My wife and I were zipping down the interstate one day when we saw this long cloud of thick, blue smoke ahead of us. As we got closer, we saw that it was belching out of the smoke stack of a semi. The smoke was so heavy you could hardly see as you passed it. It was a good time to hold your breath. These two guys were driving along laughing, seemingly oblivious to the smoke, and the smell that they were spreading down the interstate. Then I noticed some black spots on our windshield, and of course I did what would be instinctive to do, I started to reach for my windshield wipers, and man I'm glad I didn't. I looked at the car in front of me and saw he had turned his on, and all he had done was streak oil all over the window of his car; he could bearly see. That driver probably thought the smoke was just his problem. Hey, it was a problem for everyone who got close to him!
Look up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman! Man, when I heard those words on my T.V. as a kid, I was in a T.V. trance for the next half hour. I loved to watch the exploits of the man of steel because he was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Then one day Superman died, actually, George Reeves, the man who played him, and it was suicide. That was hard to take. Now for another generation, an actor named Christopher Reeve has been Superman, but then something tragic happened to him in a riding accident. He was thrown from his horse and left mostly paralyzed. It's happened twice. The part being played showed a man who was invincible, but "behind the role" has been the awful reality.
Last summer while we were on vacation, we made some new friends in Arkansas, Bill and Darlene. They live on a beautiful farm in the Ozarks. They didn't always. When they first moved to Arkansas, they lived in a fairly primitive cabin along the Buffalo River, and Darlene told us that one of their neighbors was a classic Ozark moonshiner. He invited them over for dinner a number of times and Darlene said they finally ran out of excuses. Well, when they got there for dinner, the moonshiner told Bill, "Now you go pick out what chicken you want for dinner out there on the front porch." Bill did and the moonshiner just shot it down dead right there on the front porch. And then they came in and the moonshiner and his wife cleaned and prepared it right in front of their guests. Darlene said the jam on the table was alive with flies covering it totally. Well when their host offered them a taste of his moonshine, Darlene said, "I was really tempted to drink some to kill whatever I just ate." After dinner, the moonshiner was sitting in his rocking chair in the living room talking with Bill. Bill noticed some large holes along the floor of the cabin and he asked how they got there. The moonshiner said, "Well, we got mice," and he said, "I decided I'd stay up late and I'd sit here in my rocking chair. I'd see one. I'd pull out my gun and I'd shoot it."
During the winter it's really nice to think about a beach and all that sun. Of course the easiest way to cook yourself on the beach is to be there on a cloudy day. You say, "I don't feel a thing." But let me tell you by experience, the rays are still burning you. That's actually what happened in the tragic aftermath of that meltdown of a nuclear facility in Chernobyl in Russia a few years ago. Remember, thousands of children were invaded by invisible radiation and they didn't feel a thing. But after awhile they began to lose hair and their skin began to change. They got increasingly deadly symptoms, and finally many of them died. They were gradually destroyed by something they couldn't even feel.
Every once in a while, I'll drive off in our car and I'll feel this strange lurching sensation. You see, my wife is big on using the emergency brake, and she will often remember to put it on. I will often forget to put it on. It's just not part of my car starting ritual to turn off the emergency brake because I don't usually engage it. So here I am driving off with the brake on and lurching all around. It is a good idea to release the brake. It is hard to go the speed you want when the brake is holding you back.