I’m a human shoe tongue. Leathery. Dessicated. In need of a good tug to straighten out my wrinkles.
For the love of high heat indexes and mind-altering altitude, could someone just pass me some moisturizer? And then, so long as you’re in motion, dump a 64-ounce Slurpee on me?
See, as of today, we’re outside of Boulder, Colorado, and I–get this wisdom in action–decided that temperatures over 100 degrees and complete exposure to blistering sun would make a fine backdrop to my daily run. So I headed for The Mesa.
Sure, I got to listen to some Joe Jackson (“Is she really going out with him?/Is she really going to take him home tonight?”) on random local radio, but the fact that all dewiness was gradually being leeched out of me overcame the tunes. I slogged along, admiring the Flatirons to the West, keeping a wary eye out for rattlesnakes, coyotes, and yucca.
And eventually, my dehydrated shell staggered back to the house here, where only half a pizza and two mixed drinks could revive me (jot that down as a homespun cure for dehydration; never mind what the “specialists” say).
Outside of this run…oh, okay, and yesterday’s run, too, in the mid-day inferno that folks in Lincoln, Nebraska, call “noon in June,” the trip has been an easy toodle across the Great Plains. Do you suppose this heat, coupled with the thigh-high prairie grasses, could explain why early homesteaders didn’t run marathons? Before the last two days, I just thought they were pussies.
So we left Duluth four days ago and spent the first night with one of the Friends of My Life, a woman who lives in Austin, Minnesota. We exited the car there, and Girl wrinkled her nose, sniffed a bit, and asked with great disgust, “What’s that smell?” Well, dear Girl, it’s the smell of all that’s evil in the world being violently reduced into an aspic, canned quickly, labeled brightly, and then shipped out to places of war and/or Hawaii. There, poor unfortunates crack the tins and choke down the food called SPAM, giving themselves a thimble full of nutritionally-questionable energy.
Look at how I bring the world to my children, would you?
Since my Austin friend happens to be 70, and our young Niblet happens to be 4, these two, with liquid ease, found they held in common an avocation: dressing themselves, and others, in costume. Thus, in my friend’s basement, Hijinks–and their lesser-known cousin Chuckles– took roost:
The next morning, our true identities restored, we tore out of Austin, made quick work of Iowa, and crossed into Nebraska. And there, due to the hallucinations induced by two nights of restless sleep in KOA Campgrounds (conveniently stocked with barking dogs, ant hills under sleeping spots, and late-night drag racers) I made a break-through:
**Although I don’t think seditiously at all, really, President Bush and Your Blog-Watching Minions (I mean, er, “Freedom of Information Fighters”), it was revealed to me that Nebraska is the actual seat of power in this country, and, were it crippled in any way, the U.S. would grind to a halt.
First: the East/West highway running through that state is actually an Unbroken Corridor of Semi Trucks, where all food and goods for our millions of citizens are transported at high speeds on eighteen wheels; why, even when I attended the How Many Semi’s Can We Fit Into a Church Parking Lot Rally in Rugby, North Dakota, some years back, I never saw the like of that Nebraska highway. Bumper-to-bumper Wal-Mart and Home Depot trucks rule the asphalt, playing chicken with their loads of toasters and drills.
Second: Paypal is housed in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area; without Paypal, would any of us have a collection of Star Wars figures (still in box) in the upstairs closet, just awaiting eventual resale when our children’s college educations need financing? Paypal is the true president, if we’re talking about a daily, effective presence in citizens’ lives.
Similarly and thirdly: Google is on the verge of opening a Server Farm in Omaha, an automated location that will handle all Google queries; and if the town that can answer “What Website contains the most information about lobster panties?” isn’t the seat of modern democracy, I don’t know where the power rests.
Fourthly: language in Nebraska captures the human condition like no other American locale; today, a tour guide actually exclaimed to me, “…and then, in the face of all those trials, they had to think, ‘Isn’t that just the berries?’”
Oh, yea, and finally, Nebraska is the repository of our finest history and arts, from sod houses…
…to buffalo statues made out of 4.5 miles of barbed wire fencing…
Wisely, Niblet shied away from this here bison, preferring instead to head back to the mini-van, where he tried on clown wigs, admiring himself in the rear-view mirror.
Such are the freedoms afforded to Americans, wherever they may roam.
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