Sunday, October 7, 2007

The $100 photo (or music for the fish)

Pin It I took a drive up Provo Canyon today and found myself at Cascade Springs. What a truly glorious afternoon it was to be out enjoying the beauty of the world at this wonderful time of year. In fact, while up at the springs, I took quite a famous photo that is worth $100. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering just how I was able to calculate the value of this fantastic photograph...right?


Well, make yourself comfortable because I will spin you a tale which will undoubtedly cause you to laugh, cry, and draw in your breath as you clutch the person next to you. Yes, it really is that good.
To answer your question, I need to let you know about a little thing know as economics. You see economics, or the study of goods and services, teaches us about something called “opportunity cost.” Opportunity Cost quite simply states that we cannot have everything we want because our wants are limitless, and the things we very often desire are scarce. When we “purchase” something, either with our money or our time, it comes at the cost of something else which we could have gotten/done instead. Say, for instance, I wanted to go to the movies to see “Hairspray” yet, I also wanted to make sure the kitchen and bathroom at my house were clean before I left for ComedySportz that night. Well, because my time is scarce, and I can’t “make” any more of it, I need to spend it on that which will do the greatest good, right? (By the way, the movie was awesome).
“So”, I can almost hear you ask, “Just what was the opportunity cost of this photo, Jason?”
Suffice it to say, the “cost” involved with my famous photo came at the price of something else…Now, before you start second-guessing and decide that I spent too much of my day there (which I had planned to do anyhow) I will just tell you. You see, I went to Cascade Springs fully intending to spend some of my time there, it was not a cost to me, however, what I did not expect to spend was this:


Now, there are undoubtedly some of you whose little brains are already working this one out. For those a little less adept I will explain. You see, I was on this arching bridge and looking up at the glorious view you saw previously in the top photo. I thought a much better depiction of the scene could only happen if I were to hold my camera right above the water and snap the photo from this vantage point.
The plan was beautiful—however not flawless—for as I leaned out over the water something slipped from my shirt pocket and fell with a splash into the crystalline water, flowing like liquid silver beneath me. It took only a split second to figure out what it was. I quickly placed my other valuables on the shore by the bank and returned to the bridge, leaning out over the side and feeling around under the rapidly-flowing water. The stream was ice-cold and as my fingertips floundered around mossy stones and watercress, I came up empty-handed.
An elderly couple was quite sympathetic of my plight as they had witnessed the entire tragic event from the shore. As I looked down into the quickly-flowing water and stabbed my hand in for another go, the elderly gentlemen (whom I will christen as “Rufus”) felt free to tell me something entirely obvious, “I saw something black slip out of your pocket...but I don’t see it anymore.”

Thanks, Grandpa Rufus…I couldn’t figure that one out all on my own.

I soon gave up my attempt, passing it all off with a laugh and wandered up the trail, after all, Rufus and this wife had wanted to use the bridge to get their picture taken by their son and I was in their way. As I walked along the trail alone and in complete silence, I was lost in thought...I was thinking of ways which I could reacquire my Mp3 player. Undoubtedly, rainbow trout were even now enjoying the sounds of Nickel Creek or had started listening to the 7th Harry Potter audio book...they probably wanted to know what was going to happen with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named just as much as I did. It was at this moment that I came up with my ingenious plan to get my player back…
I remembered a sign earlier on in my walk proudly proclaiming that 7,000,000 gallons of water flowed from Cascade Springs every day. Alright, since there are 24 hours in a day with 60 minutes to each, that would put you at 1,440 minutes per day. Multiply this by 60 seconds per minute and you’ve got 86,400 seconds. Now, divide seven million by this number and it gives you roughly 81 gallons of water flowing every second...however, since some of this must sink into the ground, and animals must drink a portion of it as well as some of it being lost back to the air through evaporation, I was probably only looking at about 70 gallons.
Whoa…70 gallons! When I think of gallons I always think of containers of milk…and that, my friend, is a lot of milk. I have a pretty good understanding of a gallon because I did a “gallon challenge” at a ward party awhile ago and I tried to drink a gallon of warm lemonade before any of the 9 other idiots did. It only took me about ¾ of the gallon before I began throwing it all up (along with dinner) but had to continue doing it anyway because all of my friends (as well as complete strangers) were cheering me on and chanting my name, however, that is another story. My point is…70 gallons a second is a LOT of water.
Alright, that means my first plan was not only ridiculous, but theoretically impossible as I had no way to divert 70 gallons of water for even one second…much less any way to soak it up. My second idea was much better and it was only a simple matter of logic to arrive at it. I didn’t have to block the water flow at all, but instead conduct an experiment which would allow for me to not only find my Mp3 player, but to prove that all of that junk I learned years ago in science when studying about aerodynamics could indeed come in handy.
All I had to do was to find a rock similar in weight and size to my Mp3 player, copy the trajectory and entry into the water exactly as it had fallen out of my pocket, watch where the rock landed, and I would know the exact location of my submerged musical gadget! Ah…I walked quicker, and as I did I congratulated myself for my sheer genius and brilliance!
Well, rocks are not all too plentiful in areas of water. Undoubtedly, there had been many children in this area for countless years who’d scoured the ground pretty thoroughly for rocks…since most of these were probably already in the brook, it took a little longer to find one than I’d originally anticipated. After a few minutes of searching I finally found one that would suit my purposes. I returned to the bridge with a smug grin, fully believing that I would retrieve my Mp3 player...and perhaps it wasn’t ruined after all but would work again once I had dried it out. Rufus’ wife—I’ll call her Agnes—had helpfully pointed out that cell phone batteries could be saved once they were submerged in water if you buried them under rice. Not that I had any rice with me, but I could try this out once I gotten home.

