OpinionJune 18, 2024
From checkout lines to cosmic questions, Don “Sneii” Runnels reflects on life's mysteries, blending humor, wisdom and existential musings. Discover his unique take on freedom, UFOs and the nature of time.
Don "Sneii" Runnels
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"You don't know nothin' 'bout nothin.'" I overheard a shopper say that to another person in a checkout line the other day. I was reminded of Mammy as portrayed by award-winning Hattie McDaniel in the Hollywood classic, "Gone With The Wind." Both shoppers were laughing. I addressed the man about half my age, saying, "Looks to me like she's just about nailed you," and we all laughed. Thinking back on it, she nailed me too, along with a bunch of other people.

I took a course sometime back in "wisdom." I told my wife, "When I get through, I'll be so full of it you won't be able to stand me." She said, "You already are."

A few things I'm pretty sure of:

  • The link between freedom and responsibility can be confused, but not broken.
  • Simple answers are hardest to find.
  • Every action needs an equal and opposite reaction, or else chaos.
  • Those who obey laws don't need them; those who don't, do.
  • Large populations always have deviants.
  • Best prescription for longevity is: Trust in the Lord, physical exercise, mental exercise, and a positive attitude.

We think we need to have answers for everything. And when we don't, we make 'em up. Egyptian Sphinx,

Stonehenge, the list goes on. Who made them? Why, when and how? Most "answers" have holes.

On TV the other day, some guy was pushing his latest book. He said every time he finds an answer, it raises more questions. Probably the smartest thing he ever learned. God made this universe bigger than we can imagine, and us just smart enough to think we understand some of it.

A bone fragment no bigger than a fingernail is found. Next thing you know, the man was 5 feet 6 inches tall, had brown eyes and hair, and weighed 174 pounds. He also practiced human sacrifices, especially young virgins. Nowadays the specimen was transsexual, concerned about climate change.

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Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) are making a comeback. We all know about Roswell, New Mexico, and some have heard about the Cape Girardeau incident, but no one ever heard of the Leopold event. That's because the farmer didn't want folks thinking he wears tin-foil hats. New sightings reveal technology that is truly amazing. Little blobs that dart around at speeds beyond accepted physical boundaries, yet camera technology has developed far enough to make them look like they're standing still. Then the little dude streaks off too fast for the cameras to track. Maybe flying saucers have always been around. An ancient map shows South America in proper orientation with Africa. DaVinci art shows things in the sky that make no sense. Maybe endtime predictors are right. In the last days there will be sights and wonders in the sky.

My late sister, Margie Liley, left me a book, "Life After Life," by Dr. Raymond A. Moody Jr., a medical doctor's scientific study of stories related to such things. He's interviewed hundreds of cases, writing only about 150 who meet his criteria. Although the variants are many, some characteristics appear somewhat typical. Travel through a dark region with a light at the far end. Then the light is brighter than the sun, but not blinding. Time and space are no more. Life flashes before you in detail, instantaneously. No judgment, but what was learned from the situations. Some have encounters with others who have gone on before. Then comes the option to continue the journey or return to life, but those recorded were not given a choice. One mother, upon return, heard her little boy's prayer, "Please, God, bring my mommy back to me."

Years ago, our teenaged son, Eric, was traveling a familiar county road and passed an old man getting mail from his mailbox. He thought that was strange, being near midnight, but moved on. Days later he told a friend about the incident, and the friend, who was more familiar with the area, said, "Why, that old man died years ago." Maybe the old man had yet to end his journey.

In that world, it could be that time and space are not. Dr. Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton both studied the space-time continuum. But Einstein also postulated that while in one universe, you can't make judgment calls in another. Apostle Peter said, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Maybe time is just a tool that helps us keep events in order.

Within the computer world, there's an interesting example. Early computers could run only one program (app) at a time. Nowadays they can execute several apps at once, but not really. It's called "time sharing." An app can be running when along comes another with higher priority. The first is "interrupted," that is, stopped dead and stored. Control passes to the other until it completes, or is interrupted. With completion of each app, its predecessor is restored and resumes as though nothing happened. It works because computers run billions of times faster than people can think, so no one knows when an interrupt occurs. Maybe other things work like that. We're trucking along just fine when an interrupt comes; we don't age, our hair doesn't grow, our hearts don't even beat. It could last a thousand years, but nothing would have changed and we wouldn't even know it happened.

"I ain't braggin', it's understood. Everything I do, well I sure do it good." ("Mean Woman Blues," composed by Claude Demetrius and performed by Roy Orbison.)

I don't know nothin' 'bout nothin'.

DON “SNEII” RUNNELS is a Bollinger County native now living in Cape Girardeau. His column runs once a month, usually on the second Wednesday. He is the brother of the late Tom Runnels.

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