As someone who watches a shit ton of documentaries, one of my favorite genres is disaster. I’m riveted by the havoc caused by natural and man-made disasters.
The other day I saw an episode showcasing the Soufrière Hills volcano on the tiny island of Montserrat. After 300 years of dormancy, it erupted in 1995 and wiped out the livelihood of the entire island as a tourist destination. It buried the capital of Plymouth and destroyed the island’s airport.
Do you think anyone woke up that day and thought, “Yup, today I’m going to die by volcano”?
I could have died by that volcano if I had chosen an island other than Jamaica to fall in love with and spend a third of my life there. What if Montserrat was my island of choice?
Or how about that old American TV series, 1000 Ways to Die?
The episode I remember the best was the one where two men had a play-fight with bags of flour in a kitchen. They literally died by suffocation from inhaling too much flour in the air.
Talk about Darwinism at its finest.
How many times have you been on vacation to Hawaii? The state has an incredibly high risk of being hit by a tsunami. If you don’t think it can happen to you, just reflect back on Indonesia in 2004. A quarter of a million people, including 2000 tourists, lost their lives on a Christmas vacation.
Or New Orleans? We all know what happened there during hurricane Katrina.
Don’t even get me started on airplanes and the level of trust we put into pilots. We have no idea what’s going on inside a cockpit on any given flight and if disaster is about to strike, passengers don’t know until it’s striking.
All you have to do is plug into the series, Mayday, to realize just how many air disasters have occurred in the name of progress. There are TWENTY whole seasons of the show. That’s a lot of plane crashes.
Every single flight disaster, whether caused by mechanical or human error, becomes a catalyst for major change in the aviation industry. But entire planeloads of humans had to be the sacrificial lambs for that change.
Every single one of us is willing to take the risk because we keep on flying.
The number of bizarre ways one can exit life fascinates me. Imagine having a conversation about losing your loved one and someone asks, “I’m so sorry for your loss. What happened?”
Then you have to say, “He died in a volcano eruption.”
You will never be the boring person in a room again.
I wonder if there are conventions in heaven, where the departed meet up and share stories of how they got there?
When the volcano and tsunami people speak up, the heart attack and stroke people slither to the back of the room and hide because they feel like their stories are boring compared to the disaster people.
Considering there is only ONE way to enter life, isn’t it bizarre how many unlikely ways there are to make an exit?
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