Thursday, April 27, 2023

That sinking feeling is dated

 The topic of quicksand came up in the office the other day.

Apparently somebody read that kids who grew up in the 60s and 70s had more of a fear of quicksand than anyone else. Theories were given.

Mine was Gilligan's Island.

Seems every other episode had one of the castaways sinking in quicksand. Remember them looking for Gilligan, only to find his white hat on top of the murk? It's etched on my brain.

Quicksand was a very popular plot twist in TV shows and movies in the '60s and '70s. This plot line was delivered in what seemed like anywhere for a spring of excitement and suspense in our programming. They were so common in the movies and TV than quicksand actually was in real life. Even series like Gilligan's Island, Batman, Lost In Space and The Incredible Hulk, had moments of quicksand in them. According to one quicksand enthusiast, quicksand appeared in nearly 3% of all movies made in the '60s.

There was also an abundance of sand boxes when we were growing up, that made it feel as though quicksand could happen everywhere. Now sandboxes seem to be a thing of the past and therefore children nowadays don't see it as much of a threat.

Someone else in the office cited some Atari game that had quicksand in it, but I'm sticking with the far more popular and long-running Gilligan.

I also heard a comedian say recently: When I was younger I really thought quicksand was going to be a bigger problem for me as an adult than it turned out to be.

Slate has a fascinating (and long) story about quicksand that will tell you more than you'd ever want to know about the subject: "The Rise and Fall of Quicksand"

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

What stood out during Florida trip

 One of the highlights of our annual week-long vacation to Florida the last few years has, interestingly enough, been the Sunday Mass at St. John's Catholic Church in St. Petersburg.

Coincidentally, during my grade school years living in LeMars, Iowa, my family attended St. John's Lutheran Church. Just a side note, interesting to me.

It's odd to me that our week of beaches, bikinis, baseball, rock bands and fishing, can be highlighted by that Mass and its priest. It's just such a joyous event. He is sunshine personified in the middle of all that sunshine that is Florida. It's joy in the middle of an older, racially-diverse, area of St. Pete. 

If you know anything about me, you should know I am an impatient man. Homilies (ie sermons) over 15 minutes start to make me feel itchy. Mass over an hour, similarly. This Mass lasted an hour and 40 minutes. The priest's homily just under an hour. (Yes, I time them.) But the entire event seemed like 30 minutes. It flew by. I couldn't believe I'd sat still that long, that enthralled, that touched. But I was.

At one point I thought to myself that when we got in the car wifey was going to turn to me and suggest: "Let's just quit our jobs and move here." Because I know she feels the same way about that Mass. I pondered what my reply would be. As it was, she didn't say it, even if she felt it.

Upon later introspection, of which I'm all too often a victim, I began to feel guilty for not enjoying all Masses, regardless of the priest and the location, the same way. Am I so fickle, my devoutness so shallow, that I need a particular priest to enthuse me? Shouldn't I be enthused for God all the time? Or most of the time?

Sure, a good priest makes a good congregation, but I feel like my baseline for enjoying church should be higher. They should almost always be good, with some great ones and an occasional clunker thrown in. Not everyone can be on their game every Sunday (just ask the Minnesota Vikings).

I need to work on that. Just another thing to add to the list. You'd think by year 58 I'd have it figured out. The older I get, the more stuff I find out I don't have figured out. 

I guess the season of Lent was a good time to give that extra effort, build some momentum, get better, be better. Life is tiring sometimes when you care about that stuff. I guess it's good that I'm thinking about it, trying. The struggle is real.