Saturday, July 28, 2007


My father tells a story that has a certain ending, even though he tried his damnedest to make it turn out differently. He recently wrote:

In 1962, I decided to make a month-long circle tour of Europe, i.e., London, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Innsbruck, Venice, Rome, Nice, Madrid and Paris (the roundtrip fare was only $650.00!).

I had all my hotel and flight reservations made in advance. At one point during the trip I called the airline, AirFrance, to double check on my flights, especially the last one from Paris to New York/Houston. At one point they told me that I was to be changed to another flight out of Paris. I protested this since I had made my reservation months before, plus I wanted to keep to my schedule. They would not relent. From different cities I called AirFrance to try to persuade them to allow me on that original flight. They said, “No. That flight has been taken over by a group so it is no longer available, you have to go on a later flight" (that same day). Even when I got to the airport that day I still argued with them but to no avail. I had to watch "my" flight take off without me.

Well, my new flight was delayed, delayed and delayed and they would not tell the passengers why. When we finally landed in the U.S. I found out why the flight had been delayed. There had been an airplane crash. Soon after take-off “my" plane had crashed. There were no survivors.

Imagine: if my dad had succeeded at getting on that doomed flight, right now I would be -- not. I wonder what never having been born would feel like. Most people think it sounds bad, but I think it might be just fine (and there are certainly times in my life when I would have preferred it). (But not now.)

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