, Jessie. These folks are going to want to know how you got here and why your damn revolution got started in the first place. Please don’t say, “Je ne sais pas.” You’ll just make it worse.

7 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not admire the Palace of Versailles in front of the mob. If you do, at best most will not hear you. At worst, you happen to make your comments to Robespierre and his friends. (If you will recall, Jorge the French Revolution began in 1789 just five years from now. These Robespierre heavies look like bad hombre’s. Let’s just hope you are back home in 1789.)

6 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not make jokes about where the French get all their hot air. If you do, at best you’ll get a couple of laughs. At worst, the guys in charge of heating the air will put you on wood chopping duty. (You have to admit it, Joaquin. Life was more comfortable before all the hot air jokes. That ten-pound ax sure gets its name honestly huh?)

5 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not order a waffle from the breakfast cafe. If you do, at best no one will know what you are saying. At worst, the cafe owner will be horrified and call the gendarmes. (You see, Jimmy when you ordered a gaufre (or waffle in French) your accent was so bad the owner though you had requested a gopher. Either way anything but bread and coffee is thought to be uncivilized.)

4 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not ask the balloon owner how much he paid for the balloon. If you do, at best, he will walk away. At worst, he will take you for an ugly American and tell you to mind your business. (Then the crowd will wonder who you are, Johnny and will start to figure out you are an alien. Time to hit the wayback machine.)

3 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not make comments about the snails being served for lunch. If you do, at best someone will take yours. At worst, those in attendance will wonder where you are from and how come you have no been raised right. (Couple that with your accent, Jonas and you might earn a ticket to the guillotine testing facility.)

2 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not do a lot of smiling at people. If you do, at best some will think you have gas, At worst, most of the French will assume you are an ax murderer. (Yeah, the French don’t smile much to strangers, Julien. You are making them uncomfortable a feeling they will want to reciprocate.)

1 If you are at the first balloon launch, do not comment on the inclement weather. If you do, at best you’ll get a whats new shrug. At worst, several folks you meet will ask you to do something about it. (This is a new one, Jim. I hope you are prepared to produce miracles.)



							
							
						

48 comments

  1. When I saw the title, I knew this was going to be good. You didn’t disappoint, John. Number two cracked me up. 🙂 Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jill. Happy Monday to you

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Number two prompts me to ask if you’ve ever been to France, John. This is the country where (outside of the main cities, perhaps), when you enter a shop, you’re expected to say a cheery bonjour to everyone, shake hands with (at the very least) those you know and share a bisou with (again, at the very least) those you know well. In a different vein, the hot-air balloon was invented by the Montgolfier brothers and, to this day, the French for hot-air balloon is montgolfière.

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    1. Yes, I have been to France. Spent time in Paris (where I learned to keep to myself) and Avignon and Orange. (where I learned to drink and appreciate Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine) I think what you describe maybe does not apply to American visitors. I very seldom went into shops but did try the “bonjour” tact when I did which was usually met with “eh?” (yes it was morning) I think once the America accent is detected there is a block for some reason. At the time I tried to speak only French but was met with blank stares. I was accompanied by a French couple from Avignon who usually had to step in and talk to the shopkeeper. This couple told me to stop smiling to strangers since I made them uncomfortable. I also asked if my French usage was correct and they said it was. (maybe they were trying to spare me) So as a time traveler my advice still stands. I’m glad you had a better experience.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps in the deep countryside it’s different. As you know, we lived for 13 years in a tiny hamlet (pop. 5) a few miles from a small town (pop <500). The biggest annoyance we found was that they couldn't understand us if we were even the tiniest bit off wth our pronunciation of a word, even though they were heavily accented (think deep south or Italian New Yorker).
        A case in point: One of the guys on our French course said he was going to bring our French language tutor (excellent English, very nice and highly intelligent woman) a yule log. He pronounced it 'bouche de Noël' instead of 'bûche de Noël'. A difference non-French speakers wouldn't notice. She honestly did not understand what he meant. She heard 'yule mouth' and didn't make the connection – even though the guy in question was a chef, who often brought cakes in!

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      2. Much different. Also, you were European and not some ugly American. I venture to say I could come to the same hamlet and live for thirteen years and still hear “eh?” when I say “bonjour.” (Well, so it would seem from my experience)

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      3. I have to add my two cents’ worth, here. Though I have not yet been to Paris, quite a few of my québécois friends have. The French – especially the Parisians – seem to have un blocage on any accent outside their own. Beurre pronounced à la québécois is clearly misunderstood by choice. Our ‘eu’ is more “open” sounding so they look all askance. Then again, it could be because they think it is utterly disgusting to put butter on bread though they put it on radishes. Blech.

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      4. So you can see an American doesn’t stand a chance.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Non, Je ne regrette rien

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Excellent. Il ne faut pas 😉

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      7. Merci beaucoup. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. No warnings about bringing a lucky javelin. Awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. Or a lucky crossbow

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, I was expecting some sort of projectile would be mentioned. I guess Javier et al. have some sense.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Would Tiny knock me out if I lit a cigarette while I stand in the basket?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure he would. Given that the hot air is no danger I think he would be trying to save your lungs. Sorry about that 30-foot​ fall.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s Okaaaaayyyyyy…………..

        Liked by 1 person

  5. After reading #10 and #9, the tears blurred my vision. Then #6 set the laugh-o-meter off. Hilarious, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done, but I’d be in trouble, John. I’m one of those guys who moos at cows when I see them as we’re driving by. My daughter always thought it was funny, and I got one to moo back (or he just mooed at the right time). I was hoping to get a selfie with Tiny at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we have to catch him at the right time. Thanks, Dan

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Number six is my favorite. Perhaps we could recapture all the hot air in the world, fill a multitude of balloons, and send the hot air producers far, far away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A dream, Linda. Would that it come true.

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  8. That’s funny, I’ve never seen Tiny at my anti-witch support group.

    Great list, John! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think he finally quit going. Thanks, Marc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too bad, he would’ve been great protection against any errant curses.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Guess it would be a bad time to bring up the SPCA, and ask if the duck gave consent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, might be a bit late.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    I would not want to order gopher for breakfast! Great list, John:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leaves a unpleasent odor in the kitchen too.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A jolly good top ten, John, I didn’t know the first hot air balloon went up in France.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. Was invented by a Frenchman

      Liked by 1 person

  12. So a sheep, a rooster, and a duck walked onto a hot air balloon, huh? Sounds like the beginning of a bar joke to me! As one who’s actually flown in a hot air balloon, I can assure you it’s a fabulous experience, one I’d gladly do again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes me too. Thanks, Debbie.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    Where do you get this information? LOL “anti-witchcraft support group” You are too funny! Have a great day, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I make it up of course. I write fiction remember? Thanks, Gwen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gwen M. Plano · ·

        In addition to thrillers, you’ve got a gift for satire. 😀

        Like

  14. Always an entertaining list, John.
    The hot air balloon festival in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu was just last month and looked to be spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. And no smoking, for sure! I’m surprised to learn about the sheep, the rooster & the duch. Poor animals! Their minds should have been hurt for ever…Strange choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. They are in Animal heaven still discussing the trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got…Indeed They might not have paid attention they have flown so far away! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. A very befitting list, John! I have friends here who have hot air balloons and I really want to go up. I want to experience floating. 🙂 But, I’ll remember these tips, when I do get to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve done it and it is great

      Like

  17. Another winner. Great research … as usual. I believe the first parachute drop was also in Paris … from a hot air balloon. That date is coming up … hint, hint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like it. Will trey to get it done. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Like

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