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When you see smoke -- there just might be fire!

We never learn.

Time and time again, some of the world's greatest philosophers have offered Eureka moments for understanding the human personality and cultural traits, all to no avail.

Way back in the day, Socrates explained human nature when he said "To be is to do." Later, Jean-Paul Sartre, observing that Socrates had not positively impacted the welfare of societies as he had hoped to, opined, "To do is to be."

But we never learn, not even when Francis Albert Sinatra noted that life was best explained by "Do be do be do."

Bear with me. There is a point to this.

lighthearted, even comical, they explained how man prevents himself from learning how to make tomorrow a better day.

One of the last works by Fulghum that I read was, "It was on fire when I laid down on it." That hit too close to home for me.

It seems that firefighters found a man lying on a burning sofa in his apartment when neighbors smelled smoke and called 911. His rescuers naturally asked him how this happened.

He responded, "I don't know. It was on fire when I laid down in it."

Sometimes we get burned because we won't believe there is a fire even though we see smoke.

My boyhood neighbor Ken Wiggins is an example. In pre-puberty years, young boys were not considered old enough to be in the baccer fields priming so they were delegated to being barn help. One time the loopers asked for more sticks. Ken went around to the back of the baccer barn, reached his arms around a bundle of sticks but immediately dropped them.

He had stuck his hand on a sharp splinter. Noticing a little blood, he responded to a second call to bring sticks by grabbing the bundle again, hoping to avoid the splinter this time.

That splinter got him good this time. It seemed that there were two splinters poking holes in his flesh, each about the same size, and just a short distance apart. An investigation revealed the offending baccer stick was very limber and the end with the splinters was coppery in color.

Ken survived, even though he failed to realize there was fire when he smelled the smoke.

So, where is all this in-depth, hard-hitting rhetoric going?

My POSSSLQ came up with a brilliant idea. If the Japanese had stretched nets across Tokyo Bay to prevent unwanted bites from American submarines, why not string shark mines all along our beaches.

There have been 7, yes seven shark bites on North Carolina beaches this summer. There have been 4 in South Carolina. We researched existing shark nets used primarily in South Africa and Australia. They have been almost totally ineffective.

We thought of concealed swim permits so beach goers could pack a version of Dirty Harry's Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum. But that means you have to get the drop on the sharp before one of your limbs drops off in the water around you.

A sobering wake up moment occurred when a friend said, "Common sense. Smart people are simply not going in water that's more than ankle deep."

Mmmmm. Even the water can be on fire when you wade into it.

Do be do be do.


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