Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crash Landings

I know not where Time goes.  I know simply that irrespective of how many sub-eight-minute training miles I run back-to-back-to-back-to-back I cannot stop it.  Hell, I cannot even slow it down. 

It was scarily close to thirty years ago that the great American singer/songwriter John Hiatt recorded "Tip of My Tongue",  a track from his 1987 masterpiece Bring the Family, for which this was the chorus: 

I Broke your Heart
With the Back of my Mind.
From the Tip of my Tongue
To the End of the Line.

Over the years, Hiatt has described this song as telling the story of what happens when one person says something to another person, which "something" he immediately regrets.  He wishes that he could take it back - reel the words back up and into his mouth.  Of course, he cannot.  And as the song goes, he learns soon thereafter that it is not only for actions that there are consequences.   Or better said, he learns that when it comes to consequences, it is impossible to parse out the word from the deed.  Irrespective of whether the impetus is something uttered or something undertaken, wheels set in motion shall roll.  Their journey, unfortunately, is not always a smooth one.  

Hiatt wrote and recorded "Tip of My Tongue" quite some time before the Internet became the presence/occasionally malevolent force that it is presently.  It is a song from a time when birds tweeted.  People did not.  The times, as we know, they are a-changing.  

And if the world is an iteration or three colder in 2015 than it was in 1987, then it is apropos that a song written regarding the dangers inherent in the most intimate, personal communication can nevertheless serve as a cautionary tale regarding the dangers inherent in the least intimate, impersonal forms of communication.  

I would not pretend to be a better teller of this particular tale than Jon Ronson.  Therefore, I shall simply recommend to you - especially if you are someone who has a Facebook and/or Twitter account (and based upon how readers of this particular bit of silliness arrive here, most of you who are reading this have at least one such account) - that you invest the time necessary to read the cautionary tale that is the life of  Justine Sacco.   

It is, I think, an extraordinary story.   Although what it says about her in particular and the world in general, I would not pretend to be smart enough to say.   

-AK 




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