Our title comes via the poet and lyricist Robert Burns (whom my father either was or was not named after).
I offer it in lieu of making predictions on the upcoming college and pro football seasons of our American football (I guess I have to qualify that now that I’ve come out of the closet as a fan of what the rest of the world knows as football).
Especially in our football…things go horribly wrong when said ball is kicked off and players start the sixty minute mash-up of brains and bodies. As former Philadelphia Eagle Hollis Thomas said on local radio yesterday success in the game comes down to one, highly-unpredictable word. Health.
In Mixed Martial Arts you know who is coming at you and they blow the whistle once you cannot defend yourself. In football you often don’t know where everyone is who is coming at you and the whistle blows after the play is deemed over…whether you are “over” or not depends on how fortunate you were.
This writer doesn’t have to make predictions because I can look foolish in many other ways to my readers. I don’t have to accelerate the process by trying to fortune-tell who will survive the weekly grind that is football.
So…for those brave enough to venture into the world of prognostication let me leave you with this true story of events eight miles from my home four months ago. And…it should be noted no one was injured during this life lesson of how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…
Some background. Two years ago my wife and I were at the dentist for our six-month check-ups and noticed work had begun across the road (roughly 75 yards away) for an ultra-modern, state-of-the-art fire station. We had heard the local fire company had outgrown their existing facility in town and was relocating directly across the road from the strip mall shopping center our dentist works out of. The station under construction already looked quite impressive. The dentist and her personnel assured us we were far from unique in making jokes about what happens if someone is having a delicate procedure done when those sirens start wailing. Trips to the dentist are nervy enough without wondering if your nerves…or the dentist’s…will be compromised by the sudden sound to service. One thing we could all agree on was it was comforting to know if anything ever did happen in the immediate area help was so close you could throw a rock at it. The location in fact made it more flexible for the fire company to get to all the territory they normally cover instead of being in the center of town as currently located.
A great plan all the way around.
You know where this is going…don’t you?
On May 12th our dentist and her personnel stood outside with the other occupants and visitors of ten businesses as they burned. To the ground.
If that mall had an “evacuation area” like companies do it would have been the ultra-modern, state-of-the-art fire station that had been in operation for some time at that point.
There was a fire that erupted across town. The station dutifully responded to the call and raced its resources to that scene. And the ultra-modern, state-of-the-art fire station across the street from the shopping center was temporarily vacant…as a fire broke out within one of the businesses in the center. The structure was older and did not feature a sprinkler system.
I would suggest sending flowers to the business owners but the fire began in a flower shop.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I watch as much college and pro football as I can and I am fortunate my wife shares my passion for the game (unlike basketball…which is a post for another day). But I don’t claim to be able to predict outcomes…especially before seasons start.
Some of the businesses have already found new office space to relocate to. In fact the pizza shop that was forced to relocate found a great location that will allow them to expand their menu and even offer outdoor seating.
Our dentist is currently looking at a more-spacious property than she previously worked within also.
However…it is a little farther from the fire station.