41st: Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes, it savours of arrogance.
I'm a proud
ASHES OR STRIPPERS?
4 October 2004
With Mt. St. Helen set to blow her top again, I'm thinking back to my history with this mountain.
It was 1980 and our first Brasilian student, Eduardo, was staying with us. We had made plans to drive north, up to Oregon, on a camping trip when the invitation came to attend a surprise 50th birthday party for our friend Richard.
The party turned out to be incredible. Richard wears glasses and has a moustache and the joke has always been about how he looks like he's wearing a nose and glasses. In fact, one of the famous photos in this family is of David and Richard--which I always called the "father and son" photo.
So the plan for Richard's birthday was that when he arrived home, everyone in the house (including his 80 year old mother) would be wearing nose and glasses. Then, as the party progressed, a stripper would show up at the door and the only thing she would be wearing was a nose and glasses.
It sounded like great fun, but we left the decision to Eduardo--he could come with us to the party (what red blooded Brasilian was going to turn down an opportunity to party with a stripper), or we could go on our planned trip to Oregon.
Amazingly, Eduardo chose Oregon. So we went off to Oregon, on our grand camping trip, driving up the coast of California and Oregon until we arrived in Portland.
Portland is not exactly in the shadow of Mt. St. Helen's--it looks like maybe 50 miles away or so. So while we couldn't see the mountain, the area where we were staying was still covered in ash. It was so weird...the leaves on the plants were grey, and there were little piles of ash everywhere. We were concerned about possibly breathing ash still in the air, so we all wore masks when we were out and about where we might breathe it.
(well, except for Ned...)
The kids, entrepreneurs that they were, collected ash and decided when we came home that they would sell it.
So we came home and they set up a lemonade/volcanic ash stand. I don't remember how much they charged, but a pittance. The newspaper came out and took pictures of them because (a) they were so cute, and (b) they had real volcanic ash.
But an irate father came to the stand in the afternoon and demanded his son's money back because he felt the kids had cheated him and were selling fireplace ash and pretending it was volcanic ash. We couldn't convince him otherwise. The kid's dime was refunded.
I did actually get to Mt. St. Helen's in 2000, when Peggy and I visited Diane. It was a day when we laughed a lot and Diane took our photo standing in the shadow of the dormant mountain.
We visited the observatory that the geological service just closed for fear of another eruption. And we saw the hillsides, still, 20 years after the initial eruption, covered with fallen trees.
When I hear of tourists who, when ordered away from the observatory, get in their cars and head to the next stopping spot down the road, I wonder if they are really thinking about what could happen if the mountain should blow its top like it did in May 1980.
It reminds me of stories Walt would tell about growing up in Hawaii and when the occasional tsunami warning was sounded, people would run down to the ocean to watch it come in.
I suppose there will always be idiots who are going to stretch things to the limit--like the guy who went surfing off the coast of Florida recently during the hurricane.
If it weren't for idiots like that we'd be deprived of the Darwin Awards, always given posthumously, to those who improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it in truly stupid ways.
Websites of the Day
Getting ready for the next debate? Make it fun. Gather together with your friends and play Bush Debate Bingo!
Want to know how the whole world would vote in this election? Check "Betavote" I knew I liked those Aussies. The vote from Australia is 5004 for Kerry and 662 for Bush! Of all countries listed and voting at the present time, Bush is leading in Azerbaijan, the Faroe Islands, Kuwait, and Libya. It's a dead heat in Iraq (interesting) and Comoros. And all the rest of the countries in the world--87% of those voting, or 191,991 to 28,407 have voted for Kerry. Log on and cast your vote.
And I'm sure all of you male readers will be as shocked as I was to find this. My God, if you can't trust the Internet, who can you trust??
PHOPHOTO OF THE DAY
Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
Photo by Claire Amy Atkins