Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ask Gideon Welles

Dear Gideon,

Several years ago I was crossing some railroad tracks when I spotted a youngster fast asleep between the rails. He was sleeping so soundly that I did not bother to wake him, even though several coal freights passed through town each hour. Did I do the right thing? --Slightly Curious

Dear Samaritan,

You not only did the right thing but the sensible thing as well. Children so often misbehave when they are awoken from a nap prematurely; the resultant mayhem and hi jinx would no doubt have caused you much grief. I once left a sleeping newborn tied to the bottom of a threshing machine for this reason, and while the results of that decision were far from picturesque, to say the least, I’m sure things worked out much better in your situation. It is a little-known fact that locomotives can stop almost at will, and--if the engineer in question was as observant as his arduous task requires--he spied your young sleepyhead with plenty of time to stop before greasing his wheels with him.


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