Life Will Find a Way: Boot’s Bequest, or The Harvard Law
A message found on my cell phone:
“Aussie Mayor Wants to Keep Brothels at Least 660 Feet Away From Cemeteries”
Reminds me of a family tale or two:
We had this poochie dog, a toy collie, named Boots: golden tan except for feet and
Chest splash white.
God, she was a joy. Non-stop running machine with tongue out and eyes bright.
We loved her (along with Blackie the Qat and Pete V the parakeet;
All at 4854 Harmony Lane, Orcutt/Santa Maria (yep, there), CA.
... until one day she vanished, never to reappear.
... we cried for 6 months and mourned for two years.
We also eventually lost Blackie to what we thought was the same cause:
the local highway. No joy knowing for sure with Blackie either.
(And then Pete V up and died: see authorsden dot com under royacrabtree
for why you should never try to win the argument with a parakeet: too long
I did not find out why Boots was lost until decades later:
Dad had passed away in 82, and Mom was starting the process family-ar to
all those who have lost parents: she let go all of the secrets.
And told about Boots.
She was a toy collie, very small: 18 inches high and 2.5 feet long.
Small pelvic girdle. You know the story by now: it was 1962;
vets did not do Caesarians.
(Except experimentals at UC Davis: a $750 event)
[[Apparently, Dad asked. He once lost a spaniel: see the story above]]
And that is it. Almost. One more thing: parallels the Harvard Law.
Boots went into Heat. Rut. whateveryouwannacallit.
And, dangonit. Dad knew it. And knew all of the neighborhood dogs were
...male ... large... and also ... eager.
So Dad KNEW he had to stop it, by hook or by crook.
So he kept Boots in the yard. And when the neighborhood studs
(weimarauner, Dane, shepherd, and others) came visiting:
He Built A Ten Foot Tall Solid Pine Fence.
And none of the studs ever managed to discover to leap up on the
mulch box into the yard.
At least, not when either Boots was outdoors or the elder son was
to provide escort service OUT of the yard, with Emphasis.
Though I did notice Dad took the top off the mulch box about then.
(necessary design improvement, perhaps).
SO Boots was safeguarded adequately.
Or so ...Dad thought.
You see, this was the late 60s ... in California.
Where unfortunately redwood, solid oak, and other high grade lumber
... was experiencing the West Coat Yakuza intrusion
... with consequently somewhat higher pricing ... like $9 per board foot ...
SO ... Dad had to settle for ordinary Lompoc foothill white pine.
... which was still a bit pricey ...
SO: he had to economize by selecting, in the stead of what he wanted
... which was high grade solid lumber, 2x12s, pure ...
... what he could afford ...
... which was 1x12, low grade ... _knotty_ pine...
Which (for he was a careful man, oh yes): he carefully selected wood
WITH NO HOLES OR FRACTURES visible.
But you know the characteristic about either a softwood or hardwood tree
with a knot is that it is formed by a disease process ...
... almost always leaves in its center....
... a crooked nearly invisible pinpoint hole...
... which almost always... goes ...all the way ... through...
And, as a careful man, he carefully tested the stability of all those knots.
Nature Will Always Find A Way.
And Boots came into her First Heat.
And ... a suitor ... and she ... found a Knot ... they could ...
frith through (look up the term; or read the Kzin novels)
... and ... they did.
One wonders how long, across which knots, with which suitors.
One does knot now know.
However, the know how was in fact present.
SO, eventually, they found a knot whose stability was a slight amount less
that what my oh so careful father thought was ...
and determined empirically that
... it was Knot.
Now, you might infer that The Great God of The Universe
allowed my father some partial relief, in that
he would have been permitted to determine
that Boots was pregnant, and that,
on expensive exhaustive examination discovering
... a theretofore then closed,
... now open
... portal of access
... was present ...
... and had, upon detailed erudite microscopic examination,
... the requisite ... evidentiary factors ...
... [present or accounted for].
Dad was, after all, a military man. And a scientist.
However, this form of minimal relief from the
Contraries of The God Damned Universe
... was not to be ...
Because, oh God Forgive Thyself for this Meanest of Insults....
Dad ... encountered ... the event ... in progress.
At first, he though he heard a moaning of pain he could not find,
because everytime he looked,
... all he saw was ... Boots.
Apparently, on surface inspection, totally all right ...
