Scaling Mount Dora

In the Navy

My friend’s father, was a retired Naval aviator who had been stationed in, and later retired to  the Central Florida town where I spent my high school years.

Naval Air Station Sanford, Fl circa 1968
(Photo by: Lt. Wade USN)

The military base was later decommissioned and now known as the Orlando-Sanford International Airport.

At my friend’s house one evening, The Commander told me a story of a Navy buddy  who in his first post-military interview was asked this question:

“Do you have experience flying over mountainous terrain?”

The man’s  response was this: “I have flown numerous missions over Mount Dora.”

He told the truth.

“Mount” Dora

Mount Dora is a small town, about 30 miles NW of Orlando. If you’d like, you can become acquainted with Mount Dora in this 3-minute video:

If you’re perplexed by the absence of mountainous terrain, there is a very simple reason for that: there is none. Central Florida is pancake-flat.

Mount Dora’s peak elevation is 182 ft. It wouldn’t be that hard for a toddler to reach Mount Dora’s peak on a tricycle.

However, the candidate had given a truthful response, even if it didn’t address the question.

And it sounded great.

The man was offered the job shortly after the  interview.

Is Truth Enough?

I don’t know anything the man’s skill in flying a plane, or the job’s responsibilities or experience requirements.

Nor do I know anything about the context of the question, the “Mount Dora” line might have been a joke.  I wasn’t there.

Though I’ve occasionally thought of being in a similar interview scenario and wondered how I might answer.

If somebody were to ask if I’d ever scaled a high-altitude peak? I could say  “I climbed  Mount Dora.” and that would be true. If pressed further, I could provide a vivid, truthful account:

“I was 16. We set up a  base camp–in a municipal parking garage where we left my brother-in-law’s Volaré–and reached the peak 2 minutes later. The view of gift shops, bakeries and shuffleboard courts was absolutely stunning.”

Except it wouldn’t answer the interviewer’s question. I’d likely  just say no.

Though it’s probably  a moot point in modern times. A hiring manager might react with “Whoa, if true.” but could see how flimsy my answer was in a few seconds after a damn good Googling.

 

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