Forrest Gump shit happensActually, he only half said it. While running across the country he stepped some shit and the guy running next to him pointed it out and Gump said: It Happens.

I disagree: Shit Doesn’t Just Happen: The Gift of Failure.

Each book covers seven major catastrophes, listing the six cascade events leading up to the final event, the catastrophe, using my Rule of Seven.

I was 36,000 feet above New Mexico, flying back from the Veteran’s Book Fair, and I was thinking about Air France Flight 471, which fell from that altitude into the ocean in a little over 4 minutes. A perfectly good plane (except for a frozen pitot for the air speed indicator). The co-pilot over-reacted, stalled the plane, and then couldn’t figure out exactly was going on. The pilot was ‘sleeping’ and took over a minute to get from the small cabin behind the cockpit into the cockpit when summoned (who knows what he was really doing, but his girlfriend, an off-duty flight attendant was also on the flight). Of course, there was computer program that would have helped ease the confusion, but it was expensive so Air France hadn’t . . .

Sultana on fireAnd as I flew over the Mississippi, I thought of the Sultana, the great maritime disaster in US History, doubly heartbreaking because many of those killed had survived the horrors of the Andersonville Prisoner of War Camp. On a grossly overloaded boat, where the quartermaster got a kickback for every soldier he crammed on board; a quartermaster who was incompetent and had been investigated, but whose career had been intact because Abraham Lincoln interceded, because he owed a political favor to someone and . . . .

So, I’m sorry, Forrest. Life might be a box of chocolates, but if you leave it in the sun too long, it turns into goop. And It Doesn’t Just Happen!