By Bob Dougherty
I wrote a weekly humor column called Bob's Babble for a few years in the mid-1990's at my previous job - working on military space contracts. The articles I wrote there were written specifically for the several hundred co-workers in my building. (And if you have ever worked for the government, I don't need to tell you that you don't need to look very long or far to find humor there.)
The target audience for the all-new Bob's Babble is the couple thousand folks living in and around La Honda. The eclectic group who lives here seems to be attracted by extremes of environment and nature. This unique area, only accessible through a nauseating series of vehicular turns, has rock and mudslides, flooding, power outages, falling trees, giant spiders and bugs, cat-eating coyotes, man-eating mountain lions, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc… Interestingly, some of these things that we love about La Honda actually may scare off weaker individuals. My goal is to write a Babble for the La Honda Voice about once a week (although without a substantial salary and company car provided by The La Honda Voice, maintaining this aggressive schedule is unlikely).
The La Honda time capsule
Every once in a while there is a new and exciting idea in town. A few weeks ago on the La Honda message board (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaHonda/ message #9719) John K (aka, Bro. Dorgy S Brewster) presented fellow La Hondians with "an opportunity to be remembered." Of course, you can choose to be remembered by being the person who got arrested for dancing naked at La Honda Gardens under a full moon, but John had another idea that doesn't even require a bail bond. John was able to obtain a 1 ft diameter by 6 feet long sealable stainless steel cylinder that could be used as a rather large time capsule. John estimates that this capsule could last 1-10 thousand years, which is even longer than Twinkies are reputed to last without refrigeration. John recommended forming a committee to figure out what to put inside this time capsule, and he is looking for "volunteers, suggestions, ideas."
There were a few bites on the La Honda message board. Tom Dodd suggested including photos. David Ehrhardt recommended samples of poems, prose and art from local artists and writers. Mary Bordi added that a Rosetta Stone to decipher the words within the capsule be added for future generations. David Bartz recommended including the sacred La Honda listserver archives, which could forever preserve our constant bickering. Paul Fourt suggested that a volunteer physically get into the capsule "dressed in the fashion and carrying the accoutrements of the time," which for La Honda would mean, "wearing mud boots and carrying a chain saw accompanied by a large dog and a six-pack of Corona." And if that doesn't all fit in the capsule, the volunteer could drink the Corona first to save precious space and perhaps be more cooperative in the encasement process. Regardless of what we put into this capsule, we can be sure that future archeologists, anthropologists, and historians will be spending many careers on the treasures we leave them.
The capsule seems to be a fairly large, allowing us some flexibility in what we can include in it. As a point of reference, the capsule would be large enough for Michael Jackson to use as a hyperbaric chamber, and still have room in it for Bubbles, his pet chimp, a white glove, and the Elephant Man's bones. But ultimately we will still need to make the difficult decision about what artifacts will be included in it, and we will want to choose these items wisely, since this capsule may be the only remains of our civilization in 10,000 years. So we need to proceed slowly - committees will be required to create committees to recommend who should determine what should be included in the capsule. The time, costs, and people could be staggering after such committee meetings, especially if they occur at AJ's, but it will all be worth it.
What should go into this capsule? The previous ideas are all excellent, and I have a few additional thoughts. The International Time Capsule Society recommends not putting paper clips in time capsules, since they tend to rust, destroying photographs and documents. But I say we should put a big bag of wet paper clips in the capsule just to show that La Hondians are free-thinking individuals - not capitulating to any international society or even common sense. I say if we do include poetry, let's not put in sonnets and quatrains, but poetry assessable to the masses. I say everyone in town should write a limerick, with the single restriction that it can't contain the word "Nantucket." In addition, we might want to consider adding a mature mating pair of La Honda banana slugs, with enough food and air for them and their offspring to live long, quality lives. And include a sample of water from pristine Reflection Lake, so anthropologists can dream about how it used to be in ancient La Honda. I suggest including an Egyptian Scarab amulet, a La Honda Café egg omelet, and maybe even the Rosetta Stone, if the British Museum will lend it to us for a few thousand years. This mix of artifacts should confuse and delight future scholars, and inspire at least a few doctoral theses. So our time capsule will actually be supporting future education. And if the Curator of the British Museum does lend us the Rosetta Stone, we should engrave a suitable curse on the outside of the capsule in hieroglyphics, Greek, and the Coptic language. Perhaps it should say something like, "He (or she to be politically correct) who opens this sacred capsule will be cursed by the fleas of a thousand stray La Honda dogs seeking refuge in his underwear."
Where should we place this time capsule? The capsule needs to go somewhere where it can be easily found in the distant future. I lose my car in mall parking lots after 30 minutes, so I expect that remembering a time capsule's location after a couple millennia will be a challenge. There really is only one place that we can count on to be checked every twenty years or so to remind future civilizations of the location of this treasure - an old fashion septic tank. Serendipitously, The La Honda Guild has a rather large septic tank next to its office that is now having its cover replaced. If we did use this tank, we wouldn't even need to excavate - we could just throw the time capsule in the septic tank, put on the new cover, hang out for awhile drinking Coronas, and use the bathroom until we are sure our time capsule, filled with the essence of our special community, is fully submerged.
How long should we wait until it is brought back up and opened? After a few thousand years, the true purpose of our time capsule may be lost. If history is any indication, local residents will pull it out of the ground, polish it up, and worship it as a gift from some supreme entity. Alternately, they may assume it was just a trash can with the top sealed to keep out pesky raccoons. So to keep its true purpose alive as long as possible, I say we pull out the capsule every year and have a party. We'll remove the contents, place them in the secret La Honda museum, and fill it back up with stuff that Goodwill has refused to accept…I mean cultural artifacts of our era. This way, everyone in La Honda will have a chance to add to the time capsule. And if the time capsule doesn't seem large enough for all our important artifacts, we could still pursue this idea by putting them all in an old car and driving it into Reflection Lake.
Ideas for the Time Capsule?
Please contact John K (respond to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaHonda/ message #9719 or contact The La Honda Voice at The_Voice@lahonda.com), and keep the momentum for this project going. Thank you, John, for pursuing this project and hopefully the community will be supportive.