Jack wrote this in October, 2005:
Several thousand balloonsters from all over the world are twiddling their thumbs this morning. This was to be the morning for the ‘Special Shapes’ liftoff….. hundreds of balloons in the shapes of everything from Smokey the Bear to the Yellow Submaroon, to the good ship Santa Maria, to a two-hundred foot tall parrot, to a milque-cow-holstein heifer with an udder the size of a barn have lifted off during these events, drifted thither hither and yon across the city or countryside, and occasionally tangled themselves in highline wires.
All the events of the balloon festival hinge on the special shapes. At least for the spectators.
But not this morning. Nature said, you puff up those balloons this morning, I’magonna blow you off to Texas before you even leave the ground. I’m not gonna let this happen, balloonsters.
So the balloonsters are probably sitting in coffee-shops in ABQ and the surrounding towns telling one another balloon stories, recovering from the last-night partying, and hoping it’s better tomorrow.
No mention of wind there, but those bags can be unfriendly if you don’t treat them with respect.
Even on a good day those big ones can rear up on their hind legs and whinny despite the best efforts of humans with all their planning and designing and thinking up ways to get up in the air without dying.
We’re smart, but not THAT smart.
Trying to make up my mind here whether to talk about numbers, or civility.
Maybe civility would be best to touch on.
Some of you blogsters might have noticed long ago that there appears to be a middling amount of competition between forum users over whether this or that system’s best, particularly on Pick 3 games.
Lately the focus has been on a particular one method of trying to win, which evidently diminished the focus on the one that was drawing the cheers a few weeks ago. All of which is interesting in its own right, but not nearly so much as the human interactions and strong feelings involved, along with a certain amount of bluster in both camps.
Before the most recent hopeful system emerged the next-most-recent method threads were worth keeping an eye on just to watch the preening, sulking, and down-talking to the folks who were trying to figure it out.
However, I’ll confess it usually stops short of name-calling. When the leader of one pack gives the best imitation of a shout, calling the leader of the other pack a stale loser and stupid fluck, demanding that the other pack members stay off the new-pack threads, you gotta admit things have degenerated to lows rarely seen here.
It’s sometimes surprising how much a person, completely anonymous in the beginning ends up revealing about all manner of personal traits on a bulletin board made up of electrons on a computer screen, just by having the ability to let it all hang out without fear of consequences.
Civility and civilization emerge from the same root in language. They’re both the result of an agreement we humans, some of us, have made with ourselves and others about how we’re going to treat one another.
But there’s every reason to believe both run contrary to human nature, that both are more a matter of how we’d prefer our fellow-humans treat us, as opposed to how we’d treat them if we could do so without there being any cost, except the internal rot of the soul that commences when we allow ourselves to do so.
That’s a small price to pay for the tension release that comes with just doing what comes natural.