For What It’s Worth

Dropping in out of the blue

Most of us have heard some version of the old expression that something just happened from out of the blue or dropped in from out of the blue. It’s a euphemistic way of saying that something happened unexpectedly.

Two events this week may give new meaning to something “dropping in from out of the blue.” Both involved a bird dropping something from the sky; in one instance it was what you would expect from a bird, a “dropping,” and in one instance it was not something you would have expected a bird to drop.

One of the bird incidents, if you can swallow this story, happened in San Juan Capistrano, but the bird involved was not a swallow. The object that fell out of the blue sky was a shark. Impossible, you say, because your immediate vision of a shark is a dorsal-finned, six-foot long, white monster with jaws open showing razor-shard teeth, looking for lunch and any nearby surfer would fit the menu.

In this case, the shark falling from out of the blue was a 2-foot-long leopard shark, which gets its name from the leopard-like spots it sports. (Clever name, huh?) The shark landed on the 12th tee of the San Juan Hills Golf Club. Fortunately, no one was on the tee. Might not have been good for the club’s reputation if the headline had been, “Golfer assaulted on tee by shark attacking from the sky.” Come to think of it, a golfer wounded by a shark on his or her tee time might make an interesting tea time story.

So, how do we know a bird was part of this story? The shark was bleeding from puncture wounds it is surmised occurred while a bird had the shark in its grasp. The type of bird is not known, but I doubt that it was a swallow returning to Capistrano because a swallow doesn’t have that kind of claws.

Believe it or not, the shark survived, not just its unexpected airlifting from the sea by the unknown bird and its landing on the tee but also what followed. In a desire to help the shark survive, three people put it into a bucket of water and then, remembering that the shark was not a fresh water fish, they stirred up some “homemade sea water” using sea salt from the golf club’s kitchen. Knowing they needed to get the bruised and beleaguered shark back to the ocean as soon as possible, they took a picture of it to document the event and headed to the ocean where they put the shark in the water. It flipped around briefly and took off.

I assume the shark has been reunited with its buddies, but I doubt that it is telling the story of what happened. What shark in its right mind would believe that story?

The AP news story reported that this was the first time anyone could remember a shark falling from the sky at the golf course (now that’s a revelation, don’t you think?), but the other instance last week of a “dropping” from the sky is something that will, no doubt, be remembered by the parties involved.

You may not be surprised to learn that this other out-of-the-blue incident also occurred in California. This time the bird incident happened in San Francisco, where, I suspect but can’t prove, the bird culprit was a sea gull. I suppose, though, that it could have been a swallow that had lost its way to San Juan Capistrano.

News anchor Paul Robins of Sacramento’s KTXL morning show and his co-anchor, Bethany Crouch, were doing a live broadcast outside the San Francisco Giants’ baseball stadium, which is next to the bay (hence my suspicion of a gull). The occasion was the World Series in which the Giants are playing the Detroit Tigers.

As Robins was chattering away he was bombed from the sky by a bird. The dropping from out of the blue splattered on the left lens of his glasses and sprayed residue on his coat. Robins remained surprising cool throughout the incident, avoiding any unseemly expletives, but his co-anchor lost it. She doubled over in laughter. Her laughter was a sight to see, and the sea gull no doubt saw it. Thus, I think, we had a girl on the ground laughing and perhaps a gull in the sky laughing.

Robins joked that one of his goals in life had been to be a YouTube hit. Now, he has achieved that goal.

While it may not seem so, there may be a life lesson here for all of us. One or more times in our lives we experience something befalling us from out of the blue. We, like the shark, may feel that we were snatched up unexpectedly and dropped into unfamiliar territory, where we were not sure how we would survive. Or, like the news anchor, we may be victim to something unpleasant smacking us from out of the blue.

Either way, how we react and how we handle the circumstance will help determine how the circumstance affects us. Maybe we can’t do much other than just survive until we find ourselves back in familiar territory. And maybe the best thing to do is learn to laugh at our circumstances rather than allowing them to make us mad or embittered. They might even be more memorable that way; at least, they would be more fun to remember.

Meanwhile, if you go to California, keep an eye on the sky. You never know what might be falling out of the blue.


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