Taking the longboat to nowhere on Evergreen Lake

Long an important part of Evergreen living, the placid waters of Evergreen Lake may soon be just as important to Evergreen dying.

Specifically, a proposal before the Evergreen Parks and Recreation District would clear the way for bereaved mountain residents to conduct Viking burials on the 77-year-old reservoir. “It seems perfectly natural to me,” says Snorri Halvjorsdottir, an event coordinator for Denver Mountain Parks and a co-sponsor of the proposal. “Who wouldn’t want to be launched into Valhalla aboard a flaming longboat on Evergreen Lake? The sanitary and catering facilities can accommodate any number of mourners.”

The practice of setting a departed loved one and their most valued possessions adrift in a burning vessel may have originated in the coastal fjords of 6th century Norway with the warlike Rus people. “There’s no question that Evergreen Lake is kind of fjord-y,” insists Halvjorsdottir. “It may not be very deep, or long, or surrounded by towering granite peaks, but there’s an adjacent 18-hole golf course and the whole west end is a protected wetland.”

Independence Heights resident Beowulf Tryggvason, who wrote the proposal with Halvjorsdottir, got the idea for Viking burials on Evergreen Lake while attending a funeral ceremony at which his great-aunt’s ashes were scattered inside the Mother Lode Casino in Cripple Creek. “It just seemed right,” Tryggvason remembers. “She loved the Mother Lode – the nickel slots, the $2.99 prime rib sandwiches – and that’s where she would have wanted her remains to rest.” Considering the huge numbers of people who regularly fish, boat and picnic at Evergreen Lake, he felt that some provision should be made allowing people to include the site in their eternal game plan. “After all,” he says, “boating on Evergreen Lake isn’t just legal, it’s encouraged. Plus, since they don’t do fireworks at the lake anymore, Viking funerals could be a big summertime draw.”

Skeptical at first, EPRD accountant Sigurd Dynglinga is now strongly behind the initiative. “According to our records,” he explains, “there is usually about 45 minutes between when the pedal boats come ashore and when a private party starts in the Lakehouse. That’s almost an hour when the district isn’t making a dime.” The under-utilized interval, he says, can easily be filled by revenue-producing Viking funerals.

The original proposal included a provision allowing a family member or cherished household retainer to be sacrificed and set adrift with the deceased. “I crunched the numbers myself,” Dynglinga says, “and as tempting as the idea was, we couldn’t really okay it without also agreeing to let heavily-armed women, crazed by grief, run amok after the ceremony. All it would take is one dismembered tourist and we’d never hear the end of it from the Chamber of Commerce.”

In truth, the county may not have the authority to prevent the romantic Norse tradition. “EPRD rules allow the use of private, non-motorized water craft on Evergreen Lake, and this is presumed to include shallow-draft, lashed-plank Viking longboats carrying the fallen to the halls of their fathers.” Those same rules, Dynglinga says, do not discriminate against deceased-American boaters, so long as they are at least 18 years old and sober. “As far as burning the ship to the waterline, well, anybody with a driver’s license who can sign a liability waiver qualifies for a campfire permit.”

The first Viking funeral could take place as early as this June when Evergreen Estates resident Grunnhild Eyrbyggja’s husband, Dorolfur, returns from his annual hunting trip. “If he walks through the door with an MLT luggage tag on his duffle and his pockets full of matches from Caesar’s Palace like he did last year, it’s Gotterdammerung-time.”

Next stop, Hall of the Slain

Getting Back to Nature

Stereotypes are easy.

Funny? Or nefarious?

That’s why we like them. Easy is, um, easier.

And yet, we are endlessly reminded, stereotypes are unfair. Inaccurate. Harmful. Because everybody’s different; unique; special; insert-your-own- stereotype-defying adjective-here.

That’s true enough, so far as it goes. For every drunken Irishman of my acquaintance, there’s a Mick who won’t touch the stuff. For every arrogant German, a Teuton of more temperate attitude. I’ve known many a Greek who lives out loud on Ouzo and bouzouki music, and I’ve know many another to be bookish and retiring.

Yet stereotypes persist. Despite all assurances to the contrary, the weight of observational evidence would seem to indicate the existence of general personality trends among persons of similar ethnic background. A lot of Frenchman really are rude, for example, and the Danish tend to diffidence.

