Saturday, July 12, 2014

The fly and the wedding ring

I've transited through the Suez Canal several times, and as anyone who has done this knows, the place is often abuzz with tons of very slow-flying tse-tse flies, ready, willing and able to bite anyone who stands still for more than a nanosecond.

One time, as we moved slowly through the Suez, I was skylarking and enjoying the view of the fishermen and assorted sights in the canal, and I was also screwing around, sloshing my wedding ring in my mouth... I know, I know...

Suddenly one of those giant-sized, slow-flying flies buzzed my face as it tried to land on it... I slapped at it, dislodging my wedding ring from my mouth and sending it hurling through the air.

In one of the great recoveries in modern history, the same hand that had slapped at the fly, accelerated its downward arch, and in a magnificent affirmation of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink theory, snatched the ring in mid flight and saved it from perpetual burial in the murky mud of the canal.

The sailor standing next to me and who had witnessed the whole event, looked at me, shook his head, and then continued to relax by looking at the nearby shore while chewing on a toothpick... "Wife would have never believed the story if you hadn't snatched that puppy in mid air," he commented. "Fear is a powerful motivator," he concluded, still chewing on the toothpick and offering me one.