A handshake is fine, though I would much prefer a high five.
The web is an amazing tool which brings people together and occasionally tears people apart. It delivers information, editorials, videos of cats, educational matter and best of all, pornography. Because of it, I have reasonably extensive relationships with a handful of folks I’ve only ever seen in the flesh once or twice.
Heck, this weird, intangible network is the foundation for my very livelihood.
Case in point to all of this was an image I posted the other night with the simple caption of, ‘poor McMansions‘;
This set off an absolute shitstorm of commentary and accusations ranging from how I was disrespecting the dead, as well as the men and women fighting the fire, to disgust that I could take the tragedy so lightly, to resenting people with money and all the way back again.
People who had themselves lost homes to fire at one point or another chimed in, as did folks who had not. Two friends who are fire fighters stepped up as well, slapping my hand with quickness.
One picture, two words, and this was the response.
There were a few who didn’t respond so drastically, but primarily I felt as though I was being primed for a lynch mob. I have thankfully never lost a home to fire, but grew up in a house built by my family in a region not far from, and thus, not unlike that which is burning currently.
My parents, as well as the (public) educational system in which I was enrolled regularly impressed upon me that forests need to occasionally burn to stay healthy, and when that cycle is stemmed, a whole lot of bad things can occur. My parents also told me that because we lived so far away from our town’s volunteer fire department, our main objective if the house ever went up, was to simply get out in one piece. Oh, and to save the animals and the photo albums if there was time. As a matter of fact, for months of my young life I slept with a box of my prized possessions next to my bed in the event that were to ever occur.
From the time I left for college I began seeing droves of people arrive to the Front Range (based on the statistics of the local paper, primarily from the West Coast and Illinois) and build obnoxiously large homes, tap into the already taxed aquifers and then complain about their right to have well water. Secondly, letter after letter would be printed in the paper, written by the new arrivals bellyaching about how herds of elk were eating their flowers and their gardens.
You move into the woods and native animals are eating the flora? You don’t say?
The above image speaks volumes to me on these points as well as a myriad of others. My point was not to disrespect lives that may have been lost, nor was it a commentary on the tireless efforts to stop the fire. It was an off-handed comment about false entitlement, and ridiculously sized houses in a region known far and wide to be proponents of a smaller government, the residents of which have voted to cut services in order to save on taxes. These homes will assuredly be rebuilt, on the same tracts of land, (as I stated in the original post) that was previously (in, or bordering upon) wilderness areas, and for decades was mismanaged.
As far back as 1989 there were murmurings that the entire Front Range was a tinder box and it was just a matter of time before it went up.
Like I said, I thankfully have never lost a home to a fire, but I do at least have the experience of being front and center in the Oakland Hills Firestorm, which found me running around in the chaos helping people carry out what they could before the fire reached their property lines. That night I stood in amazement, my face smeared with soot and my lungs burning with Poison Oak in a West Oakland parking lot, as smoldering pages of books and pieces of wall paper and insulation fell down on my head.
I don’t belittle what’s occurring there, but at the risk of repeating myself, I’m not surprised that it is.
I wish the best for everyone who has been affected by this tragedy, but have to remain realistic about why it happened (and will continue to do so) to begin with.
Now that I have made my entirely-too unpopular perspective public, I guess we’ll get on with business.
Not only is The Dirtbag a wordsmith, an actor, a world class derelict, and a blacked out brother in arms, but it seems as though he is set to include DJ on his impressive resume;
Obviously your chance to see him dazzle has passed, but the show is up for another few days.
If any Minneapolis West-ites care to bathe in some soothing sights while drowning your sorrows, you now have a directive.
Oh, you know I’m a big fan of re-appropriated art. Especially when it involves moustaches and hairy arms.
Then, Jeremy made contact with the results of his recent social experiment;
Finally Tyler got in touch with news of a former compatriot and current adventurer;
A while back, in the days of bummer life avoiding-ness, you posted a picture of my buddy, Sean, ripping Santa Cruz trails on a beach cruiser with ape hangers;
I think this picture is totally bad ass because he is shredding on a bike with ape hangers, and also because he recently had his real bike stolen. He was left this beach cruiser by the thief. Not wanting to miss out on a ride, Sean went out to shred on the lemon he was given. Total bad ass. I only mention this because I want to see this picture again (this is the main reason honestly), and because he is currently riding his bicycle around the world.
Now if that doesn’t make you feel bad for sitting around in your undies, then I don’t know what will. The good folks at Volagi got him rolling on a sweet ride, and you can help with a simple shout out. Here is his website. He has links up to donate to him personally, or to World Bike Relief, but I think most importantly, we should all give him a word of encouragement (a simple “you rock,” “keep going,” or “I want to have your children,” will do). I figure we can be his cheering section, and be in our underwear. It’s a win win really.
Good for Sean. I’m really proud of the little fella and I hope he travels with many successes and well wishes from all of us. If that doesn’t count as both a virtual handshake and high five, I don’t know what would.