Tuesday, June 12, 2012


He who does not look ahead remains behind.

Mexican proverb
Hello Rose
This is the tale of Olaf, the prophet, a New England story.

Any man can tell you that some of the most arcane literature can be found written on men's room walls. Contrary to what most people think, and against old wives tales, I don't remember ever reading anything that said something like:

"For a good time call Daisy"

with a phone number attached. But there are statements that seem to find their way onto all the men's room walls of the world. If I have to read one more time:

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy"

I think I will kick the wall down in a rage. Maybe it was mildly clever the first time around, 35 years ago, maybe, but enough is enough. It is worth noting that in some rare cases something can be found of interest. Near a theatre I used to manage was a bar and grill that I liked to frequent at night after the show was over. Among the other nonsense on the walls of the men's room someone had written:

"What's hot and swims"

That curiosity kept me and my colleagues amused for some time.

I used to live in northern New Hampshire, near the White Mountains. It was a tourist town. Almost all year round people would come up from southern New England, what the locals called Flatlanders, to enjoy the recreational aspects of the area. In the winter that meant skiing. There was a lounge with food and entertainment not far from where I lived, and I used to like to go there for lunch after my radio shift was over.

It was usual that there would be plenty of snow by mid to late December for the visiting skiers. But one year the snow was late in coming. And on the men's room wall someone, probably a frustrated flatlander, had written:

"There's no snow"

A few days later I was in the same restaurant and underneath it someone else had written:

"Olaf knows why there is no snow"

As the winter progressed with still no significant precipitation some one else had written:

"Why, Olaf, is there no snow?"

The Winter came and went. During the Spring the walls of the men's room had been painted, thus erasing all communications to and about Olaf.

But the next Winter's weather was comparable. Folks were waiting and hoping for a major snow storm that wasn't happening. I ventured into that men's room one afternoon and, sure enough, there on the wall someone had written:

"Where's the snow"

After about a week I found written this plea:

"Where is Olaf when you need him?"

That seemed like a serious, ongoing saga about Olaf and the lack of snow when a few days later another men's room journalist had written

"Olaf moved to North Carolina"

It seems that in North Carolina they had mastered the art of making snow.

And thus ends the tale of Olaf, the prophet..

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never give up.


Geo. said...

Provocative post, DB, caused me to recall a men's room in Nevada, 1968. They had a condom machine on the wall and someone had scrawled, "Save your quarter. This is the worst chewing gum I ever tasted."

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