Friday, January 13, 2012

Fortune's Sweet Kiss

Friday the 13th is not a day usually associated with good fortune. However, in the interests of balancing the celestial scales, attention today should be given to two sterling examples of good fortune. Examples that admittedly highlight the concept on different scales.

Among the axioms we learn from the time we are old enough to learn such things is that a dog is, "Man's best friend." In my experience that has been true. Sometimes however the shoe is on the other paw as it were. Feel no need to take my word on this point. Ask Barney.

Last Saturday Barney the dog made the acquaintance of Roy O'Connor, the kayaker. Theirs was most assuredly a chance encounter. At the time Barney introduced himself to Mr. O'Connor the latter was more than a half-mile out in the sea, fishing and paddling near the beaches of Siesta Key, Florida. O'Connor pulled Barney aboard his kayak, quickly assessed that the dog seemed to be not only cold and exhausted from his swim but also very scared and injured, and then began the quest to locate Barney's owner. The link to the video O'Connor posted to YouTube is here. If you can spare five minutes to have your faith in humankind bumped up a little, then watch it.

Sadly, Barney's owner (whose name was located courtesy of Barney's microchip) had been killed earlier that day when her vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Authorities speculate that Barney, who had apparently been in the car with his owner when the accident happened, had become frightened by what occurred and had simply taken off, ultimately ending up in the Gulf of Mexico. O'Connor's open water rescue not only saved Barney's life but enabled Barney to be reunited with his owner's family, slicing a sliver of happiness into an otherwise horrid day.

From time to time in this space, I aim my anger at one of the most despicable assemblies of/excuses for humankind of which I am aware: the Westboro Baptist Church. The dreck who are the WBC represent the worst our species has to offer.

Thankfully there is an antidote for the poisonous WBC. It is the Patriot Guard Riders. Their Mission Statement says more about them and the incredible things they do than I could ever hope to. While there are exactly zero wasted words in it, I think that my favorite ones are these, "We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect."

As long as good people exist and remain vigilant about keeping the bad people among us in check, humanity has a chance.

"Down here it's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line." Kudos to those whose feet are firmly planted on the line's right side. And thanks to them also for pointing out for the rest of us which side is which.

-AK

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