On a Clear Day
Mike Hathaway, who I worked with in the Forest Service’s Eastern Regional Office before he became Supervisor of the Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin, recently sent along an entertaining list of fun phrases. The statements were created for Lexophiles, people who are lovers of words. Lexophiles favor wordplay when they try to create a bit of humor.
The phrase that tickled me most was the first one on the list:
“I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.”
Another item on the list, although a bit more of a groaner, reminded me of a story:
“When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.”
Smog obscures the landscape in several other places out West. I lived in one (Ogden, Utah) and occasionally traveled to another (Missoula, Montana) on Forest Service business.
Missoula was one of my favorite cities to visit. I liked the friendly people who lived there and the generally easy-going ambiance of the small city. However, temperature inversions often could blanket Missoula with thick fog mixed with air pollutants, creating dense soup very much like the more-famous L.A. smog. It happened fairly often.
Jim Blaisdell, an Assistant Station Director when I worked at the Intermountain Research Station, was in considerable demand as a master of ceremonies for special occasions. He had a dry wit and a talent for using it inventively. Blaisdell had worked in Missoula early in his career.
A visitor from Montana to Station Headquarters learned of Blaisdell’s earlier assignment and asked how he had liked living in Missoula. Blaisdell said, “Well, we lived there almost six years. One morning the fog lifted and we found out it was a pretty nice place."