10 August 2005
A day late
August 9 is one of those days that I never think about until it actually arrives, and then I recall that it is an action-packed 24 hours.
Well, sort of.
I have a friend that was born on August 8, and another that was born on August 9. I always assume that the friend with the birthday of August 8 was born on August 9, which means that when I remember his correct birthday, I am already a day late. This year, August 8th turned 40, and I remembered that his actual birthday is the 8th. Alas, he chose to be out of town on both August 8th and 9th, so I will not be able to acknowledge his birthday until August 10th at the earliest.
It is so extremely difficult being me.
I never forget August 9th's birthday. This is someone I met in high school, one of the most down to Earth people I have ever known. Alas, he moved away from the area in the early 90's and I lost touch with him. I knew he was out west and contacted him when I was there in the summer of 2003, only to find out he was in Africa for three years. We did eventually exchange emails, but when I tried to respond to his, I got a message that his address was no longer valid. As I said, I never forget his birthday, but I also never get the chance to acknowledge it anymore.
This year, August 9th is the 60 year anniversary of the last time a nuclear weapon was used in society, the bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The Hiroshima bombing of August 6th always gets more attention than Nagasaki, because it was the first time a nuclear weapon was used. I think it's more fitting to acknowledge the last, since it is the last example that the world has as to what we are capable of doing. I remember being a teenager in the early 80's, wondering if and when the US and Soviet Union were going to go to war, and I have to say that it kept me up more than a few nights at times. My father was somewhat amused by that. He always told me that I shouldn't worry about it, because if the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 18-29, 1962 didn't lead to annihilation between the Super Powers, nothing would. Of course, this being my father, there were several charts and articles that went along with his reassurances, but he ended up being right, it would appear that neither the Russians or the Americans will ever launch a nuclear strike at each other.
Most people think that if there is ever another nuclear detonation, that it will be a terrorist attack. Forgetting about what we have seen on "24", I think it will be very difficult to ever pull that off. The threat is there, I realize, but I think the world is much more likely to see some type of nuclear event in the Middle East or in Asia, one initially not involving the United States. Pure speculation; I hope above all hopes that the world has seen its last mushroom cloud.
Also this year, August 9th is the ten year anniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia. My interest in the Grateful Dead is meek at best. They made some good music, indeed, but the worship status that they achieved has always puzzled me. The thing that I am most thankful for about Jerry Garcia is the fact that he was the inspiration for Ben & Jerry's awesome "Cherry Garcia" ice cream.
But I will never forget where I was when I heard that Jerry Garcia had died. I was in Berlin. I was sitting in the lobby of a guest house where we were staying while one of my friends talked to her sister back home on the phone, and she mentioned to us that her sister had just told her that Garcia had died. Her sister was a huge fan of the Dead and was seriously bummed. I wasn't all that affected. When I read today about the ten year anniversary, I spent a good half hour reminiscing about the three days we spent in Berlin, and the 27 days we spent traveling around Europe: London, Ireland. Bruges, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Salzburg, Venice, Florence, Geneva, then London again. It was absolutely the trip of a lifetime. I left the States as a certain person and came back someone very different.
I could spend the next month writing about that trip.
The best thing about it was that it gave me an itch that I will spend the rest of my life scratching (it's a METAPHOR, people): since the summer of 1995 I have had the desire, the urge to get out and see as much of this world that I possibly can. My biggest regret when I die, no matter if I live to be 50 or 150? That there will be places that I have not seen on this Earth.
You know, just in case anyone asks.