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silverback gorilla

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Thoughts on scuba diving and giant squid [28 May 2004|12:11pm]

This sinus medicine is making my heart palpitate. Ladies and gentlemen we are floating through space. Not a good place to be at work. I can stare right through the screen.


Been hard to get back into the swing of things. Post-vacation blues. We got scuba certified, and then I read this article in the New Yorker about giant squid, and now I keep thinking about the deepest point in the ocean, Challenger Deep. So deep that if you sawed off Mount Everest at sea level and plopped it down there, it would still be another mile from its peak to the ocean surface.


You could never scuba dive down there. Your lungs would crumple like tissue. People have done the descent in a bathescope though. The first to do so were amazed, upon reaching the bottom, to see fish swimming around. Deep sea creatures have adapted to extreme conditions: total darkness, intense pressure, noxious gas shooting out from vents, temperatures as high as 250F.


It doesn't take H.P. Lovecraft to conjure up the willies when you contemplate what lies beneath. There is a human impulse that propels us into these depths. But not all of us have it, and certainly not to the unhealthy degree of early deep sea divers who went under not knowing the risks. They got decompression sickness and didn't understand what it was. They succumbed to nitrogen narcosis and died feeling drunk.


I don't know what the point of all this is. It's just what I've been thinking about. When you go out to the ocean and see how it stretches to the horizon, you confront not the beautiful but the sublime. The awful impact of a body unknowable, and still the urge to swim.


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