Like you, I worry a bit. Maybe more than a bit. We all do.
We worry about our jobs and money, personal relationships and whether our kids are healthy, strong and happy.
We worry about big stuff like climate change and politics, we stress over little stuff like our weight or a new gray hair.
Worry, worry, worry! We even worry about that.
On Friday September 12, 2008, 25 people got out of their beds long before dawn, prepared themselves for work, kissed their families good-bye, left the house and died. They were killed in a freak commuter train crash in Southern California. I told their stories on the radio in Los Angeles with relative dispassion because that was my job but I never got over the soul-shaking realization that you can walk out of your home one morning and never return.
It happens every day all over the world, of course, but we never imagine it happening to us. Among all the trivial stuff we worry about it never occurs to us to be worried about sudden, dumb luck death.
It happened last night in a very small town not far from here, the town of West, Texas, which one resident described on the radio this morning as "a Mayberry kind of place." There was a fertilizer factory in West which employed and supported a good portion of the 2,600 people who live in the town. It caught fire at 7:30 p.m. and 25 minutes later it blew away most everything within a five block radius.
Now, almost 18 hours later, they're still looking for bodies, alive and dead. Texas officials tend to play their cards quietly. Ten hours ago they allowed that there may be as many as five to 15 deaths. Most likely there are dozens of others who died with no warning, people who hadn't even been aware of the fire but were close enough to have life literally blown out of them like birthday candles as they finished supper, watched TV with their families and fed their dogs.
When events like this happen and my work day is done I wonder about that. What's it like to die with absolutely no warning? One moment you can be laughing and the next moment you're nothing.
There is no sense to be made of this sort of thing but today I'm not worried about anything. Nothing at all.