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Island Life

Perhaps Stephen Colbert’s biggest contribution to the world at large was his coining of the word “truthiness”. In looking it up- not in a book but on the internets- I see that he set forth the principles of truthiness in one of his weekly “the Word” segments in October of 2005. No real definition was set forward, in fear perhaps that the ‘wordanistas over at Webster’ might put it in a book, and books are suspect since they are, as everyone by now knows, filled with stuff that is ‘all fact and no heart’. The wisdom that Mr. Colbert set forth in this soliloquy on that October night was that truthiness should always derive from what you feel, and that the best feelings come from your gut, and since there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your brain, then that should validate the gut feeling over fact and reason. That, in truthiness, was one of Mr. Colbert’s feelings, not mine. In truth, I think I remember hearing that truthiness may have been accepted into the realm of the real by some scholarly source, but instead of referring once again to the tubes and dungeons of the internets, I’ll just go with my gut and say yeah, thanks for asking.

I do believe that Colbert is on to something with this nerve ending thing. I feel this is truthy, since my brain has been telling me I really don’t need to worry about that extra six pack of IPA, while at the same time my gut has been spouting off about how it can now touch things like the counter edge and the espresso machine handle along with any number of tight squeezes around where it never was able to make contact before. The funny thing is though, that my gut isn’t bragging about this. It is saying that it would be happier not bumping into all these things that it never has in the past. It is also saying that I should get out and exercise more, while my brain has been chanting: ‘more chips, more beer, it’s much easier sitting here.’ There is the whole overexposure thing, however,  that keeps my gut conflicted, as it doesn’t like being the large, center of attention when we slide into the requisite biking gear, even though it knows that by climbing into the confines of lycra on a regular basis that the likelihood of becoming a reduced presence increases as the miles and the pounds roll away. When it rains, the brain wins every time by simply reminding the rest of us of bike shoes partially filled with water. On days like today though, when the pavement is dry and the sunlight streams through the windows, even the brain joins the exercise chorus, as stepping out on two wheels, as opposed to sitting here and writing, would mean much less stress, since quite often the task of turning the pedals is nothing compared to the process of deciding what word should follow the one just placed on the page.

One of the things that I’ve found that my brain and my gut agree on is swimming. Last summer, when our pool here on the Island finally opened, I swam nearly every day. The gut was a bit nervous about being exposed at first, but once the routine kicked in it began to shrink and could once again live with itself. The brain, on the other hand found the rhythm of the breathing and the stroke, as well as the mantra of the singular lap count to all be just what it needed. When the collective, personal ‘we’ packed our bags for what turned out to be a month of the beginnings of the ongoing family feud back East, the first thing I did when I got there was get a month pass at the local college pool there, and the daily dip washed away at least some of the impending imbroglio. It was around this time that the Friends of Vashon Pool (FOVP) were forming back here. At the time, from an internet page and a laptop a few thousand miles away I said good on you and good luck, but I did not see the worth in it. On returning to a pool-less existence back here and with a bit of prodding from elsewhere I decided that I would become a pool friend in action as well as word. With a few months of meetings, a message was refined and a mission defined. We did get an extra month of pool operation budgeted for the 2015 season, and have the workings of a plan to get the pool covered for year ‘round use- something that has been asked for by the Island population since the park district was formed.

While holding out at least some hope that an effort to cover the pool might get some traction this time, the reality of public perception Park District indiscretions kept my excitement set near zero. But then, within a week or so of each other I both visited the newly completed skate park bowl and saw a success that Parks had accomplished in spite of the VES fields mess, along with hearing that the executive director and the maintenance chief were off at a conference about running park districts. The years of watching park commissioners twice monthly stuff balloons with cotton candy and tell everyone it was sausage suddenly all seemed comical instead of being the insult that it was. It was then that I decided that the calls to defeat the upcoming parks levy were a threat to what was now happening instead of being the perceived come-uppance certain commissioners deserved. In other, more private quarters I called out the few who had lobbied elsewhere for revenge on the transgressions of the board by voting down the parks levy, and in an act of friendiness I was accused of being the parks number one fan. I don’t know if that is true, but I will accept the badge and have joined in with the Friends of the Parks to at least partly bolster my place in the standings. At any rate, what we learned at the Parks Friends meeting last night was that at least 2083 votes need to be cast to make the election valid and that sixty percent of those votes need to be in the yes column. It is important to remember that a vote for the parks levy in the special April 28th election ensures four more years of operation. It seems that with all that is happening with parks at present, there is a lot to look forward to. Along with that forward gaze, one should keep in mind that the occupants of two the three seats being contested in this November’s Park Board election were a big part of  the VES fields debacle- which has turned into the gift that keeps on taking. It’s a pretty simple choice- vote for Parks on April 28th and against bad park stewardship in November.