In 1968, Tammy Wynette released what would turn out to be one of the most enduring and iconic country songs in a genre that continues to tell a story about as well as three minutes or so will allow. The song, “Stand by Your Man,” however, wasn’t the songstress’ story in life. In her 55 allotted years before her premature 1998 expiration date, she managed to find time for five different marriages to five different fellas. And, you might say, there was no standing by the first four.
In a world where, I think, we always strive to see some sense of natural order and logic, the fact of the matter is, so often, we’re confronted with what absolutely does not make sense. I thought about that again recently when my kitchen-counter girlfriend Alexa told me that Kylie Jenner’s net worth is $50 million. While that seems impossible for someone just 21 years old and as bereft of any real talent that I can decipher as any of the others in her clan, except for that obvious ability to generate wealth, I have no reason to doubt Alexa. While she sometimes doesn’t quite understand my question, she never knowingly lies to me.
So often what does not seem to compute involves some serious concerns, such as how our nation’s schools ever could have turned into places where students have had to seek hiding places when there is the sound of gunfire in an environment where they should only be seeking knowledge. And then there are others head-scratchers that seem to fit more into Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” file box labeled, “Things just seem to get curiouser and curiouser.”
On a far less meaningful level than gun violence, as far as the world of sports and our Browns, how does their coach, Hue Jackson, who has presided over teams that have gone 1-31 over two seasons in Cleveland remain the coach while another member of the NFL coaching fraternity, Jim Caldwell of the Lions, was sent packing at the end of last year after four seasons with a 36-28 won-loss record?
Historically, there have been several instances of tragedies that have left people scratching their heads over the realities that certain events could actually occur. After all, the Titanic was considered absolutely unsinkable when it was built in Belfast, Ireland, right?
However, what made the tragedy even more unlikely was the event’s similarities to the events in a novella written 14 years earlier by American author Morgan Robertson entitled The Wreck of the Titan. The short novel or long short story (take your defining pick!) told the story of the largest sea craft ever, one deemed unsinkable, and its going to its watery grave after hitting an iceberg. Sound familiar?
And, that’s not the only aspect of Robertson’s story where life imitates fiction. The Titan was 800 feet in length, and the Titanic 882. The speed the Titan struck the fictional iceberg was 25 knots in April, and the adjectivally named Titanic struck its very real iceberg at 22.5 knots in April as well. Both the fictional and real ship had only about half as many lifeboats as needed to carry all aboard. The fictional casualty count was 2,500, while the real disaster claimed just 300 less.
Of course, there are many moments of “it does not compute” when it comes to who voters put in important political positions. While many of you, I’m sure, just may be thinking of the current tweeting occupant of the White House, in 1990, enough Minnesotans decided former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura had the right stuff to make him governor of the whole state!
Before that, once upon a time, there was Harry Truman, who shocked political pundits by defeating heavy favorite Tom Dewey in 1948, and then there was that little-know peanut farmer turned Georgia Governor, Jimmy Carter, and his win over Ford in ’76.
And, finally there are the child prodigies, an amazing subset of little human beings so advanced at such a young age that it makes adults feel as if they’ve somehow failed in their races to achieve max potential.
If you were impressed by television’s Doogie Howser back in the early ‘90s, well, consider the now 25-year-old Akrit Jaswal from India, whose acumen in the medical field is so advanced that he was actually performing surgeries at 7 years old.
And, then there’s the far-more-famous Mozart, arguably history’s greatest child prodigy, who had mastered the piano at 4 and wrote his first symphony at 8.
And, so it goes in life. While there are indeed life’s very predictable moments, especially when it comes to so many of our banalities in, say, our morning rituals, if we look around at all of life’s people and events, there are so many other moments when we just have to shake our heads and just mutter, “Boy, I sure didn’t see that coming!”
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.