A man wearing a beret and a trench coat made eye contact with me from 25 yards away and approached me conspiratorially while grinning, pleased with himself with what he was going to say.
If I live another year I’ll be 61. How old are you?
Weirdos approach my table all the time but I had no idea where this guy was going with his line of questioning. I wasn’t in for a creative approach and neither was my visitor.
But this wasn’t a run of the mill weirdo. He was dressed better and with better diction.
“39” was my quizzical reply.
If you live to my age you’ll be luck indeed. Now Mr. Yamaguchi made it to 93!
I was confused but a shadow of a memory that made sense scattered into my mind and drew me to interject…
Do you mean the Yamaguchi who was the only known survivor of both the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Wasn’t he traveling on business at the time and died recently?
The trenchcoated beret man looked like a cryptographer who was pleased that his message landed in the right hands and mysteriously smiled as he said:
Oh, you know this? Then don’t talk to me about fate.
And then he was off.
No matter how theistic or karma based your belief system is or is not – surviving the only two atomic blasts used in warfare ever is a remarkable fate indeed. Yamaguchi’s story is just stunning and incomprehensible.
Was trenchcoated beret man saying we are fated to survive horrendous shocks in our lives?
Or was he saying that despite surviving Hiroshima and Nagasaki (good fate?) he died anyway?
I don’t know what the message of this interaction was but it filled me with delight. It was so obscure and secret.
How did that little clue pull all the right memories together on my end?
I don’t know – but don’t talk to me about fate.