What if? It’s an interesting question that can revive boring dinner conversations and inspire books, such as Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us (one of my favorite reads) and Ted Koppel’s Lights Out. Observing what’s going on around the globe, it might seem prudent to stop asking about the if and prepare for the when.
Sailing on the “good ship serendipity” is a promising tactic for punching your ticket to adventure.
“Ready?” the skipper asks. The guys nod as they stack up on the windward rail, all the way aft. Everything is just as it always is. Then comes the command: “Unfurl!” In a flash the R1 reaching sail, all 1,200 square feet of it, is catching the breeze off Newport, Rhode Island, as the crew grinds in the sheet. And all of a sudden, nothing is as it always is. The helmsman heads up slightly to build pressure, and the boat leaps forward, spray flying off the leeward bow as it shaves the crests off the little waves. Faster, faster and faster still.
They call him Doc. Not for what he does now, but for what once was his occupation: flying helicopter search-and-rescue missions as a hospital corpsman and fleet marine medic.
Go ahead, twist your tongue and call him Poprishchin, the protagonist in Nikolai Gogol’s short story “Diary of a Madman.” Although he’s not a schizophrenic like Poprishchin, he, too, does crazy things — but a different kind of crazy.
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