Friday, November 15, 2013

JFK Redux

PBS-UNCTV aired a two-part four hour retrospective on JFK. We TIVOed the series and finished watching last night. A heart-rending piece, bringing back many memories of that awful event in 1963. We were 20 somethings, living on Nob Hill in San Francisco, right behind Grace Cathedral. I was traveling a lot. I had in fact just arrived in my corporate home office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was driving a rental car, and had just pulled into the driveway of our office. The radio was on and the announcer was telling us that JFK had just been shot. It was not immediately clear what had happened, or whether the president would be ok. Then came the fatal news. The president was dead . . . dead!. It took some time for that news to sink in. I just sat in the car, in disbelief to what I had just heard. Who, why . .?
I went inside to report what I had just heard. Everyone knew. They all sat around in stunned silence. I called my wife in San Francisco, She answered the phone and told me that, she learned of the news because the bells at Grace Cathedral had been sounding in a mournful alert. She couldn't figure out what was going on, until she tuned in to hear the news herself. She was in deep shock. The news was so hard to grasp. Who would want JFK dead . . . a crazy person? What followed on the news (we had no TV at the time, having thrown out our TV as a useless invention five years earlier) seemed even crazier than our wildest thoughts. The guy who ostensibly did the deed had been caught and was then himself shot by some other bozo, while surrounded by police. Now if all that didn't arouse suspicion of a conspiracy, what would?
But we were stuck with it all. We now lived in a crazy world of thuggish people, armed and willing to kill at the drop of a hat. Nice.
From that point on, the notion of mortality entered my brain and has never left. My fear of flying began. Despite the significant travel I continued to do in my consulting business, I began to hate flying. And now, many years later, we have given up flying, after discovering that today's airlines, led by USAIR, are in fact dysfunctional.
But life goes on, and JFK is an increasingly distant memory. Ah Camelot. It was a wonder for a time . .
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