An old soldier once told me of a shoelace that saved his life. His boot lace had snagged on a twig as he was on patrol causing him to stumble. As he lurched forward he heard a loud noise and felt a hard thwack on his helmet. He described it like getting hit with a hammer.
The bullet grazed off the top of his helmet where a second before his forehead had been.
Do you think when he woke up that morning he realised not tucking in his boot laces would save his life that day?
Have you ever sat for a moment and thought about the tenuous web of minor decisions and random chances that make up our lives?
Look back for just a moment.
I bet you can think of a hundred times when the most seemingly insignificant decision can come back and loom over your future like the bow of an oil tanker bearing down upon a rowboat. Sometimes the decisions are not even yours, but random events influenced by others. Things are just like that at times.
You could drive yourself crazy thinking about all the “what if’s” of life.
What if Bre’s mom had not put a picture up at work? How would her tale have been different?
For instance, what if I had been in the mood for chicken twenty years ago?
What’s that look?
I never told you how Kelly and I met?
Ah, this is a great example. Grab your drink and pull up a spot at the fire, I have a tale to tell.
Once upon a time, well actually in the spring of ’89 but I can call it what I want, a young sailor was going to school to learn how to fix broken things. He was good with things this young man, things made sense.
People now, people not so much. They would do the darndest things at the darndest times, as any parent can tell you. So this young man understood machines, and felt comfortable around them. For the most part the same did not hold true for people.
This was especially true with attractive young ladies.
This young man was living in a flop house of an apartment with several other sailors as well as the fiance of one of them. They all got along well, and all chipped in on things that were needed. Kim, the one lady living there, also had herself a job. She worked a shift here and there at a McDonald’s down the street from the flop house.
Every so often the young man would stop in on his way home from school to give his friends fiance a ride home. It was, after all, on his way. Often times he would sit and wait a few minutes for her to wrap up her shift, enjoying a chocolate milkshake and watching the people go by.
One of those people, a lovely young lady who worked there, really caught his eye.
I was that young man nearly half a lifetime ago now, and she still catches my eye.
That day, as we were driving back to the flop house, the I asked Kim about her. We talked a bit as we drove home, but it was quickly forgotten. Well, by everyone else anyway. I remembered.
Weeks passed with the same routine. Several times the I would go through the line and get my chocolate shake just to say hello. The young lady never noticed, and I never had the nerve to try and stand out from the crowd.
It was something to do with being face to face….
Then there came a day when I had stayed late to study for an upcoming exam. Actually stayed so late at the school studying that I missed dinner. Thats the day I made one of the most important decisions of my life.
What do I want for dinner.
As the golden arches pulled into sight I made up my mind. I even still remember what I had that day, over twenty years gone by now.
I pulled up to the drive through speaker and say that beautiful young lady working the window.
Not really sure of myself until after it had actually come from my mouth I placed my order.
“A quarter pounder, a chocolate shake, and your phone number please …”
No, she did not give it to a random guy coming through the drive through.
The ice was broken however. From then on I had the nerve to talk to her. We did get together for good shortly thereafter, but that is a tale for another day.
For right now my fire is burning low, and my beer is running dry.
Time to call it a day.