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Journal Writing Project: Andy Wolter


Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

You’ll never figure everything out. That’s life, no matter how much you hope and plan, there is nothing to guarantee anything will ever work. I guess that’s what makes life worth living, the fact you will never figure everything out, and the fact that it could change drastically or end at any moment. Think about it, you could’ve crashed your car on the way to work this morning and now instead of reading the paper at the end of the day, you could be in intensive care, or worse.

That is how much a life could change in a matter of hours, (or minutes or seconds) and that isn’t even too drastic in the big swing of things considering people are hurt or killed in car crashes all the time -- it just won’t happen to us we all think, right?

Not that I am pessimistic most everything goes two ways, for all I know, you could’ve got a lottery ticket on the way to work this morning, and now you never have to worry about work again if you know what I mean, but that doesn’t happen to us right?

I guess death and winning a hundred million (or so) dollars could be considered extreme examples of bad and good luck, but luck might be something so sublime -- to a point where you could never notice it, most people don’t think about it at all. Luck could be being randomly late enough to avoid a drunk driver who could’ve potentially killed you, that’s good luck most people seem not to notice.

Examine the intricacy of life some time. Everything you know as familiar and standard is the product of millions of random occurrences that could’ve been altered by nearly anything, at least I think so. We’ve all heard the term “I was in the right place at the right time” we all could be at the “right place” at the “right time” considering we’ve all been to a lot of places and a lot of “times,” unless you’ve managed to skip reality somehow.

Thinking about intricacy, try looking at it on a genetic level. How unique one person can be, in reality, is staggering. Has anyone ever called you “one in a million?” They aren’t doing justice to reality, I’ll tell you “Here’s something to think about: one human couple can produce 70,368,774,177,664 (70 trillion) variations of offspring. That’s only combining two people. Take into consideration that there are more than 6,000,000,000 people on Earth anyone want to figure out how many different ways you could pair 6,000,000,000 people? The odds of you being you are mind boggling.

In some ways you could think of life like a race track where no one is necessarily in a higher place or “faster” than anyone else; no one will ever do exactly the same thing as someone else, but people are more or less doing random things. (Not that things are meaningless, but every action you take is determined by where you are, or where you have been; I mean you wouldn’t be reading this if you live in Utah, and have never even heard of Fillmore County.) Then when and if two people’s paths will ever cross is determined by the order of every action taken, and the length of time that action took. Here is an example: Two people are walking around a big town, they have never met, and they are not intending to meet, or go to the same place at all. Person one is waiting in a line for lunch at a street vendor’s. Person one eventually gets his food, and goes on his way. As he is walking down the street, he dodges a bystander who had stopped to tie his/her shoe. Person one wasn’t looking where he was dodging, and accidentally bumped into Person two, who had just happened to pass him at that exact moment. Say Person one accidentally knocks a book out of Person two’s arms, and as he stops to pick the book up and return it to Person two, he notices that he is currently reading the same book. Person one mentions the coincidence, and chats shortly about the book with Person two.

Not a big incident, but everything that happened was a direct result of everything that had happened earlier (and possibly long before) that meeting. They would not have met if anything had happened differently; their meeting more or less hinged on the fact that some random bystander noticed his/her shoe was untied. It almost seems too simple, an untied shoe could change any number of things.

It’s interesting, life. It never ceases to confuse and entertain me, and I don’t think I’d enjoy being alive if I ever figured it out, life I mean.

Andy Wolter is a student at Rushford-Peterson High School.The Journal Writing Project focuses on the writing of area young people.

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