A Train Wreck Waiting to Happen (G)
Tom is applying for a job as a signalman for the local railroad, and is told to meet the inspector at the signal box.
The inspector decides to give Tom a pop quiz, asking, "What would you do if you realized that two trains were heading towards each other on the same track?"
Tom says, "I would switch one train to another track."
"What if the lever broke?" asks the inspector.
"I'd run down to the tracks and use the manual lever," answers Tom.
"What if that had been struck by lightning?" challenges the inspector.
"Then," Tom continues, "I'd run back up here and use the phone to call the next signal box."
"What if the phone was busy?"
"In that case," Tom argues, "I'd run to the street level and use the public phone near the station".
"What if that had been vandalized?"
"Oh, well," says Tom, "in that case I'd run into town and get my Uncle Leo."
This puzzles the inspector, so he asks, "Why would you do that?"
"Because he's never seen a train crash."
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Mundane Journeys through an Amazing World
begins with Interstate 80. Not the most engaging topic, I know, but when you think about it, I-80 runs all the way across the North American continent linking San Francisco and New York. It's not just a ribbon of asphalt, it's a portal to far away, almost magical places.
My visits to major cities like Tokyo, London and Washington DC have been business affairs. I haven't rode a lot of roller coasters or ridden in open air buses, but I have visited with senators, bought yams from the back of a truck and barely escaped complete embarrassment when I was introduced to Matt Wiener in Vegas.
As I wrote the book I realized that over the years exotic, distant places have become more like the mundane places I've called home. But, as it turns out, there really aren't any mundane places, only mundane ways of looking at things.
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