08 Nov. 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project

The Rocky Coast of Maine

I was reminded of this story by yesterday's blog, in which I mentioned that I knew a "Susanne."   Although her name is longer by a "ne", this story is shorter by an order of magnitude and not at all sad.  I hardly know Susanne at all.  She's my neighbor, but not an immediate one, and I met her because she married someone I worked with.  One day she asked me for my rocks.

That was an unusual request.  I've since become more acclimated to unusual requests after a much nearer neighbor asked to borrow a frog, but this was a first.  Even so, it seemed benign.  I know about rocks.  They come from the earth, which was in turn formed as a planet billions of years ago from dust circling the sun.  It's a pretty random process, and rocks are everywhere.  Moving a few of them around is pretty harmless, and I'd rather have a happy neighbor than preserve The Plan.  Of course I said "OK."  I suppose I had a picture of Susanne driving up in an SUV and putting some rocks in the back.  If she needed more, she could make an extra trip or two - we're neighbors as I recently mentioned. 

We didn't actually discuss the details of this igneous acquisition; I just assumed that one day I'd have fewer rocks and she'd have her garden wall or whatever.  So, when, several months later I found a backhoe perched on the edge of my lot with no occupant and no warning, I was a bit nonplussed since I had no idea why it was there. 

Valuable Safety Tip:  Never leave heavy construction equipment lying around!


I reported the existence of this machine to The Authorities, who instantly took an interest in it to the extent that someone came and drove it away.  I later heard from Susanne that it was there at her behest and that the operator was far more nonplussed than I when he found it missing.  If this blog had been written at the time, I could have pointed her to the "Valuable Safety Tip" above.  Instead, we had a brief chuckle and, of course, she had her, that is to say, my, rocks.  Much later, when I was asked to move a rock that was blocking a gardening implement, I discovered that rocks are very heavy, so my mental picture of Susanne and the SUV has been eradicated.

Steve Allen, who used to have a television show back when I was entitled to the ten-year-old's sense of humor I'm accused of having now, did a skit called "The Answer Man."  People would give him "answers" and he would on the spot come up with witty questions to go with them.  They were all funny, but for whatever reason, I always liked this one the best, to the extent of remembering it through the ages:

...the answer is:  The Rocky Coast of Maine
Steve, the Answer Man, looking around frantically:  Where'd all these rocks come from?

Poor Susanne.  Although I know she has a fine career, she'll never be Steve Allen.  After all, she knows where all the rocks came from.

Follow-Up 07 October 2008

I recently visited the rocky coast of Maine.  Here are a couple of pictures of the rocks.

Richard Factor

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