However, after the third or fourth or ... however many ... un(ac)counted (for) ... repetition ...
He eclected (Forgive Him Oh Lord) ... to ...
... find out ... where the noise was originating.
So, he went out back to the ... back yard ...
... and ... waited ... to hear the noise more clearly.
Apparently, Boots remained stock still ... and silent ... for a while.
Although, when Dad called to her, for some very strange reason ...
... Boots ... would not ... come. To him. To his call.
And only upon becoming, after a couple of ...
failed repetitions ... irritated ...
did Dad ... elect to ... become ... Insistent.
Whereupon he noticed that Boots. Was. Against. The Fence.
(DO you see this slow red flush beginning to build?)
Yup. Butt end. Flat flush.
Against the fence: only Dad was running at that point,
... against the wind ...
And right about then, ... as Dad was starting the inevitable ... tractrix
... intersecting ... eventually ...the locale of the target ...
... said target, realizing that she ... HAD to ... NO choice ...
... come FOREward, and could no longer do so ... ON STATION keeping ...
(yup, Navy & USAF ... God showed NO mercy AT all)
... made a valiant effort to come ... Forward ... and unfortunately
... DID do so ... ON station keeping ...
... with a multipart vocal chorus ...
... from in front of the fence ...
... as well as ...
... behind it ...
... whereupon ... the phrase that was ... actually ... applied ... was ...
... Steady On. (No recourse to course needed)
... (do you see that red flush turning purple and rising?)
And Dad, empirical scientist he ...
safeguarding the integrity of his efforts ...
... went to the back gate ... and ... opened it ...
And was, of curse, compelled to confront ...
the ... reality ... behind ... the ... event.
Dad elected to remonstrate the co-participant.
Who declined to comment.
At least, ... to Dad.
Dad was thereupon compelled to be more explicit.
And the co-participant ... did NOT ... decline to,
but also ... did not ... comply.
Leaving Dad with only the all out attack option.
Whereupon ... the ... coparticipant ... opted to ... withdraw ...
And thereupon Dad learned what the difference between
a soft moan of putative pain ...
... and a more abbreviated, somewhat louder yelp
of Actual Pain sounded like.
.. from in front of the back of the fence ...
... and ... behind ... it.
The coparticipant elected to completely withdraw
... though some, to this day ... say ...
he dadbaited his de-incision ...
However, I suspect knot.
Mom deposeth knot.
However. I suspect that there were a few choice expository Declamations.
About the God Damned $600 Worth of God Damned Useless Friggin' Wood
With Those Damned Missing Knot Holes In 'Em.
Whereupon Mom desposeth so:
That Dad fell upon the ground laughing.
And the co-participant ...( USAF, you see) .. Took Off ...
In Fool Flight.
Because Dad was in no shape to do anything.
Broken ribs, spastic fit, purple face, what have you.
However had to recover quickly.
Because Boots was Scared To Death.
She had no idea what the fit was about; only that HimSelf The Father
.... was Angry at her.
So Dad had to recover enough to convince Boots
... SHE ... had done ... NOTHING ... wrong.
Rough timeline, start to finish (at least, THIS segment) ...
about ... how much would you say for a full USAF STSSgt?
... about 1 minute and 45 seconds, not including paroxysm and recovery.
.... poor Dad.
You see, he dare not TALK about it ... with ANY one ...
($600 dollar God Damned Useless Fence, you see).
We kids DID notice Boots was real apologetic for about a month.
But never learned why.
Until years later.
Because Dad. And Mom ... had no choice ... several months later...
You see vets also did not do D&Cs either. Nor abortions.
... or else Dad thought Boots was not pregnant or the local
vets lied to him ... until too late.
What was that Greek word? Pathos.
Love a(n)d agony in the same breath. Hilarious and tragic.
Oh God I wish he had told us.
And I will never fault him for not.
And I will mourn, for the opportunity to tell him so never came to pass.
For him. Mom, yes.
How should it go?
I mourn for that which was, and now, never can be again, yet again.
And I also mourn for that which never was, and now,
never can, yet, be, again, yet again.
Yet, again. Never can be nor ever was, yet, again; yet Again.
And this in turn brings up a couple of climbing jokes, which will make
sense in a minute or two.
