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Thursday, July 16, 1998

Just One Of Those Things

You were waiting at the airport. At first the plane was late. Then there was a problem, and in the end the plane was down, all passengers dead. Driving home, your world was ruined, all your plans are gone, and you cried all the way into next week. In the shadows of your dispair you asked why ... why ... why?

The investigation continued. There were rumors about government mixups, missiles off course, faulty gas tanks and it all seemed to be in slow-motion with muffled sounds as you emotional swam back to the surface of a reality that you never wanted to reach. Why, why, why... comes the thought with each attempt to climb up through the depths. No answer other than the fact: the incontrovertible, the unacceptable. Gone.

Two years after the crash of TWA 800, the National Transportation Safety Board is moving toward finishing its investigation without knowing the source of the "spark" that touched off the explosion that destroyed the Boeing 747 on July 17, 1996. The focus is moving away from descovery of the cause to "prevention" of another similar incident. "As far as I know, they're not even close to any probable cause," stated a highly-placed spokesman for the airline.

So, in the end, it's just "one of those things." In the affairs of men and women, of human beings, events occur that will not be explained no matter how hard you investigate, no matter how hard you try. "Just one of those things." Instead of an important event in history from which we all learn so much, or a tragedy that changes the way business or life is conducted, or even something that becomes part of the lore of humanity, some things become just, "One of those things."

And as the victims died and were gone, so in the end will those who remember the victims be dead and gone, one by one, until it is finally over. TWA 800 is fading out, from saliency to footnote, from footnote to the archives, and from the archives on to the dust of human history.

Like a well-piloted plane making its final approach, smoothly, predictably, comfortably, TWA 800 is now descending on a pre-planned flight path into the forgetteries of human recall. Landing softly and silently in posterity's oblivion, there is no cause of its disaster, so in the end, it didn't really happen. It was just one of those things. See you next time.