When I was about ten years old, I was the typically awkward boy who liked to tell bad jokes, and I laughed at the silliest and grossest of things. For my birthday that year, my stepsisters gave me The World’s Largest Joke Book. It was about sixteen inches long and at least three inches thick with vivid colored pages. Immediately, they wished they had not purchased this gift for me. I was already dangerous on my own with jokes. Now I had hundreds of pages of jokes and one-liners to fire at everyone I saw. They regretted giving me this book for many years. The title of this chapter was one of the many things I found in the book. I did not get its meaning at the time, or even why it was in a joke book, but I have thought of it often since then.
Believe it or not, I don’t go to many movies. I do notice the trailers, however. It is interesting to me how many movies involve speeding cars and fast drivers. I remember from my youth the Cannonball Run series. There also was Smokey and the Bandit. Since then, we have had Days of Thunder, Speed, Drive, and Gone in Sixty Seconds. The Fast and Furious series has been a huge moneymaker. More recently, we have had The Need for Speed and Rush. Pixar even got into the mix of portraying fast cars in its animated-feature movie, Cars.
We are infatuated with driving fast. We want to watch cars go fast. Then, we want to drive our own cars fast. What is it about speed that we need?
It may be just me, but all of these fast-driving, speed, and thrill-seeking movies involve young and good-looking people. I get it! A movie about grandpa speeding around the corner at thirty-five miles an hour in his dirty, orange Plymouth Duster is probably not going to do much for anyone. Bright and fast cars are supposed to be driven by young and beautiful people. Speed is younger people’s stuff!
However, I know many of these movies are being watched by older men like me who long ago traded the souped-up Mustangs of their youth for a beat-up Saturn sedan or a mini-van. I cannot go too fast in my current car. It starts to shake at about 55 miles per hour. Anything much faster and I will get a teeth-rattling ride where I will either have to stop and go to the bathroom or risk that something will fall off the car. Older people, like me in our older and slower cars, just cannot handle fast.
The older I get, the more I want to slow down. I am starting to realize how much I may have missed in my youthful speeding through life. Things that grow and move slowly tend to live longer. This is true for trees, and it is true for people. There is so much life to be lived and enjoyed. If we are going too fast, we will miss it. Slowing down makes it more enjoyable, and no doubt safer, to drive the roads of life.
I want to slow down and soak up all there is to see. I want to enjoy the scenery, meet people I have always wanted to meet, and take in history and beauty everywhere. I don’t want to miss anything or anyone beautiful, interesting, or original.
I can find all of this and more everywhere I go if I am going slow enough to see it. I don’t know whether I want to live to see 100, but I do want to move safely and securely through whatever years of life I have left. I don’t feel the need for speed. I have had enough of that stuff. I want to see all I can see and make sure I am around to enjoy it all.