Friday, August 15, 2003


I almost don't believe the massive blackout on the east coast today. It can't happen -- I'm not there. I was in 1965 when I was 8, and I was there in 1977 when I was driving back from dropping my cousin at her boyfriend's house and it got very, very dark.

To the denizens of New York, I say mazel tov. I am glad that you managed to avoid breaking into stores and making off with televisions and shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. To those of you who had to trudge home from midtown Manhattan to Bay Ridge or Pelham Bay or Flushing or (God help you) Belle Harbor... well, the deity of your choice bless you.

But let me say this about blackouts. They're good for the soul. You remember what's important about life. Things like air conditioning (which we in Seattle don't use much). Elevators (useful when your office is on the 35th floor, as was mine when I worked at NW Ayer in 1980-82). ATMs (although when I first worked there was no such thing) (yes, I'm old). Not to mention your good old-fashioned electric toothbrushes, desktop computers, cable televisions and George Foreman Electric Grills. Imagine a world with none of these things.

But mostly what I thought about today was...


I was out tonight watching my 35+ baseball team lose (my doctor says I have achilles tendonitis and shouldn't run for another month), so I asked the spouse to tape the news coverage. One young woman was being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, and I had to replay her comments two or three times to be sure I heard her correctly.

She'd been at her dentist's office, actually in the process of having her teeth drilled, referring to working in the "time zone" of "thirty, forty years ago when there was no electricity." Granted this woman probably had a stressful day, but someone who works on a trading floor should be bright enough to know that we've had electricity in this country since Thomas Edison. And most time zones I know are about 1,000 miles wide and about an hour's time difference, not thirty years.

Then again, someone actually employed this woman, so I guess old folks aren't that bright, either.

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