Monday, October 26, 2009

Notes in bottles

Years ago, when I was probably about 11 or 12 years old, I was fascinated by the concept of notes being placed in bottles and cast in the ocean to be read by someone thousands of miles away. Since Boise was about as landlocked of a place that you could find, I was in a quandary about how to fulfill my burning desire to cast my words upon the currents of the world.

I settled for tossing an old Gallo wine bottle with a note into Lucky Peak Reservoir, the largest body of water in Ada County. It was more of a childish prank actually then a real effort to connect with the world at large. I traced a copy of Thomas Jefferson's signature on a piece of brown paper and soaked it in oil, thinking it would look like aged parchament. Then I wrote out this convoluted note saying that I was a dying old man and wanted to leave this valuable signature to whoever found it in the bottle.

My friend Dave Little and I paddled out into the middle of the reservoir on inner tubes, chucked the bottle, and paddled back to shore. Within minutes, we watched as a Sheriff's patrol boat that cruised the reservoir monitoring the activities of drunk water skiers, whizzed by, stopped and retrieved the bottle. I'm sure they were just removing it as a potential hazard to the above mentioned drunk water skiers (who I am sure they blamed for tossing a wine bottle into the main boat channel of the reservoir). But Dave and I hightailed it out of there, sure that cops would be showing up at our door any day having traced fingerprints from the Gallo wine bottle.

For some reason they never traced the prank to us.

Still, the concept of casting messages to unpredictable currents in hopes that someone would eventual find them stayed with me. I think this is why I have blogged for five years now. And I have to admit that throwing a bottle with a note in it, although not very acceptable from an environmental standpoint, is probably more reliable of a way to get your message out there. Although I have had a few readers over the years, most have just put the note back in the bottle and tossed it back.

Not that this has stopped me from writing notes and plopping them into the void. It is a harmless and inexpensive way to get published. It is also kind of a neat way to write down all the random things I remember from growing up. Some day my kids can read my blog archives and get some key insights into my life and personality. God knows I won't remember any of the crap by the time they are old enough to appreciate my stories.

At this point, I would expect the wittier amongst my non-existent readers to tell me to put a cork in it. So I will.


JP/deb said...

I too was fascinated with the note-in-a-bottle idea. I sent one off when younger, but I have no memory of what I said. Lived in coastal towns for some years growing up and found bottles - alas, with no notes - which was always a disappointment.

Your posts, read by one of many, are always real corkers. I'm sure the kids will love reading them one day :)

Time said...

Hi Deb,
The only thing sadder than a bottle without a note is a blog without comments. So thank you for uncorking my blog :)


JP/deb said...

hey, no problem my friend ... waiting for your next piece of inspiration!