Fanfare for the Common Man: Stand By Me?

  • Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It is curiosity that fuels the explorer’s fire.
I can feel the burning that Columbus must have felt deep inside his gut as he stood on the shores of the Atlantic and looked west, pondering, “What is that out there?”
That burning, that desire to know, surely festered in Columbus something awful, enough to make him hire three ships and set off for the New World in 1492.
My newspaper brethren, Frank and Stefan, shared that same burning sensation of curiosity as we gazed to the north, down the railroad tracks passing through Moncks Corner at the white object in the far distance.
What made us stop and regard this inanimate white object every week as we head back from lunch, laughing in the face of danger, standing in the middle of the tracks to feed our curiosity and try to discern an object we could hardly see? Lewis and Clark must’ve felt this same way.
“We should walk the tracks and find out what that is,” Frank said.
This is the same Frank who stood about four feet from these very tracks to try and get a photo of me as I flew past at 90 mph an hour, a passenger on an Amtrak train four years ago, not thinking that he could have lost his head from a flying piece of track debris kicked up by the passing train.
Nor was he aware of the serious backwash of wind stirred up by a 20-ton hunk of metal barreling down the tracks like Dale Earnhardt at Daytona, that almost knocked him over and did a Marilyn Monroe on our office manager’s dress.
These are the stories that persevere over time, to be told again and again, like every time we traverse the railroad tracks on our way to lunch.
It’s almost required reading, like the Sofa Super Store couch purchase column I wrote four years ago. You have to read it to believe it.
Stefan doesn’t say much other than whatever it is we do I should be the one to write about it. Stefan is just a kid by my 54-year-old standards.
We are writer types and we writer types have very over active imaginations. We think outside the box. We imagine and expect to be real what others barely conceive in their worst nightmares.
“Hey, what if we find a dead body along the tracks like they did in the movie ‘Stand by Me?’”
This is Frank again.
Frank sometimes thinks way outside the box.
I’m still trying to get my arms around the idea of walking the railroad tracks.
The concept involves the “W” word – Walking, which is kin to the “E” word – Exercise, and also is probably utilizing the “I” word as well – Illegal because we are engaging in the “T” word – Trespassing. Plus, telling by the white object in the distance, which I think is the bridge spanning the Tailrace Canal, we would be walking a far piece.
If this is so then the “M” words – Many and Miles are used, and that tells me I’m going to be walking that far over cross ties and rocks, and God forbid, what do I do if a train comes? I know what a trestle is.
Then I would have to utilize the “J” word – Jump, which would result in the “F” word – Fall, and probably the other better known “F” word because it would hurt like “H” word.

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