Baxter Black: The simple answer
March 26, 2011
I was on the shuttle bus to pick up a rental car at the Denver airport when we passed the giant rearing blue horse with glowing red eyes.
On my bus were an oriental man and his child. They were tourists going skiing, or so I deduced from their luggage.
The boy exclaimed, "Daddy, what's the matter with that horse!" I could see the dad trying to think of an answer.
He said, "I think he is … mean."
He might have harbored the suspicion that the red-eyed blue horse was intended to be a politically incorrect slur on equines, or a blatant corporate-funded endorsement for Visine, or a protest against the Denver Broncos, or most likely, the sculptor was related to the present governor of Colorado.
The dad looked at me conspiratorially, thinking, I guess that I might be able to help teach his son a lesson about the dark side of American corruption.
I admit that sometimes I have the urge to butt in. Give him my two cents worth. Maybe even clear things up. Explain the blue horse is an exhibition of modern art and put the kid's fears to rest, but then wisdom overcame my mouth and I realized, "Ya know, I don't have a dog in this hunt."
When we question the motives for someone's action or decision, our imagination can go wild.
My daughter had a suitor. A nice boy, but insecure. I only heard her side of the telephone conversation: "No, but thanks. I just don't feel like going. No, there's nothing wrong. No, I'm fine. Yes, my car is running fine. … No, there's no snowdrift in the driveway. It's nothing you said, I just don't feel like … of course not, there's no one else! Sure, I still love you."
This could go on for hours. Her real reason for not going? She just didn't feel like it.
Ockham's Razor is one of those pieces of wisdom that has lasted through the ages.
It states that the easiest solution is usually the best. Why did the chicken cross the road? She had an intrinsic sense of direction to migrate? She saw a dead bug? She was driven from her homeland by an abusive rooster?
Or, the simple answer — to get to the other side.
How did you get on the top of Mount Everest?
"Well, I was just standin' here and these two Sherpas invited me for lunch."
How did you get to be president of the Rotary Club?
"I missed the last meeting."
How did you manage to stay on that rearin' buckin' horse? That was an amazing ride.
"My jean jacket got hung over the saddle horn."
They tell of a crusty ol' coyote hunting-duster pilot in Montana who was teaching flying lessons.
One particularly talkative student showed up for his sixth lesson. Ol' Montana told him to climb in on the pilot's side, that he was ready to solo.
"Gosh," said the student, "I've only had five lessons, most people say you need at least seven, I'm not sure I'm ready. I've read about the danger of flying before your confidence is built up, the need to know all the rules, and even though I consider myself a good student, I'm just concerned we might be jumpin' the gun. Are you sure I'm ready to solo? What if I crash?"
Ol' Monty patted him on the arm and said, "Son, this isn't my plane and yer no kin to me, so take your best shot."
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