(This one's been heavily paraphrased, for reasons of space. The gist still comes through, I think.)
"Here's what happened to him. Going to lunch he passed an office-building that was being put up--kust the skeleton. A beam or something fell eight or ten stories down and smacked the sidewalk alongside him. ... He was scared stiff of course, he said, but he was more shocked than really frightened. He felt like somebody had taken the lid off life and let him really look at the works.
"The life he knew was a clearn orderly sane responsible affair. Now a falling beam had shown him that life was fundamentally none of these things. He, the good citizen-husband-father, could be wiped out between office and restaurant by the accident of a falling beam.
"It was not, primarily, the injustice of it that disturbed him: he accepted that after the first shock. What disturbed him was the discovery that in sensibly ordering his affairs he had got out of step, and not into step, with life. ... Life could be ended for him at random by a falling beam: he would change his life at random by simply going away. He loved his family, he said, as much as he supposed was usual, but he knew he was leaving them adequately provided for, and his love for them was not of the sort that would make absence painful.
"[He] settled in Spoke and got married. His second wife didn't look like the first, but they were more alike than they were different. You know, the kind of women that play fair games of golf and bridge and like new salad recipes. He wasn't sorry for what he had done. It seemed reasonable enough to him. I don't think he even knew he had settled back naturally into the same groove he had jumped out of in Tacoma. But that's the part of it I always liked. He adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to them not falling."
--The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett