Wednesday, April 02, 2008
"No Turning Back"
Feeling my age a little today. Some kind of milestone it seems or at least feels. 45 years on this planet today and when I reflect on the changes I saw, well, I can only imagine where we'll end up.....I just hope we're not rushing to inhabit Mars because we are giving up on old Planet "Earth". I grew up in a small fishing community and I guess it was close to the edge or end of the world, maybe not that close, but sometimes we thought we could see it from there. There was no paved roads when I was a kid, no infrastructure in terms of water or sewage for that matter but I sure remember when they put all that in. I remember getting pavement for the first time on our street. I remember being the remote control for the black and white TV when we watched, because being the youngest you had to change the channel, we had two choices. I liked when the repair man game and I got to see behind the TV and was fascinated by the big tubes in the back that made it work.
Our phone number was 125 back then and yes you had to crank it to get the operator. It was one of those old phones with a mouth piece attached to a cord of wire that went to the base with the crank, that allowed you to reach the operator to connect your call. Well you can imagine my fascination when we went to one that actually had a handle and when we got the rotary phone even more amazement, touch tones were still distant for us. Now cellular! When I was watching Star Trek I always thought it would be neat to have one of those communicators, that's how I think of cell phones. So I've experienced a huge progression in communication. We even had Morris code units that my brother played with. I had no idea what that was all about at the time. I remember when computers were getting popular and encroachment on our analog world was slowly taking place. At university everyone was walking around with these punch cards and they didn't seem to be doing a whole lot of work. Computers as we know revolutionized our world and even blossomed communication further in many ways less personal and in others more. I now work with computers that image radioactive distribution once injected in a patient. Who'd a thought we'd be injecting radiation let alone imaging it with $800,000.00 cameras. This is a big step from the gramophone we use to play with in our attic. The song was "Impy Limp" by "Soderos Band" played on ceramic cylinders with the vinyl on the outside of the cylinder. You slid this on the gramophone and lowered the needle and cranked the thing. Cranking was big back then though I missed the cranking of the automobile. The case for the ceramic cylinder was made of a strong cardboard material and had a picture of Thomas Edison on it. Now the cameras at work I use are made by General Electric of which Thomas Edison was a precursor in a big way. Radios were super popular and ya know in some respects that is one thing that has remained fairly constant. Of course we can play them everywhere, on computers etc. even out kayaking!
Now there has been a whole whack of other changes over the years some you become part of voluntarily others you are just sucked right in to like The Maelstrom Vortex or something. I remember vaguely the landing on the moon on TV so much excitement. I remember hearing and being afraid of Al Capone and Tommy Guns the interesting thing about that is that I got to stay in a room close to the room Al Capone stayed in at the Drake hotel in Chicago for a week that was nice in retrospect, then again I was also in his cell on cell block "D" on Alcatraz. It just happened that way. I also stood on the site where they made the first atomic bomb under the stadium of Chicago University and now I work with medical radiation, in ways back then I am sure, they really never planned. Tomorrow I give a palliative dose of Strontium 89 to ten year old who has rabdomyosarcoma and metastasis everywhere a long ways from radiations intended use.
From moon landings, to in and out of space on shuttle craft, rovers on Mars, satelittes in distant recessses of space, to advances in the most deadly arsenal of weaponry known to mankind or any kind on this planet. From steam power, to diesel, gas, oil, hydrogen, electric maybe cold fusion in the future. If you had told people years ago before autos, that while moving in a 2 ton vehicle sitting on a very combustible 40 liters of fuel travelling at speeds of over 120 miles per hour on a road with many other combustibles beside you, passing you, in front of you and behind you, I wonder what they would have thought about the danger?
So why kayaking....you all know already! It is the simplicity, the silence, the human motor, the control, the mastery, the ability to go where many don't, the adventure, the escape, the yarning and ever so much with only a stick and a boat and most of all for me........it will be something I can do forever. Paddle on, paddle safe........but paddle! The caption is of me on Charlie Lake BC,