It was a brisk Saturday morning when Gerald arrived at “The Café,” a hip coffee shop right down the street. Wearing his large, burly black coat, he stared hesitantly at his watch. Thick glasses adorned his bright blue eyes, his gaze like starlight in a clear night sky. He was waiting, intently twiddling his thumbs. After a buzz of his phone, the message from Dad popped up: “Parking now, be there in 5.”
“Dad,” he whispered under his breath, swiping the message away to once again reveal the image on his lock-screen: a hazy picture of an ultrasound.
Gerald had not spoken to his father for three years. They had had a falling out, over which he did not remember. To him it was a competition of who could wait the longest without calling or sending a text. Who could wait the longest: him without a father, or his father without a son? The idea of friction in the relationship hurt like a thorn; piercing his soul more and more everyday. Until recently, out of the blue, “Dad” popped up on his phone. The rest is history. The rest leads to that Saturday morning, at The Café.
Bang! A car door rang out not too far from where Gerald stood. Gerald saw him. His father wore his tweed jacket like a coat of armor. His strut was now weaker than before they stopped talking; a weakness evident in his cane which supported every right step. His shortly trimmed white beard juxtaposed against his uncut, curly grey hair gave him the image of a wise wizard from a fairytale. He used to be that figure to Gerald, yet instead of a nice ancient being acting like a stone to keep him grounded, Gerald had felt as though his father was a rock pulling him deeper and deeper into a sea of monotony. Holding him back from his true potential. Maybe that was why he left? He still did not know.
“Hello, son,” came the withered voice Gerald had sook for so long, yet now that it had arrived wanted to avoid. “I can’t believe it’s been so long!”
“Yeah,” said Gerald, allowing a smile to grace his face. “Too long!”
Then they hugged, signifying a change in their relationship. Gerald had hoped something could happen to bring them closer together. He did not want to go on wondering what could have been. The regret and sadness weighed him down. Before starting a new family, Gerald wanted to be reacquainted with his own.
After finding their table and sitting down, the two began to discuss life. It was like old friends catching up after a long break. Although it took some time, Gerald began to warm u... keep reading on reddit ➡
After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend.
"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
"I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes," replies Watson.
"And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson ponders for a minute.
"Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?"
Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, you idiot!" he says. "Someone has stolen our tent!"
Back a few decades, I was working in a program with a local college in the Middle East.
The name of the program for ExPats has the clever acronym of "IDEA" (hey, I said it was clever); which stands for "Inter-Departmental Educational Adjunct". It's interdepartmental because my particular specialty not only covers field geology but also paleontology and a bit of archeology thrown in for good measure. Everyone hopes to have a good IDEA...
Well, we saddle up and head for the Dune Sea out in the west of the country, where the Precambrian, Cambrian, Silurian, Cretaceous, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene crop out and access is relatively easy and non-injurious.
Well, we caravan out, some 30 Land Cruisers, Nissan patrol, and the odd Mitsubishi Galloper strong. We all get our maps, compasses and split up into 5 or 6 special interest groups ("SIG's"); where each IDEA has his own GPS and LIDAR laser ranging apparatus. Reason being, that there are very few benchmarks out in the desert, and even those are constantly at the mercy of the shifting and ever-blowing sands.
Since we're split into groups and at any one time, ranging up to and including some 50 km2, when a real find is located, a device called the "DIME" (Digital-Interface Monitor Encoder) is attached and programmed into the GPS for location later; it is a digital sort of low-frequency transponder, developed from technology used by offshore drillers and jacket setters where benchmarks are even more transitory.
The way it works is rather simple. When something is to be marked for later retrieval, a series of wooden posts are pounded in a triangular manner around the find and the DIME is set, programmed with the GPS and attached to one or more of the posts.
That's the theory, at least.
Everything works well, especially all the hardened electronics and computer gizmos, but attaching the DIME to the stakes is the real problem. It can't be nailed, screwed or fastened with any sort of metal contrivance as that farkles the magnetic field and causes all sorts of goofy spurious signals. Zip ties don't last long in the heat and duct tape is right out. Many sites have been lost to the shifting sands this way.
Velcro doesn't work too well, as the sand fills the hooks of the receiving piece of velcro and soon renders it useless. String or fishing line work, but that's temporary (they melt). Glue or mastic are out as these are supposed to be temporary. Even plastic sleeves don't work due to the heat out... keep reading on reddit ➡
My dad's favorite joke of all time (there are many variations, and of course, even more extended versions):
These three guys went to South America to explore the rain forest. The guide was leading them through explaining the different plants and animals. After awhile they started to hear this really loud sound.
The men, kind of scared, asked the guide what the noise was.
"What the hell is that noise?"
"Oh, that's just the Foo bird."
"The Foo bird?"
"Yes, it's a giant bird, and the locals believe that if it poops on you, wiping it off will cause instant death."
"Well, that's what the locals say."
The noise gets louder and closer.
The men look up in the sky and see a glimpse of the Foo bird.
All four of the men are covered with bird shit. The guide pulls a cloth out of his pocket and wipes the shit off of his face. He drops dead.
The first of the three men says, "that's got to be a coincidence."
He wipes the shit off, and drops dead.
The second guy nervously says, "it can't be true"
He wipes it off and drops dead.
The third guy doesn't wipe it off. He was found a few days later, and went home, refusing to be cleaned.
A few years pass, his life has been destroyed due to being covered in shit. His wife left him, his friends won't come near him, he can't find a job... One day, he's in the bathroom shaving around the shit.
"It's been years, most of it has flaked off, it's probably fine to wipe it off now."
He hesitates, but eventually grabs a towel, wets it down, and takes a deep breath.
He wipes the shit off, looks up into the mirror smiling, then drops dead.
The moral of the story is:
If the Foo shits, wear it.