-Fred Stock

          Happened to pass through the living room the other morning on the way to my office, and noticed a lad riding a bicycle on a cable. He had strung the wire between two structures several hundred feet apart I supposed, and had removed the tires from his racing style bicycle so the rims would latch into the cable as he rode. He had a wide balance beam in hand, and was riding across empty space a substantial distance above objects below. I watched for a few seconds, and immediately out of my lips emanated, “Why?”

          I had seen a football fan on TV the night before, who had painted his face several garish colors and stiffened his hair straight up as if he had just been hit by a lightning bolt in a puddle of water. He was carrying some sort of stuffed animal apparently related to his team mascot, painted the same garish colors. He had a horn strapped to his belt like a bugler going to battle. The trumpet was also painted in garish blue pigment! His Mom would have been proud. My reaction, of course, “Why?”

          Why do we humans seem to be so daft we cannot proceed through a day without this strange behavior creeping in. “I don’t do that,” you say? Well you likely are not painted blue as you read this, but watch a political rally, a sporting event - even at the local level occasionally, or take in a horse race. Go watch the people watching the people. Yikes! It’s better entertainment than the event, usually.

          The camera was panning the crowd at the baseball league championship game, and the usual signs popped onto the screen. You know, “Hit it here, Manny!” and “Our team shines tonight!” …the latter with the “tonight” scratched out and “tomorrow night” scrawled in it’s place. Then the lens stopped on a cute girl holding up a large sign reading, “Hey, am I on television yet?” The camera moved up and down as though it were shaking its head yes! I guess that was important to her. Good grief!

          Got to thinking; in my strange life, I have done all sorts of way out things; I was the helicopter “eye in the sky” in Buffalo for a while. I have ridden an elephant in the circus. I’ve flown off an aircraft carrier over a battlefield in Viet Nam and seen flack coming up at us. I’ve driven cross country in a Volkswagen beetle a couple of times, once with a pregnant lady at my side. I’ve preached in church and played in a rock band and coached a ball team without the benefit of knowing anything at all about the game. I’ve sold cars, built websites, designed telemetry equipment, written articles on who knows what-all, crafted wooden miniatures, operated a dot-com, run a computer shop and driven a service truck on Los Angeles freeways. And when I look back at all that, I often ask “Why?” What in the world causes us Homo sapiens to do the things we do in the ways we do them? Are we driven, or should we be driven off with a bullwhip? Are we an evolving species or are we losing it? Bungee jumping? Are you kidding me? Slipping a motorcycle between lines of creeping traffic at 95 miles an hour on the 605? Whats-a-mattah-you? Why would we do that? But we do!

          Life is composed of a string of events which can be gleefully used or grudgingly endured, put-up-with or celebrated. Many are repetitious hum drums, but then we snap and proceed to “over the side!” Great Gooba-jooba! Why? -fhs