But Answer Came There None

It has been said that neuroses might be graded according to the inability to tolerate ambiguous situations. Another revealing factor surely is the way in which a man copes when confronted by the unexpected. Look how some opportunist on the New York Times went all madly partisan on the front page (no less) when the Mets did the miraculous this fall—as ambiguous and unexpected a circumstance as you will find.

Another press report last week offered a touching little cameo in telling how something literally out of the blue caught up with a holidaying couple. I quote: “Mr. Joe Clarkson and his wife Mona were strolling along the beach when a voice from the skies politely asked them to move out of the way.” The speaker was a pilot whose engine had failed and who was silently sweeping toward them for an emergency landing. Though the incident itself was not without interest, I liked best of all the sequel as solemnly given by the reporter: “Later the pilot apologized to the couple on the beach.” He acted like a gentleman throughout. In a tight ambiguous corner I could trust myself to a boy like that; he evidently has not a neurotic bone in his body.

Billy Graham tells that on the very day he arrived in England to conduct a crusade some years ago, a balloon enthusiast complained in a national newspaper that “the British regard balloons with utter indifference.” When floating over the country, he declared, he would call down to people, but they completely ignored him. Above his lament was the poignant headline: “If you hear a voice coming from the sky, please talk back.”

While I have always admired English aplomb I doubt if there is a more depressing sight ...

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