On October 3, 1951, according to a recent book by Don DeLillo, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb, dropping it on the Polo Grounds in New York City just as Bobby Thomson was hitting his memorable home run, and incinerating, among others, Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover, and Willie Mays.
DeLillo may be off a bit in his facts, but he makes his point, loud and clear. My life, like most modern novels, parallels, and sometimes overshadows, the great events of our time.
For example, on the day ("Black Monday") in 1987 when the stock market fell more than 500 points, I had the flu and was leaning over a toilet bowl, totally involved in my own condition, ignorant of the dramatic events on Wall Street. Not that I have stocks or anything.
In 1969, when man first walked on the moon, I had something going on that night that was more important, but I forget what.
On the day of the "cosmic convergence" I was at the dentist, having a filling replaced.
On the night when televisions everywhere were tuned to live coverage of the opening shots of the Gulf War, I was stuck in a sub-standard hotel in Baghdad (of all places!), with no TV (they had a massive power outage that night!).
While everyone else was watching Ellen "come out" on her sitcom, I was watching a tape of the previous week's episode.
But I did witness, firsthand, one of the seminal events of the Twentieth Century, and no one can take that memory away from me.