Friday, September 5, 2008

Tag, I'm It

Loronar at 35 Yards Out tagged me.

Full disclosure. I'm usually one to opt out of the blogging wildfires that sweep across the land. I've seen a bunch of these crop up, and haven't fully followed them. But on blogs I read daily, I have been scrolling to the bottom to see if I was tagged, out of respect for the authors.

That said, here's where I was at various times in history:

September 11 Attacks: September 11, 2001

The city of Buffalo, NY is a funny one for somebody who grew up near NYC, and therefore had ingrained since birth that all cities should look like NYC. Buffalo has dozens and dozens of buildings, ranging between 5 and 10 stories. Relatively small, I'd say. Then, there's this one building. Its the big one. 40 stories tall. And has a very visible, high contrast, primary color logo of a major international bank at its peak. That's it, just one big building. Sticks out like a sore thumb.

So, on a day that there's a report of an unknown number of airplanes crashing into large, visible buildings, in what was at the time an unknown number of locations/cities across the east coast, you pretty much don't want to be in the giant building with the target on top of it.

I heard the news on the radio, then somebody whipped out a small portable TV and we watched the footage.

Although no corporate-wide instruction came out yet, I told my team to evacuate immediately. Most of them wanted to stay and make sure their work was saved and checked into the remote servers and stuff. Very responsible people, outstanding to work with. I grabbed one by the shoulders, and said "GET THE F$%K OUT. RIGHT NOW!" and we all left.

I was a volunteer firefighter at the time, so the story and relief efforts for the families of the FDNY were a big part of life in the following months and years.

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: January 28, 1986

I was in grade school. Hugely into airplanes and flight and outer space and all sorts of stuff like that. Some kids like dinosaurs, I liked NASA. Some kids read Go Dog Go, I was reading WWII: The Airman's War: Life in a B-17 Over Europe. Naturally, I was pretty excited that we were given the opportunity to watch the launch on TV at school, which was a pretty rare treat.

This particular launch was also of importance to me, because it was the first to include a member of the Teacher in Space Project. My father was a science teacher, I had been following along with his application process to join the project. Who knew that overeating and underexercising would prove to be a good thing, since it disqualifies you from being selected for a NASA mission.

Hurricane Katrina: August 29, 2005

I don't really have a particularly close connection with this one. I watched the news, was appalled at the complete incompetence of our government to provide timely and effective help for the people impacted by the disaster, but then again, it was just another cluster fu$@ in a long chain of clusters fu$@.

And I don't know about you, but when I see the disaster footage, the thing that really gets to me is seeing the animals. Cats, dogs, farm animals, wild creatures, all clinging to roofs and tree tops to keep out of the floods, starving and exposed to the elements. That's always a tear jerker.

Reagan Assassination Attempt: March 30, 1981

I was a lil kid at the time. Lil kids growing up in the overprotective environment of American suburbs don't really understand the concept of assassination, so while I was vaguely aware that something bad happened, not really a significant moment in my life.

John Lennon's Death: June 8, 1980

Even lil'er than when the Reagan thing went down, so yeah, I'm gonna have to go with no on this one too.

Kurt Cobain's Death: April 5, 1994

Never a big Nirvana fan. A strange part of me both lol's and cries at the memory of this one.

Earlier that year in highschool, one of our classmates killed himself. The kid was a bit of an outcast, not really accepted by any of the social cliques in the school. There was some small uproar over the tragedy of his death, but the school more or less kept on keepin' on.

Then Kurt. And you'd have thought the world had come to an end. People tried to organize sit-ins and memorial services and stuff.

WFT? Some popular musician living in a far off part of the country eats a bullet and you're all up in arms, but your socially unpopular neighbor and classmate goes down the same path and you barely notice? Get some perspective here, ppl.

John F. Kennedy Assassination: November 22, 1963

My closest connection with this one was the Seinfeld episode where they recreated the event, replacing killers with NY Mets baseball players, and bullets with loogies.

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