The first one, from a climber by name Tom Smith, who told them to the three of
us, as we went to the Roxboro Quarry off Chapel Hill campus in 74; we were
hoping to go to Moore's Wall, a 600 foot ascent, and needed to see if we could get
ready for it.
In addition to the normal "ohshitdaddy" stories, Tom _started_ us off on this one:
Q: What sound does an Italian make when he's falling? (Sorry, 70s sexism)
A: Dey go wop ... wop, wop, wop ....thud.
We made sure our Swiss harnesses and car(a)bine(r)s were VERY correct, after we stopped laughing.
My own later addition to this was as follows: Tom also told us about
a very famous rock climbing poem that ends on the stanza lines:
The Rock Is Cold
The Rock Is hard
... The Rock ...Is ME! ....
Well, we went up the overhang, the glide, the Gorilla, and the Step Up.
And then he introduced the hard one, called, The Lip.
Named because it looks like you upper lip and the structure above it.
Any of you who can name that part, and the part that Sophie Marceau
and Mel Gibson made so famous (oy), please do so now.
In any event, the only way you could climb it was exactly the way
you stroke it with your finger.
Tom called it the Inch Worm Hump. And he was not being fastidiously polite.
None of us succeeded in accomplishing the Infamous Spread Eagled Butt Glued
Inch Worm Hump
Up and all over The Lip.
So Tom was perforce forced to prove it could be done by doing it.
And, yup, you hadda inch worm. Spread eagle. Glue yourself onto the rock, and
Hump. Up. Inch. Worm. Over. The Hump. Of. The Lip.
And ... I waited, oh so carefully, timing it impeccably.
In the middle of the second Hump Up.
Quietly, a whisper.
"The rock is cold ..."
Dead shock, white as a rock, and damn near fell off.
With a subliminal scream.
Let me say that again:
An honest to God, God Damn Subliminal (whisper level) Scream.
You see, Tom was a qualified level 4 climber.
And. You see. The One God Damned Thing You Do Not Do.
Fall Off The God Damned Rock.
So, all Tom could do was subliminally scream.
He could NOT turn his head.
He could NOT release his hold.
He could not pause.
He could not even take in air:
It would have unHumped The second Hump.
All he could was SILENTLY. (intensely) scream:
"who said that!?!?"
which was not discernable in that I was quiet enough because ...
I wanted to survive.
... credit was granted later on; I got an extra piece of pizza.
Tom got even. But THAT ... is another story.
Years later, after The Death Zone NGC Expedition seeking Mallory that saved so many lives,
I came up with this one:
Q: You know why you should never become enamored of anyone on a rope?
A: Because it is bad form to get hung up over someone, just in time to
.... fall head over heels over them ...
... over and over again ...
In the mean time I have a Puerto Rican friend with two daughters:
One 14 going on 18;
The Other 16 going one 21 ...
Can you see from his voice on the phone describing this
.... the look of utter horror, despair, and suspicion on his face?
BOY fiends (NOT a typo) are coming.
And: his daughters have his number!
Back to the original message, in any event.
I am still bummed out for having to pay invisibly for this type of juvenile humor.
I really do not think it is funny.
After all, there is only one conceivable response.
After all, Life Will Find A Way.
You cannot stop screwing up when trying to stop
someone else for screwing up, because they will continue
to screw up until they are finally finished getting screwed up because ...
They were not theretofore then all screwed up.
Inch worms, after all ... continue to Hump Along ...
Until they get where they were ... going ...
SO HOWEVER distasteful it may be to those who are actually NOT involved
with that type of humped up screwing up going on ...
Just stay out of it.
After all. If the mayor ...
.. actually did succeed in getting the law passed ...
... and forcing people to comply with it ...
...All you ... errr, the Aussie mayor ...
... will ever succeed in doing is ...
... making them ...
... walk a little farther ... or
... be carried a little farther ... or
... carrying a little farther ... and
... delaying the inevitable return to start ... and restart ... again.
Oh, my stomach hurts on that one ... ugh; I hate to think about it.
AND: I have to pay for the God Damned Privilege of Reading It.
IN Order To Suffer From the Instantaneous Image and Answer to It.
And I have not yet been able to puke enough to warrant washing out my mouth yet.
Juvenile Humor Never Dies.
Life will always find a way.
Harvard Law: Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of food, shelter, space, water,
And other environmental factors, The Organism:
Will Do As It Damned Well Pleases.