I very carefully took my stone and repeated the “fall” just as it had happened before. I watched carefully as the rock quickly sank into the water, not five inches downstream from its point of entry.
I quickly positioned myself on the bridge and reached down into the water yet again. I searched more thoroughly than I had done before. I also noticed several people who’d been walking down toward the bridge suddenly seemed to change their mind as wanting to cross over it…probably thinking I was lying there because I’d just crawled out from underneath it, like the trolls you always read about in fairy tales who lived under the bridge and collected tolls from unwary travelers.
Well, after successfully freezing both of my hands and scaring off a 10 year-old and his dog, I came up once-again empty handed. It was no use, my Mp3 player was officially MIA.
I walked back to my car, somewhat forlornly. I climbed inside and started the engine before I noticed what was on my windshield…


You have got to be kidding…
Well, I searched around for my National Parks Pass so I could flash that to the ranger and get out of there without paying the extra fee but it was no avail…I couldn’t find my pass at all…I must have taken it out of my car. Why? I don’t know…maybe I thought I’d be walking to a national park instead of driving. I dug around in my car for the $3 fee but the smallest bill I had on me was a fiver…there was no way I was going to give up two extra dollars when I figured that Forestry Service owed me a new Mp3 player anyhow!
Unfortunately, people just wouldn’t see it that way and if I said anything they’d probably have ticketed me for “littering” or something like that. I did, however, take quite a bit of pleasure in paying for my “visit” in small change.


Oh, and by the way, I was wrong with what I’d originally said…that picture is actually worth $103.

6 comments:

Gerb said...

It's a pretty amazing picture...and story! The question is, do YOU think it was worth it?

annette said...

Ouch! Such a sad, but well written, tale. Seems to me you've dropped/lost valuable items in water before. Yes? Idea: carry those little valuables in a qt. size ziploc- cause you never know. Although, I'm imagining all your valuables floating merrily downstream in said baggie. Have you thought of a fanny pack? Sounds like a beautiful outing otherwise. (me being jealous here)BTW, did you win the lemonade contest?

Yancy said...

bummer.
nice pic though.

Miya said...

That pretty much sucks. If I had written that, it would have been littered with profanity.

Teachinfourth said...

Gerb,

Well, only if I can sell prints of that photo...you interested?

Annette,

Yeah, I should have done that but listening to an Mp3 player in a baggie is like walking around with a sippy cup...then again, I could still have music in my life.

Yancy,

Yeah, the photo turned out well. It was really pretty up there that day.

Miya,

I guess this just gives me an excuse to buy another one, right?

LauraB said...

Though it would be impossible to pick A favorite, this is one of my favorite postings. At least of those I've read so far.
Your grand claims as a spinner of tales do not fall short. I may as well have been on that bridge. Thanks for the roller coaster ride:)

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