For my birthday last year I received “Under the Dome” and “11.22.63”, both by Stephen King but neither actually from him (he never remembers my birthday but that’s OK because, given he doesn’t know I exist, it would be creepy, even by his standards, if he did). Now both these books are a thousand pages plus and I needed to do exercises to build up my arm muscles so I could hold the book when reading it. I polished off “Under the Dome” (what the hell was the TV series based on? I gave up after series one.) in a couple of months and, after a suitable period of relaxation for my biceps to recover, manfully* started on “11.22.63”.
In it, the character refers, more than once, to the idea that “life turns on a dime”. Today, I stumbled across a real-life example of this.
The guitarist, Tommy Allup, died on the 11th of January 2017. He was 85 and you probably don’t know his name – I didn’t recognise it, but he was considered one of the best rockabilly guitarists ever. Once he had established himself, he started to play with famous American musicians and tour with them.
On one tour, he flipped a coin to decide whether he travelled through vicious snow and ice storms in the Mid-West on the tour bus or in an aeroplane. He lost the bet and took the bus.
His mode of transport was decided on the flip of a coin. The winner, musician Richie Valens, took the seat on the plane, along with Buddy Holly.
The plane crashed shortly after take-off.
It was the day that Don McLean later called “the day the music died”.
For some, life really does “turn on a dime”.
* As manfully as it gets for someone who gets tired from holding a paperback.