The Blithe Nineties

October 15, 1999

Although some may think it’s a little premature, I think it’s time to start saying farewell to the nineties. Overall it’s been a good decade, if you like social, political, and natural disasters. But it’s the little things I’m going to miss. Here’s a short list of things that should go away with the nineties, and probably will:

  • Piercings, tattoos, and other body art. Once upon a time getting a tattoo was something sailors and Harley owners did. Then it became a sign of distinctive individuality (or a sign that you were drinking with the wrong sort of people). Getting a tattoo made you stand out in a crowd–at least until everyone else started doing it. The same goes for piercings. As for other "body art", including the insertion of hemispherical pieces of plastic under the skin in the forehead and cheeks (no, I’m not making this up), that seemed to fade out once people realized they looked like aliens from "Star Trek".

  • The word "virtual" I thought I could wait until next year, but I can’t. I’m virtually sick of the word "virtual". I virtually want to throw up every time I hear it now. As long as it was a word for computer geeks, that was okay. Most of those guys live in virtual reality anyway–at least when they’re not hanging out at any fast food restaurant that provides free refills. But when I hear someone in a car accident say, "That other driver was virtually out of his mind!" I virtually think taking the bus would be a good idea.

  • Lists. So far I’ve seen the Greatest Sports Players of the Century, the 100 Most Overstocked Classic Books, the 100 Greatest People of the Millenium, and the 50 Television Characters Whose Shows Are Still Profitable. Please, if you’re even remotely thinking of putting together yet another list, ask yourself whether it’s really necessary, or whether it’s only virtually necessary. I’ll set an example by stopping this one right here.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Our scout master told us all to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are OK. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yes, please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for the lightning.

Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it.

We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us. Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy. Don’t worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.

This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Webb wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad about the life jackets. He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble.

Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also Wade and I threw up. Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken, he said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he got out and become our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time.

I have to go now. We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets.

Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.

love, Your Son

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