I grew up in central Utah in the valleys and foothills below Mt. Timpanogos. When I was growing up, Mt. Timpanogos was reported to be 12,008 feet high, the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range of Utah.
I climbed the mountain 5 times between the age of 12 and 17. Climbing Mt. Timpanogos was not like the pictures you see of people climbing the world’s highest mountains. It was merely a hike up a steep trail that began more than half way up the mountain but at that time my friends and I did not know the difference. We thought that we were real mountain climbers.
The trail zigzagged up the mountain until it arrived at a glacier. The top of the glacier was the first crest of the mountain top. The glacier was climbed the same way we climbed the mountain. Once the top of the glacier had been reached it was an easy hike along the crest of the mountain to the summit. Someone had built a small metal canopy hut and the organizers of the “Timp Hike” were there waiting to congratulate you and give you a small round button pin that proved you had reached the summit.
I was proud to have climbed Utah’s highest mountain and Utah’s only glacier. It was something to brag about. I knew that I could conquer mountains and glaciers. The world was mine. Nothing could hold me back. Those feelings were great and I love to recall them even though it is obvious that I was not a conqueror of mountains and glaciers. I was merely a boy meeting the local challenges of growing up.
I also grew up with stories about the Indian Maiden that slept on the top of the mountain. If you look close and someone points out the bumps and curves, the top of Mt. Timpanogos has the shape of a woman. There were stories of Indian legends about an Indian maiden with a broken heart jumping off of a cliff and the gods causing the earth to rise and create the mountain in her honor.
I didn’t believe the story but I did believe that it was an Indian folk tale.
My first disappointment or ego busting experience came a few years after the last time I climbed the mountain. Someone recalculated the elevation and discovered that the mountain was really only 11,988 feet high. It really wasn't a big deal but somehow I felt cheated. However, Mt Timpanogos was still the highest mountain in Utah so my accomplishment was only diminished by a few feet.
My second disappointment came when I found out the legend of the Indian maiden was made up by a college professor that wanted to romanticize the mountain and the hike. The professor wasn’t even an Indian or related to any Indian in any way. I wondered why some of the local Indians had not scalped him but I guess they had higher morals than he did.
The final blow came when I was doing some research about Utah County for my life story and discovered that Mt. Timpanogos isn’t the highest mountain in Utah. It’s not even the 2nd highest or the 3rd highest mountain in Utah. It is only 11,750 feet high and the 7th highest mountain in Utah.
However I have figured out how to overcome the blows to my childhood memories. I have decided that when I climbed Mt Timpanogos it was the highest mountain in Utah at 12,008 feet. Since then, the wind has blown a few feet off the top of the mountain.
The Indian maiden? Maybe the professor was right. After all, what do I know?
We all have pet peeves. They change from time to time. I believe it’s just due to whatever you’re into or however you’re living your life. My worlds revolve around the internet, or as some people are beginning to call it, “the interNUT”.
I blog, I Google and I use the system for my work. I also get the ton of emails that jam up your system and take up your time. There is a ton of really bad stuff on the internet but there is a ton of good stuff.
I read most of the emails. Some are stupid. Some are cute or funny and some are even informative but it seems like most of them have one ending.
That ending is my pet peeve. In some form or another I am instructed that I must pass it on. The different forms of “pass it one” can be threatening in one way or another. I have collected a few for you edification:
• After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
You have two choices now:
01. Delete this
02. Forward it to the people you care about.
You know the choice I made.
It was a religious message and insinuated that if I didn’t pass it on I hated God and didn’t care about my friends.
• The Chinese have a saying that goes something like this:
'When someone shares with you something of value,
You have an obligation to share it with others!'
I think this one was some political junk about Obama. I should have kept track of what the email was about but I have a good habit of junking all anti Obama letters.
• You can do your bit by remembering to send an e-mail to at least one unstable person. My job is done!
This one was some screwy thing that insinuated that I was mentally unstable. It’s true, I am a little unstable but I don’t like to admit it. (OK, I know it was a joke, but I’ll decide what I want to pass on)
• They say if you pass this on, you will receive a miracle.
I am passing this on because I thought it was really pretty, and besides, who couldn't use a miracle?
Here is another religious letter letting me know that if passed it on I would receive a miracle.
I think I’ve made my point and remember if you don’t pass this on to all of your friends, you will be trampled to death by 1000 marauding camels. If you do pass it on, you will be trampled to death by 1000 marauding interNUT NUTS.
I've been thinking. I try to do that every now and then.
This think is about clichés.
I have noticed that a lot of people, including myself, talk in cliches. When I make a statement it is not uncommon to be answered with a cliche or to answer with a cliche.
One of my favorite cliches is “Opportunity doesn't knock twice”.
When I hear those words I always wonder, why not? If it came the first time, surely it could drop in the 2nd time. What would happen if I’m in the shower and I don’t answer the door when opportunity knocks? It wouldn't be fair if opportunity only knocked once. If that were really the case then no one would ever take a shower and then what a stinking world we would have.
I know it’s just a cliché and cliché’s are just a bunch of words tossed into a pot, stirred around and then extracted by a word witch or just to be fair a word warlock. But people really do believe them and live by them.
What would happen if the word gurus stirred the pot and extracted, "Opportunity won't knock twice”? Would that change the meaning? What if the pot had popped out “opportunity only knocks once”? Would that change the meaning?
Or maybe if they forgot to tend the pot and the words just started popping out. Then the cliché might be “Opportunity knocks once, twice, three times or if you are not careful, opportunity will come knocking every night like a love stricken teenage boy mooning over your giggling teenage daughter”.
You hear the knock and you scream, “Get the hell away from my daughter!” and it turns out to be that pesky old opportunity. Then the cliché could be “opportunity keeps knocking until you chase it away with a shot gun.”
I think that cliches need to be short and to the point. Something like, “black dogs don’t talk”. You could fit that one into any conversation you want to.
Let’s say someone wants to borrow some money. All you have to say is, “They tell me that black dogs don’t talk.” You’re home free. Who in their right mind would challenge you and claim that, “black dogs do talk”?
The statement is correct. Black dogs don’t talk. They might ask, “What does ‘black dogs talking’ have to do with borrowing a buck or two?” You could continue with something like, ""I don't think white dogs can talk either' and then you have shifted the conversation to black versus white and then it will shift to politics and you won't have to worry about giving the guy a buck of two.
Most people are afraid to challenge cliches. We don’t challenge them because we do not want to admit that wew don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.
I once said to a young friend of mine, “It’s tough to make ends meet”.
He thought for a minute and responded, “I guess when you do, you can barbecue them.”
I thought for my minute and said, “No, I’m going to boil them.”
He changed the subject and I wasn't sure if he was pulling my leg (there’s another one of them critters) or whether I was pulling his leg and I really didn't want to ask because, as you know “black dogs don’t talk.”