Others had tried, but Wilbur and Orville did it! And a whole new means of transportation was born.
I’m sure there’s a fascinating story here, because everything is fascinating, but I don’t have the time for fascination right now, so I’ll just let it go at that.
The point I’m trying to make is that some ideas or inventions or behaviors are so exciting that they just take off. In the case of the Wright brothers, of course, this was literally the case as well as figuratively. Not only did their little plane take off, so the did the whole idea of flying. In less than 25 years, Charles Lindbergh was making history by flying across the Atlantic. And within 40 years or so after that, everyone was flying all over the place.
Of course, planes were still a little scary and complex compared to something else that “took off” around the same time, namely, the automobile. AUTOmobile just sounded so good! We didn’t have to be dependent on a train or a horse to get us around. We could be mobile on our own! Who knew then that we’d be destroying the planet? Or that eventually automobile traffic on a beautiful fall day in upstate New York would paralyze us? Who knew then that we would have trouble finding a place to park?! Who cared? We could drive, we could fly, and we were happy! And people who invested in this stuff made lots and lots and lots of money.
But it’s not just inventions that take off. It’s also behaviors. And thank God for that! I sometimes think about an aging group of prehistoric Neanderthalian men, a bunch of hunters who somehow got stranded. Their memories are going and they are sadly watching their numbers diminish, but they’re momentarily very excited because one of them has just discovered fire.
One evening when they are happily roasting mastodon meat, which, as you all know, is very tough when uncooked, one of their younger members, who’s been out in the woods for a couple of years, comes back and says, “Guys, you are not going to believe this!”
“Hold on there, young fella,” says one of them. “We just made this great discovery! When you rub two sticks together, you get this weird orange thing that you can’t touch, but lets us make the best darn mastodon meal you’ve ever tasted!”
“Believe me, that’s nothing!” replies the younger guy. “What I discovered is even bigger than that round thing Steve made that’s so much fun to roll down the hill.
“Listen, I was out there feeling pretty lonely, and I happened to run into this young Neanderthalian who looked a little different from us -- smaller, a different kind of body type, a higher-pitched voice. Anyhow, we started talking -- or the Neanderthalian equivalent -- and we even touched each other a little.”
At this point, his friends kind of looked at each other, since it seemed so un-Neanderthalian to touch.
He went on.
“Well, then strange things began to happen, and, how can I put this, one thing led to another, and I felt very, very good -- I mean, really good. I think this smaller Neanderthalian did, too, but who knows, since I fell asleep.
“Anyhow, I hung around with this person for a while -- and learned that the difference between us was that I was called a man and she was called a woman -- and I kind of got to like her. But that’s not the big story!
“The big story is that we did that thing again from time to time -- like every few hours!...”
Now his friends were definitely getting interested. Much Neanderthalian murmuring ensued.
“But wait, there’s more. In fact, here’s the best part: A few months later she started getting bigger -- not overall bigger, but her tummy. And then, some months after that, a tiny Neanderthalian emerged! Well, it wasn’t all that easy. I think it did hurt her some, since she did scream a bit. But then she seemed very happy.
“I mean, guys, this is even better than that hot orange stuff and that round thing! It’s a way to keep us going! And believe me, it is fun.”
Of course, this took off even faster than flying did, even though with communications being what they were in those days, it took a while for word to spread. And eventually females began to realize that they weren’t getting a fair shake in all of this, and the women’s movement was born, and this spread almost as fast as flying and made it much harder for guys to keep being Neanderthals.