Sunday, May 1, 2016

Do You Wonder?

Joe spent the day on his fishing boat and caught nothing. He lit a cigarette and relaxed before his trip back home. He finished his smoke, tossed the butt in the water and watched a fish swallow it.  Joe thought, Stupid fish. Wouldn’t take my bait, yet ate my cigarette butt.  Kinda makes ya wonder, don’t it?

Almost every great breakthrough in history began with its pioneer saying “I wonder if (or why)…”  JFK must have wondered if it was possible to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth before 1970. There was no rocket big enough to carry the payload; NASA did not exist; there was no plan. He simply wondered.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat up on the bus.  When the police arrested her, Rosa asked “Why are you always pushing us around?” She must have wondered if she would be arrested, or if her actions would awaken the sleeping giants of segregation and discrimination.  In fact, with those few words, Rosa started the Civil Rights Movement and is acclaimed the Mother of Civil Rights.

Ronald Reagan wondered if it would be possible to stop the Cold War and neutralize the constant threat of attack by Russia.  He baited the Soviet Union into an expensive arms race with his Star Wars project and, because Russia depends on oil exports, Reagan artificially reduced the price of oil.  These two actions led to the Soviet bankruptcy.  Those of us who lived under that Russian threat for decades cheered loudly when we saw the Berlin Wall being torn down in 1989.

If you wonder, it can be a life-changing event.  Wonder starts the creative thought process and can lead to major, significant change. JFK wondered if the United States could become leading edge explorers. Ronald Reagan wondered if his out-of-the-box economic thinking could stop the threat of war. And Rosa Parks showed us you don’t have to be President of the United States to wonder if your actions can make a difference. Your “wonder” can lead to something “wonderful”.

As for Joe the fisherman, on their anniversary months later, his wife prepared her famous soft-shelled crab recipe. While enjoying the meal Joe’s teeth ground down on something unusual. Joe had bitten into a cigarette filter. It turns out the fish that ate Joe’s cigarette butt choked to death. A crab ate the fish but couldn’t digest the filter. And our friend Joe ate the crab.  I wonder if Joe knows that karma exists.

Original Publication Innerchange Magazine November, 2010

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