In a flash, life can change on you

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

As I type this, I’m dripping a little bit after having run to my car in the middle of Tuesday’s afternoon downpour.

We had to shut down all the computers in the office after lightning hit a little too close to the building and knocked some things out of the front office window.

It reminded me of a movie we watched over the weekend — “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” — which if memory serves me (and right now, that’s all I have because the lightning knocked out the Internet) it was loosely based on a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It told of a child born as an old man who as he grew older, actually got younger. It was quite poignant, and a great movie if you’ve never seen it. Just make sure you’ve got some tissues handy.

Benjamin’s mother dies giving birth to him, so his father abandons him on the steps of a early 1900s nursing home in New Orleans. There, one of the residents is an elderly man who’s been struck by lightning seven times. As Benjamin grows older (Or younger. Take your pick.), we get random stories of the lightning strikes.

I don’t think it ever outlined just how those seven incidents happened, and as I jetted between the cars to grab my laptop, I hoped that it wouldn’t be the start of my “Did you know I was struck by lightning outside The Star-News office?” list.

As the storm moved through the area, I thought about how quickly life can change. One instant you’re flying high, on top of the world, and the next, you’re as low as can be.

Today’s paper is filled with those stories.

One minute, two girls from Birmingham are riding down Ala. Hwy. 137, having a great time. The next minute, they’ve t-boned a station wagon carrying three girls and their grandmother.

One minute, twins from Opp are sitting and watching television. The next, they’re being pulled out of the family pool after drowning.

How do you recover from something like that?

I am amazed at the strength and fortitude of the Ramer family. I’d finished writing the story on today’s front page and decided to take a look at the family’s blog. After reading a bit, I came across another link that outlined the events of that day from their mother’s point of view. It was amazing; it was devastating; it made me cry.

I guess life is a lot like a lightning strike. It comes at you from out of the blue, and bam, in one moment, in one instant, things are changed forever.