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Don Campbell has for four years been videoing several of us older Bend, Oregon eighty-year-olds, to make some sort of documentary of aging. I am one of the subject/victims and with many hours in the can of our unprepared and more or less spontaneous remarks he could edit that material into comedy or tragedy or ecstasy or nonsense. Our conversation yesterday followed a rather heartfelt “Human Development Group” discussion of the big issues of humanity’s trip here on Earth. Three of us “subjects” were having lunch after the meeting and Don showed up with his professional level video equipment and as we were already rather high on ethereal subjects he probably got some comic geriatric profundities. It will be interesting in a year or two when he pulls it all together to watch our younger selves wrestling with the struggles of making sense out of our fading existence.

Lunch at the Beach Hut

Randal, Pat, and Charles having lunch near Mirror Pond at Bend, Oregon

I am wearing my Darwin Award for the second day because I wanted to display it for the Human Development discussion group that meets at Dudley’s. No one asked what it was, perhaps because no one had ever encountered the idea of people taking themselves out of the human gene pool through an act of incredible stupidity. That strikes me as strange because I consider Bend a triple threat city on this issue: 1. dumb, 2. not paying attention and 3. when they do pay attention making stupid decisions. My gross public examples of this are the ubiquitous potholes and deteriorating concrete. A considerable percentage of attention while driving in this town is spent trying to avoid potholes, and avoiding people avoiding potholes. People here are happy with the very low tax rates and seem to think the fairies take care of the streets. Instead of fundamental infrastructure, they spend public money building multimillion-dollar toys to attract tourists. If our country ever hits a bump that even temporarily interferes with the tourist trade, this city will have a severe economic pinch.

This is a wonderful place to live when the world economy is thriving.