A dispassionate observer might conclude that good reasons underlie bad reputations. For myself, I always assumed that, over a reach of centuries, individual societies evolve in direct response to prevailing circumstances, naturally emphasizing those social and behavioral patterns best suited to survival in specific climatic, social, economic and political conditions. The Swedish, for instance, are taciturn because it’s dark all the time, and the Irish like to drink because the English used to pick on them so much.

I didn’t invent the idea – that’s pretty much Cultural Adaptation 101 – but I’m a bit abashed in hindsight that I was for so long willing to blithely toe a straight “nurture” line on cultural development when common sense suggests a strong “nature” component. In my defense, I wasn’t alone in that deficiency. For more than 50 years it’s been an article of faith among sociologists, educators, and those ardent levelers for whom “social justice” seems an attainable goal, that we all emerge from the womb a “blank slate” upon which individual experience inscribes our personality. In view of what we know now – and, more to the point, knew then – about genetics, such an unyielding stance seems naïve at best, and at worst intellectually dishonest.

Hard-line Nurturers seem happy to ignore the contradictions underlying their own assumptions. They insist, for example, that a child’s success in school is informed solely by the quality of instruction and encouragement they receive, yet have no problem demanding increased funding to chemically treat and medicinally mitigate presumed biological barriers to learning like attention deficit disorder and dislexia. Nurturers see no disconnect between their belief that boys who are nurtured in feminine environments don’t grow up to be violent and their dearly-held conviction that all men are naturally violent. They can as easily argue a purely environmental foundation for infidelity as a purely genetic basis for homosexuality. Fact is, I don’t think you can have it both ways.

Dyed-in-the-wool Naturers, on the other hand, are as quick to attribute virtually all behaviors to the manner and quality of our physical construction, in blind defiance of the obvious and singularly human ability to adapt our mental and personal conduct at will. Not one of us, between sunup to lights-out, doesn’t modify our thinking or actions at least once, and in direct odds with our natural inclination.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers. I’m not a scientist, although I once sat next to one on a plane ride from Tucson to Denver. Astrology is a science, right? Turns out copper is my lucky metal. Anyway, I may not know where Nature ends and Nuture begins, but I suspect it’s somewhere in the middle. About a year ago, I was somewhat surprised to be supported in that contention by National Geographic, a stubbornly Nurture-centric and unabashedly relativistic publication on all matters cultural.

Separated at birth

‘Twas in January of the year 2012, and the article was “A Thing or Two About Twins.” As it happens, diverse teams of researchers from universities and agencies across the country have for 20 years been waging a campaign officially titled Twins Reared Apart, but usually just referred to as the Minnesota Study. In brief, their method is to locate identical twins who were separated in youngest childhood and reunited as adults, then minutely (and figuratively, of course) dissect their lives and characters. The study’s purpose is to learn how the separately-nurtured pairs are alike, and discern whether Nature or Nurture might best explain their similarities. To date, 137 pairs of reunited twins have come under the microscope, and the findings are astonishing.

“For people raised in the same culture with the same opportunities,” the article reads, “differences in IQ reflected largely differences in inheritance rather than in training or education.”

For revealing that little piece of hard, cold, statistical data, one researcher, a college professor, was targeted by far-left campus groups for immediate dismissal. And the figures grow more compelling, and more interesting, with the reading. For instance, if one identical twin has a criminal record, there’s a 50-percent greater likelihood their identical counterpart has also run afoul of the law “suggesting that genetic factors somehow set the stage for criminal behavior.”

Further, the Minnesota Study indicates a strong genetic influence on the strength of a person’s religious commitment, though not on choice of faith, and strong statistical evidence for genetically ordained aggressiveness, aesthetic sensibilities and romantic tendencies. Curiously enough, the article’s author, and the researchers themselves, seemed a bit crestfallen by those discoveries, but soldiered on anyway, in the name of science, and because there’s plenty of evidence for other factors that can, and do, mitigate genetic imperatives.

For one thing, a new field of study called “epigenetics” makes clear that genes are only as good as the strength to which they are “expressed” in the organism. Imagine that Mozart and Yoko Ono are identical twins, each with an identical gene potentially conferring great musical ability. Now imagine that gene is an amplifier, and Yoko’s dial is stuck on 2, while Mozart’s is cranked up to 11. Same gene, different expression, vastly divergent results. You get the picture.

For another, a genetically increased probability of criminal behavior isn’t the same thing as knocking off a liquor store or producing the criminally bad “Double Fantasy” album. The very fact that a percentage is applied speaks to the many way in which environmental factors can influence genetic predilections. Unless your delinquent gene is turned up to 11 all the time, a strong law-abiding environment could well suffice to keep you on the righteous path, and running with a pack of no-count hoodlums could land you in jail however clean your DNA.

The thing is, as fascinating and scientifically valid as the Minnesota Study may be, those are all truths that reasonable people of average intelligence should be able to deduce without resort to twins, scientists, or math of any kind.

Virtually everyone will agree that our physical characteristics – from height to freckles to genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis – are direct manifestations of the blueprint contained in our specific DNA. Why would anyone assume our psychological characteristics are somehow exempt from that relationship? If DNA can make Peter a faster runner than Paul, can’t it as easily make Paul a better thinker than Peter? The brain is, after all, a physical organ that functions and is sustained by the same processes as a lung or a liver, and the operating efficiency of individual lungs and livers is no more uniform than their owners’ ability to bluff at poker. In terms of mental acuity, the same genetic variations that make one person a track star and another asthmatic must necessarily result in varied mental landscapes, each in no small part the product of genetic inheritance.

To remove the argument from the speculative and into the empirical, consider that when the union of two Caucasians result in a Caucasian offspring, nobody ascribes that outcome to environmental factors. When two tall people give birth to four tall children, most accept the childrens’ tallness as an inherited condition. And when the children of two smart people excel at their studies, most are comfortable asserting that intelligence “runs in the family.”

The most common argument against a genetic component to human mentality is at once historical and largely emotional. To wit ~ allowing the possibility that intelligence and behavior are hereditary would be to somehow legitimize the various politically-driven eugenics programs attempted by, among others, Adoph Hitler. Put another way, because a scientific principle has been – or could be – put to evil purpose, it can only be wrong and must be expunged from the catalogue of human learning. It’s a bit like saying that because atom bombs are terrible weapons, the atom can’t really be split. Sorry to break it to you, but that genie’s out of the bottle. And if the field of nuclear physics has resulted in great suffering, it has also yielded great benefits, and a greater understanding of it is no less essential to human advancement than the study of medicine.

Secrets revealed!

Likewise, the fact that a more comprehensive knowledge of genetics could potentially be put to malicious use doesn’t diminish its potential for good, its importance to the body of human knowledge, or its essential truth. To maintain that our psychological proclivities are somehow insulated from our genetic legacy is to deny both science and the testimony of one’s own eyes, and to bury one’s head in sand no less deeply than the Christian fundamentalist who insists the Earth is 6,000 years old because the Bible says so.

If, at this point, you haven’t found more rewarding diversion watching funny animal YouTubes, you’re probably wondering

“What’s his point?”

I’m glad you asked because, believe it or not, I have one.

Although awake only intermittently during Introduction to Physical Anthropology, I came-to often enough to know this much: The longer a population remains relatively static, the more concentrated certain genetic traits become within that population. On a vast stage, that’s why Africans have dark skin, Chinese have shoveled teeth, and Caucasian males can’t jump. On a more intimate scale, it’s why Inuits tend to be short, the Swedish tend to be blond, and the English tend to have bad teeth. The operative word here is “tend.”

Anybody who’s ever spent time among the Swedes and didn’t take their own life as a result knows that not all of them are blond. Far less than half, in fact. As it happens, blond hair is a relatively rare human trait, but long genetic isolation has concentrated the genetic formula for blond hair within the Swedish population, increasing the relative  incidence of blond hair within the Swedish population. All Swedes may not be blond, but enough of them are to make it a justifiably distinguishing characteristic of Swedishness.

Now, if we assume that mentally determinant genes distill in the same way that physically affective ones do – and I think we just decided they do – then specific populations must necessarily display a greater incidence of certain characteristic behaviors, aptitudes and attitudes.

This is where I step in it.

Maybe, just maybe, a statistically large percentage of Chinese students excel at mathematics because their brains are built for it. And perhaps the Germans are known for making really good cars because a mental machinery conducive to engineering has been concentrating in their gene pool for a hundred generations. And what if the Italians are traditionally adept at organized crime because whatever gene is reponsible for thumbing one’s nose at the cops and courts is more frequently represented in Italian DNA?

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

What it makes me think is that maybe stereotypes are not really unfair generalizations so much as the intuitive application of sound scientific principle. And that by such meticulous and logical method we may reasonably conclude that – as a function of statistically relevant frequency, of course – the Irish really are shiftless louts. And Bulgarians really are thuggish hoods. And the French really are insufferably snooty. And Arabs really do hold grudges. And Poles are mule-headed, and Russians are paranoid, and Greeks are as reliable as a pack of feral cats, and the Chinese really are inscrutable.

It’s liberating.

Even better, since America has never had a static population we may freely and accurately stereotype each other based solely on our respective last names.

Think of the time it will save.

Best of all, now that we have established a solid and unassailable foundation for them, ethnic jokes can once again be plied without reservation.

Did you hear the one about the Indian couple that didn’t know the difference between Vaseline and window putty?

Go ahead – it’s not insensitive.

It’s science!

Neighborhood pest revealed as obsessive movie idol

About two weeks ago, when she first heard something rooting through her garbage cans after dark, Evergreen resident Brie Kammhem-Behr was annoyed. Sunday night, after she staked out her driveway and caught the culprit in a flashlight’s accusing beam, she became truly frightened.

“At first all I could see was a dark shape hunched over a pile of trash and tearing at a half-eaten Hot-Pocket with its teeth,” she said on Monday morning, still clutching an aluminum baseball bat and clearly shaken. “Then he looked up and snarled at me and his eyes reflected the light like a pair of golden globes. It was Johnny Depp.”


Pesky media star Johnny Depp


As unlikely as that sounds, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that Kammhem-Behr’s terrifying discovery may go far toward explaining the sudden rash of over-turned trash cans, frightened household pets and soaring Cutty Sark sales that have plagued central Evergreen during the last three weeks.

“It’s starting to add up,” explains deputy Gilbert Grape, carefully dusting a deeply-chewed, silver-tipped ebony cigarette holder for fingerprints. “A jogger found this in a porta-potty at Evergreen Lake that we think Depp may be using for shelter.”

For one Main Street business owner who wishes to remain anonymous until she’s heard back from her agent, the J.D. sighting provides the missing piece of a messy puzzle.

“Every morning when I come in, the delivery porch is littered with stale croissant ends and Galois butts,” she says. “Now that I know Johnny might be crashing in there, I should be able to get a fortune for them on e-Bay.”

Reached by telephone at his Los Angeles office, film-agent Morey Amsterdam declined to give Depp’s present location, or even say when he and his most illustrious client last spoke. He did confirm, however, that Depp walked off the set of his latest picture, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Planks a Million,” nearly a month ago, putting the project on indefinite hiatus

Still, one must ask what personal demons could drive a celebrity of Depp’s stature to such wretched depths. According to the megastar’s therapist, celebrity headshrinker Dr. Royce Carruthers, the answer is tragically simple.

“Basically, he began to feel snubbed by your community and it sent him around the bend,” Carruthers explains. “He fell in love with your town, last year, and did his best to embrace it with his whole heart. He went house-hunting among your beautiful hills, shopped in your quaint groceries, noshed at your local bagelries, even took to walking around your lovely lake early each morning. Yet everybody acted like he wasn’t even there and, for a man who’s adored by millions, that was intolerable. Medically speaking, he went Froot Loops.”

While the thought of an unhinged Hollywood icon skulking around Evergreen’s quiet neighborhoods is certainly disturbing, it’s not without ample precedent. In late 2002, cinema tough-guy Al Pacino terrorized the quiet township of Cactus Creek, Nev., for nearly a month after the local Bijou closed his latest picture, “The Sense of a Wombat,” after only two weeks. And just last year, Hollywood heavyweight Susan Sarandon, esteemed in industries circles as an actress of great seriousness, spent several days wandering the tiny hamlet of Quaker Oaks, N.H., sleeping in the park, eating from birdfeeders and frightening household pets. According to Amsterdam, the episode began when Sarandon learned that the popular half-pound “Susan Saran-Ton” garden burger at Mimi’s Silver Screen Diner in downtown Quaker Oaks had been renamed the “Adam Sandler-wich” after the prominent ham stopped to disburden himself on a dwarf chestnut tree on nearby Rural Route 86.

Even now, county personnel are bending their efforts to catching the troubled superstar. Authorities hope that deftly camouflaged snares laid in Dedisse Park and baited with plastic Oscar trophy replicas will snare the two-time nominee so that he can be safely darted and relocated to a less natural environment.

“We don’t want to hurt him,” Grape says. “We just want to end the fear and loathing in Evergreen.”

Used by permission of Evergreen Newspapers

Ancient Humor



Q: What occupies the last six pages of the Lada User’s Manual?

A: The bus and train timetables.

This little chestnut used to have them rolling in the meat lines back in jolly olde Petrograd. Or take this timeless tittle from far Cathay.

Q: Why don’t airplanes run into the stars?

A: Because the stars can dodge.

kimyeAn essential ingredient of humor is context. It’s hard to know why Kimye is funny if you don’t get TMZ, and tech-support gags fall flat if you’ve never been crushed by it. Unless you’ve been disappointed by Soviet industrial incompetence, or understand the nuances of Mandarin Chinese, jokes generated thereby might not seem particularly humorous. On the other hand, we’ve all driven a lemon at one time or another, and jokes about airline food are an important part of our collective social diet. Even if we don’t get the specific gag, we know where it’s coming from.

But can the same be said of humor that predates the Pacer? Jokes coined before stewardesses? Jests made in an Internet-free vacuum? If there’s a commonality to humor, a binding thread that transcends language, culture and time, to find it we’ll have to look back a-ways, to an age as foreign to Carrot Top as it is to Yakov Smirnov and TJ Jin. To find the Mother Cell of humor, we must start at the beginning.

Sumerian_account_of_silver_for_the_govenor_(background_removed)From the ancient soil of Sumer, in what is now southern Iraq, those merry madcaps of the science world, archaeologists, pulled a 3,900-year-old clay tablet inscribed with the world’s oldest known joke.

Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.



A familiar theme, if not reassuringly so. And wags of the Fertile Crescent bequeathed to history plenty of other low-brow quips. Consider this proto-riddle left to us on a Babylonian student’s work-tablet.

Q: In your mouth and your teeth, constantly staring at you, the measuring vessel of your lord. What is it?

A: Beer.

It seems the Cradle of Civilization leaned more to Judd Apatow than Dick Cavett, and the otherwise sophisticated Egyptians weren’t much better. Ponder this gem committed to papyrus around 1,600 BC.

Q: How do you entertain a bored pharaoh?

A: You sail a boatload of women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.









It would be another thousand years before deep-thinking Plato, who may have been the first person ever to invest serious brain-time in the mechanics of comedy, dreamed up the Superiority Theory of humor which says that people will laugh at anything involving the foibles and misfortunes of somebody else. This, then, from the same penetrating minds that gave us Antigone, Democracy and the Parthenon…

Wishing to teach his donkey not to eat, the man did not offer him any food. When the donkey died of hunger, he said “I’ve had a great loss! Just when he had learned not to eat, he died!

philogelosThe Superiority Theory of humor was alive and well in 250 A.D. when Roman scholars Hierokles and Philagrios took quills to parchment and came up with the earliest known joke book. Titled “Philogelos” (“The Laughter Lover”), it’s a misfortune-loving treasury of 265 foible-filled anecdotes numbered and sorted with Roman efficiency into categories like “Intellectuals”;

No. 43: When an intellectual was told by someone, “Your beard is now coming in,” he went to the rear-entrance and waited for it. Another intellectual saw this and said “I’m not surprised that people say we lack common sense. How do you know that it’s not coming in by the other gate?”


No. 246: A misogynist stood in the marketplace and announced: “I’m putting my wife up for sale, tax-free!” When people asked him why, he said: “So the authorities will impound her.”

and “People with Bad Breath”;

No. 234: A man with bad breath asked his wife “Madame, why do you hate me?” And she said in reply “Because you love me.”

Sigmund Freud thought to out-think Plato with what he called the Relief Theory of humor. According to Freud, jokes are a kind of release valve for secret desires. Take a guess what secret desire is hinted at in this riddle from the 10th-century Codex Exoniensis, a compendium of Anglo-Saxon poetry enshrined within Exeter Cathedral.

key3Q: What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before?

A: A key.



But not all ancient humorists assigned profound significance to their craft. Take 12th-century Italian scholar Poggio Braciolini, author of “Facetiae” and the Middle Ages’ most popular comedy writer. “It is proper, and almost a matter of necessity commended by philosophers,” Poggio wrote, “that our mind, weighed down by a variety of cares and anxieties, should now and then enjoy relaxation from its constant labour, and be incited to cheerfulness and mirth by some humorous recreation.” Braciolini incites cheerfulness and mirth thusly:

melon2Several persons were conversing in Florence, and each was wishing for something that would make him happy. One would have liked to be the Pope, another a king, a third something else, when a talkative child, who happened to be there, said, “I wish I were a melon.” “And for what reason?” they asked. “Because everyone would smell my bottom.” It was usual for those who want to buy a melon to apply their noses underneath.

While none of those antique rib-ticklers might strike the modern mind as knee-slapping, it’s easy to perceive the underlying comical construction of each. They all adhere, in their way, to what latter-day joke-meisters Victor Raskin of Purdue University and Texas A&M’s Salvatore Attardo pioneered as the not-at-all-funny-sounding “Script-based Semantic Theory of Verbal Humor” and later refined into the grandiose “General Theory of Verbal Humor.” As Raskin explained to the New Yorker just last year, “The idea is that every joke is based on a juxtaposition of two scripts. The punch line triggers the switch from one script to the other. It is a universal theory.”

And it appears that some contexts are universal, too. Some scripts, however, may be more universal than others.

No. 51: A doctor was talking to a patient. “Doctor,” the patient says, “Whenever I get up after a sleep, I feel dizzy for half an hour, then I’m all right.” “Then wait for half an hour before getting up,” said the doctor.


Moving On

New Horizons

While Evergreen Newspaper journalists Bonnie Benjamin-Skopinski and Nancy Hull cheerfully prepare for exciting new careers, their friends and colleagues gird themselves for the dismal prospect of empty desks and comrades truly missed.

“I think what I’ll miss most about Bunny is her excellent writing posture,” said Chris Ferguson, his voice husky with emotion. “There’s going to be a lot of young cub reporters coming through here who’ll never have the chance to see her sit…sit there…typing so…vertically.” Overwhelmed by his feelings, Ferguson buried his face in his hands and wept.


A silver lining

“I haven’t been here as long as some, but I feel like Nancy was – in a real way – my rock, my sensei,” said Jeffco reporter Heath Urie, wiping tears on his sleeve and digging through Nancy’s desk at the Columbine office looking for useful office supplies. “Does her chair look more comfortable than mine? I think it looks more comfortable than mine.”

“It’ll be a bummer without Bonnie,” said Nick King, photo editor for Evergreen Newspapers. “I’ve gotten so used to sharing hip-hop downloads with her, and Bonnie’s turned me on to some very fly rap artists. Often, we’d sing along together in the office, jiving to the jungle beat and driving Brian crazy. I guess those happy times are gone for good, now.”

“As a reporter, as a coworker, and as a friend of the earth, Nancy has many strengths,” Logo-USCC-BPI-compostablesaid Clear Creek Courant editor Meghan Murphy, lounging slothfully in her Idaho Springs office. “If I had to pick her best feature, it would be her almost total biodegradability. From top to bottom, Nancy’s organic. I wish more people shared her commitment to the environment.”


“Bonnie’s more than a great reporter,” explained news editor Noelle Leavitt, softly petting the cheap formica desktop where so many of Bonnie’s powerful stories were created. “She was like a 24-hour-a-day podcast that never needed refreshing. I’ll always be grateful to her for introducing me to the world of Internet journalism.”


Cherished memories

“I guess what I admire most about Bonnie is how she used to travel through the woods wearing that striking leather mini-skirt, stopping at every village she came to and fighting for the common people against robbers and corrupt officials.” As she spoke, High Timber Times reporter Pamela Lawson paged through one of nearly a dozen tear-stained photo-albums she’s compiled showing Bonnie in every aspect – at work, shopping for groceries, in her hockey uniform, walking her dogs – pictures that Pamela spent three years surreptitiously gathering and that are all she has now by which to remember her colleague. 

A memento


“I think I speak for everyone in the Columbine office when I say that Nancy was a very neat dresser, but if Heath thinks he’s getting her chair, he’s dreaming,” sobbed sports editor Dan Johnson, attaching initialed sticky notes to everything from plastic filers to Nancy’s Tri-Delt photograph. “Does she have a stapler? Because I could use a new stapler.”