HOT SHEET: Chuck Yeager, adieu

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, paragraph stacker, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONLY: Chuck Yeager died today. So it goes. You can’t cry. Not really. This was a man who lived a full life. The man broke the sound barrier. Few humans have ever poked the laws of physics in the eye and lived to tell about. Hell, the man fell off a horse, cracked some ribs and then broke the sound barrier. Few people inspire their fellow humans as much as Yeager did in his lifetime. He did what nobody thought was possible at a time in America when the country seemed to get together and do amazing, impossible things all the time. I didn’t grow up in Yeager’s America. I grew up in a selfish, preening and bloviating nation. We sound tough. But we are a bunch of tender fairytale princesses unable to sleep because of a single pea somewhere between our mattresses stacked to the ceiling. Chuck Yeager was rough. The man had gravel in his guts. Higher. Faster. Farther. Damn, we could use some people like Yeager again. He was the stuff of legend, except legends are lies. He actually did it. My friend tells the best Chuck Yeager story I’ve ever heard. She worked at the Smithsonian and Yeager was there, likely to remind people what a bonafide BMF looks like. She stood behind him in the cafeteria line. Yeager ordered a grilled cheese with extra potato chips. He was a leader even then, my friend said. Until that moment she didn’t know you could even ask for more potato chips. Yeager probably didn’t either. He was not the kind of guy who believed in limits.

Daniel P. Finney never passed up extra potatoes chips.

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