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An overworked word

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Columbia Point – July 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine


Recently reported in the Crestone Eagle, Saguache County: Administrator McIntosh was pleased to have been consulted before a lesser Carson Peak was renamed in honor of the late lamented spaceship. No one consulted me, or I might have told them that the greatest potential of the space program is that it may attract the notice of something out there which will swiftly knock some sense into our dense skulls and inflated egos.

Columbia must be the most overworked word in Americanese, unlikely to make anyone’s patriot glands salivate. Columbia Point, specifically, was the name of a Boston landfill, converted in the 1970s to become the fragrant Columbia Point campus of UMass, incidentally, the last school I ever left in the lurch.

So why should we bow to the memory of a fifteenth-century hustler and glorify world conquest and subjugation? We might do better to name our calamities after our other calamities. How about Mount Rumsfeld or Bush Wetland and Dunghill?

I might even call it Mount Loco in honor of myself, who paid the great price, going nuts while heroically attempting to hotwire some vintage tail-lights to a chopped down trailer and synchronize the whole thing to my jury-rigger wiring in the old van, a brave sally which cost the taxpayer not a penny. Or, lets heroicize some local adventurers: Why not Mount Strawbale and Photovoltaic Peak?

Meanwhile back at the 7500-ft. elevation, the drought cycle hasn’t stopped the bountiful desert foliage, such as giant blue puffballs which read, “Wal-Mart, please recycle.” Also to be found are stray buckets, flowerpots, memos to Monarch managers, and meth-lab recipes.

And look what the cat drug in: two-foot lengths of waterline foam wrapper, intrepidly fetched through two cat-entries and arcades of greenhouse. It doesn’t squeal near as much as the other stuff Nancy-boy takes an interest in. If I could just figure out which bush out there in the chico is producing the stuff, I might take out a small business loan and go into a partnership in light manufacturing, maybe even get some Presidential citation for small-business whoop-de-do.

But the bushes are acting dumb as ever, from where I sit. I did notice a brief display of those red-and-blue “no war” flowers, but there weren’t many and they disappeared in a hurry, since the war isn’t over and may not be for as long as we’re governed by the Pentagon, McDonnell, Halliburton and Bechtel. Maybe there’s something lacking in our desert soil and dissent doesn’t get the nourishment it needs.

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove