Ozymandiasville, Illinois


Daniel and I are big fans of the show Life After People.  The show’s premise is everyone on Earth vanishes suddenly.  Every week, the narrator rather gleefully intones how the mightiest works of Man succumb from weather, animals and plants.  We’ve seen the end of Chicago and London, Atlanta and Seattle.  We’ve seen bridges snap and skyscrapers collapse into ruin.  Famous landmarks around the world are ravaged and corrupted.

It was only a matter of time before Daniel decided the fate of Belvidere.  We were out in the backyard, not mowing the long grass.  Daniel walked over to the swing set and gave it the once-over.  The swing set is made of treated wood.  Meka and I stained it when we put it together six or seven years ago, but it’s fading in places already.  Daniel showed me cracks in the wood.  There was a chip missing where the baby slide used to be attached.  Water will get in and that means “freeze cycles”.  This is a favorite mode of destruction from the show.  He stood on the platform and inspected the swings.  The metal chains would rust away.

“They’re covered in plastic though,” I said.  Daniel shook his head.  The plastic would crack and peel over time.  Daniel figured it would be gone in a hundred years; a hundred and fifty at the most.  The parrots would get out of their cages after we vanished.  Their babies would sit on the swing set.  The seeds they drop (and brother, they drop a lot of seeds) would grow up all around and cover the swing set in a grassy forest.  I thought I might mention Akane and Pepper are both female, but decided against it.

The Cub Scout birdhouse would come crashing down when the fibers of the Nylon rope holding it in the air snapped one by one.  The plastic rings would fill with water and fall off in bad weather.  The tornadoes roaring through would be the final straw.  Their winds would knock down what was left.  After a thousand years, Daniel concluded, you would still be able to tell the swing set had once stood in our backyard, “but only if you were an expert.”

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