This story was generated from Maria's random list of: camera, walk, sunshine, strangers, architecture, history, water, subway, alone, laptop.
A rose by any other name…..
Whiling away an afternoon nibbling biscotti in the sunshine was really nice right up until the moment a waitress spilled a pitcher of ice water onto my computer.
The ensuing smoke and black screen of death meant that I was going to have to walk my laptop to the computer store and once again rely on the geek speaking kindness of seventeen year old strangers to get it resuscitated.
I've never been good with technology.
I've NEVER been good with water.
Why is it always water that causes me grief?
I don't even like to drink the stuff.
It's probably because I've almost drowned twice in my life.
And it wasn't like I was showing off for a girl or trying to save a puppy or a whale or a head of state or anything else that would have made my name go down in history.
And there was no alcohol involved either time.
There was stupidity involved, but no alcohol
The first time I was seven. I couldn't swim but I decided to float out on a log into a major lake with a friend who COULD swim. The lake was choppy and we drifted against some rocks. I got trapped under the log.
I was rescued JUST as everything got sparkly and the angels started singing…..then there was an ambulance, lots of doctors, a stay in the hospital….and lots and lots of strawberry ice cream.
To this day I can't eat strawberry ice cream without smelling antiseptic.
The second time was about six months ago and it happened because of my love of architecture.
I love gargoyles. I've photographed hundreds of them throughout the country.
I never go anywhere without a camera in case I run across an interesting old building hunkered down hiding itself from the eyes of a lustful wrecking crew just itching to tear it down and build a starbucks or a subway.
It seems like there's one on every corner these days, sometimes even on opposite corners, so that you never have to go more than fifty feet in any direction without the possibility of bacon or caffeine.
But I digress….
I was telling you about the second time I almost drowned.
I was near another lake. This one was mostly frozen because it was winter.
I was trying to get a really spectacular gargoyle in frame while backing up slowly and zooming in and out.
Well, apparently I backed too far and backed myself off the edge of the boardwalk and right into the lake.
Luckily my camera strap got caught on the piling and I was able to hang on to it.
Unluckily I was alone in a frozen lake with no purchase for my scrambling feet.
I had gone numb by the time two young Swedish girls found me hanging from the piling with just my nose above the water.
They were touring with a group of nuns looking at old churches in the area.
They shouted for help and the nuns came running.
Several of the girls had phones and called 911.
Unfortunately the phones were also camera phones.
You can still see me being pulled from the frozen lake by a paramedic and two nuns in full habits on YouTube.
It had 290,000 hits as of last week.
The thing that makes it popular?
My clothes froze and stuck to the piling and the paramedics had to cut them off of me to free me.
Did I mention that I was blue by that time? Did I also mention my name?
Let me introduce myself.
My name is Harold Ball.
The caption for the YouTube video?
Blue Harry Ball Handled by Nuns.
I'll never live it down.