[This Commentary originally intended to appear in the March 22, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]
“Banzai!” yelled Ricky shooting through the narrow gap of eerie outcroppings of ragged rock before gliding into a white abyss of sheer ice. His monoski barely touched the gritty granular snow which provided the only hope for braking his fall.
“Banzai!” echoed Ken, a tequila primed fireplug of non-stop energy and exuberance, following his comrades off the 11,000 foot peak at nearly ninety miles an hour.
Such are my memories of my first-ever ski trip – a four-day bachelor party at Mammoth Mountain on the eastern fringe of the Sierra Nevada’s. Travelling back to L.A. with my cousin Ricky after skiing, which took place a little over a year ago, he mentioned how similar we were.
Of course, I thought to myself, I would never risk life and limb skiing down a monstrous mountain at a speed fast enough to qualify for the Indy 500. Not me, I’m too mature to do that or any of the other wild death-defying stunts my California cousin and his colleagues might partake of. Hang gliders? Forget it! Low level parachutes jumps? No way. I saw my stature as much more elevated than these irresponsible boys.
Boys. I actually called them “boys,” these men who are older than me. I reflected a bit. In a different time and a different place, these young adults might have been glorified as idols. They exhibit the kind of grit that permits a man to pilot a plane through point-blank anti-aircraft gunfire on a tree skirting bombing run. “Someone’s got to do it if we want to stop Hitler,” I could hear the chisel chinned actor proclaim in the generic World War II movie.
“Someone’s got to do it, but never me,” I sighed to myself. Banzai! – the act of living on the edge, fully comfortable that fate is the ultimate arbiter, and that you are a mere player in never ending game. Tempting fate requires an inner confidence few display. Flying without instruments in a dense fog is down-right stupid, but a hero would do it to deliver the rare serum needed to save a sickly child.
Of course, there is no heroic objective in thrill-seeking, but it is good practice. For all we know, blind mindlessness – the spirit of Banzai! – probably clears your arteries. It’s got to have some good if it’s so bad.
I lamented over my lack of fortitude,…
I first met with my publishing partner in late January after returning from the Inaugural Ball. We simultaneously thought to take upon the opportunity to provide Mendon, Honeoye Falls and Lima with a weekly newspaper. Both of us had experience in journalistic writing and both of us were itching to take on a larger project leveraging off that experience. In additional, we both were driven to make sure that our community had a regular forum in which its residents can share views and state their common purpose.
Thus, in her living room, began The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel. We planned carefully, fully confident we would be ready to go into production in just a few short weeks. To insure we were really giving the community what it wanted, we carefully selected an Advisory Board of recognized community leaders. The Advisory Board is representative of all facets of our community – Elected officials, church leaders, business groups, service organizations, and school officials (including the PTA). They were instrumental in helping us get the paper started.
With the help of some friends from computerAccess and the Data Processing Management Association, the Sentinel found itself able to produce virtually everything it needed for laying out the paper. By the time of the California ski trip, the first stories were written and the first ads were sold. The paper was on its way with three full weeks before the first publication date.
It’s not like there were no glitches. Several failed attempts at laser printing had us burning the midnight oil (literally) in a rugged K-car between Honeoye Falls and Irondequoit. Fortunately, on the fourth week of publication God invented the affordable laser printer. Actually, we don’t know if He invented the laser printer or the lease arrangement, but, either way, it worked.
Of course, this followed several more months of intensive labor quite a few brilliant sunrises. Actually, my partner’s husband and I never did figure out what was redder – the sunrise or our sleepless eyes.
Over time, especially when our editor came back from maternity leave, things went along much smoother. This probably pleased at least one elderly woman because the editor knows how to spell a lot better than I do. (Although, I have to admit, not many people did catch my infamous “Diary Farm” headline.)
It’s been a good first year. I guess we can all look back and smile. We might even – if no one is looking – whisper Banzai!
[What is this and why is here? See Interested in Discovering My Time Machine? for more details.]