- - Friday, August 14, 2015

British people are often stereotyped as having a stiff upper lip, able to weather tempests without breaking a sweat. If life hands you lemons, make lemonade — that sort of thing.

So I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised when the news from London in yesterday’s Telegraph reported:

Elderly man smokes pipe as his car sinks in a lake: Man appeared unconcerned as he awaited rescue from the water

The man in his eighties had gone to fish, but ended up driving his Ford Focus right into the water. Emergency services were called as the other fisherman on the lake watched the car begin to sink, ever so slowly.

Side note: if the marketing department of the Ford Motor Company has an ounce of creativity, they’ll be all over this news story. “Our cars sink slow” could be the next advertising campaign.

But the fact that a car went into a lake (or pond? hard to tell for sure, and you know how Brits use words in strange ways) is not newsworthy—at least not worth hearing about across the Atlantic Ocean (otherwise known as “across the pond”). What makes this story special is the man’s calm response:

West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “After his car ended up in the water, he smoked his pipe and chatted to the farmer who went into the lake in his waders. …”The fishermen said they heard an almighty splash but he was just sitting there and carried on smoking his pipe while the car sank. It went up to the car windows in the end but he just kept puffing away - completely unperturbed by what had happened.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6).

Or, in the modern paraphrase of this man from Warwickshire: “Keep Calm and Smoke a Pipe.”

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