Thursday, December 10, 2009

Waders and Divers

Oh, I'm not a bit embarrassed about knowing the lyrics to "Branded." It was only on for one season maybe, mid 1960's. Opening credits were quite dramatic. They tore the patches off Chuck Connors' uniform, and then they broke his sword! Can you believe that? Perfectly good sword too.

"BRANDED! Marked with a coward's shame.
What to you do when you're branded, and you fight for your name?"

Nor do I have any interest in debating the intrinisic value in my knowing who Alcuin was. He worked for King Charlemagne. Lower case letters, Alcuin INVEnted those. What I like best about him is Alcuin invented the ridges on coins. That was to prevent folk from shaving coins. Imagine that! Nations had been minting coins for two thousand years, while carping about shaving, and it took Alcuin to deliver an elegant, simple solution.

I know this stuff because I am a wader. Some are divers and God bless them, but I'm still a wader.

Another way of looking at it? You got that Lake Baikal in Siberia for example? It's a half mile deep, and a thousand forms of life inhabit that lake, can't be found anywhere else on Earth. That's the divers.

Me, the waders? Well there's Great Salt Lake. Very wide, not very deep. Nothing ever sinks in, cause it's quite dense really.

Waders, divers, it's likely a matter of one's nature, enhanced by experiences. Most famous examples are both Italians. Mikey the Diver and Leo the Wader.

Leo's enduring legacy is as one of the top ten intellects in recorded history. Mikey's legacy is dang handy with a chisel or paint brush. Suppose there's a great doctoral thesis topic there for somebody, cause there's real reasons it turned out like that. But sometimes it should be enough to say? Legacy, as with all other human things, sometimes it lands butter side up, sometimes butter side down.

It doesn't normally arise in daily conversation, but I'd never allow anyone to say that Leo was smarter than Mikey.

Mikey's heart burned with one intense flame, one Mecca. His passion was sculpture, and its big brother architecture.

Leo, a wader. His passion was itinerant. A thousand flames, a thousand Meccas. It's true that Leo was a great painter, and didn't view the talent with indignation Mikey did. It's true that Leo was better people person than Mikey. It's true Leo anticipated the helicopter and parachute. Here's a really cool thing about Leo though? Until he came along, everybody thought cannon balls went straight out for a bit, then dropped straight down. No kidding, they thought that. Leo the wader observed that projectiles travel in a parabolic curve, and began a brand new branch of science, ballistics.

The divers of this world are to be held in reverence. There is though, a place in the world for the waders.

WOOHOO! Almost time to buy fireworks! And I still say? If Roman Candles are accurately named, Nero's birthday parties must have been a hoot!

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