DAILY BRIEFINGHave You Driven a Fjord Lately?
Jul. 9 - The DMB and I took a day trip to northwest Zealand on Sunday. To get there we rode our bikes to the Vesterport train station in Copenhagen, took the S-Train up to Hillerød, switched to a connecting line that took us to Hundested, boarded a ferry that took us across the fjord to Rørvig, then rented bikes and rode to the sommerhus at which the DMB's mom and her boyfriend were staying. The whole trip took about two-and-a-half hours, and we'd have to repeat the trip in reverse at the end of the day, so our time was limited.
The day came and went. It was a pleasant afternoon and we enjoyed ourselves in ways much too dull to warrant description. Then I stole a boat.
Here's how it happened.
We'd been nosing around a complex of buildings, piers, and boats in drydock around the Rørvig marina, looking to see whether we might rent a sailboat on our next visit to the area. A guy at one marina shop suggested I join the Rørvig yacht club, which had annual dues but would give me free access to little sailboats all summer. As we were speaking, a Laser sailed up to a ramp about fifty yards from us.
The marina guy said he knew the guy who'd just sailed up on the Laser, and said he might be willing to let us use it.
Long story short, we asked, and the guy not only offered to make it available to us on our next visit—he offered to let me take it out for a spin right then and there.
I leaped at the opportunity, and a few minutes later I was sailing out of the marina into the Isefjord.
That's when I stole the boat. Stealing it was easy. "This boat is mine," I decided, and it was. There was, after all, no one to argue otherwise. It was much more exciting to sail on stolen property.
Twenty minutes later I decided not to have stolen it after all. I tacked into shore and returned it, thanking the owner gratefully.
So much for my life in crime.
* * *
The whole time I was sailing out on the fjord, I was fixated on a single thought: what the hell is a fjord?
Webster's New Collegiate says it's "a sea inlet between cliffs or steep slopes." I didn't see any cliffs or steep slopes on Sunday, and I already know that the highest point in Denmark has an elevation of about eighty feet above sea level.
I would have called the Isefjord a bay, which is "an inlet of the sea or other body of water usually smaller than a gulf," or "a small body of water set off from the main body."
(A gulf, for what it's worth, is "a part of an ocean or sea extending into the land." This is one of the worst definitions I've ever seen—after all, the minute you extend an ocean or sea "into the land," the land is no longer land. It's part of the sea. You wouldn't say your fingers were "the parts of your arms that separate into digits." They're not part of your arms—they're fingers.)
The real problem seems to be that fjord itself is just the Danish word for "inlet." For some reason we've borrowed this word from one of the flattest nations on earth and given it something to do with cliffs.
I just thought that was interesting.
Sick on the Fourth of July
On the Fourth of July in 1850, President Zachary Taylor snacked on cherries and milk while attending a ceremony at the Washington Monument. It was a hot day, and the heat made him sick.
He got sicker and sicker and died on July 9.
He remains the only U.S. president to have died from indigestion.
His last words were, "I regret nothing, but I am sorry to leave my friends."
I find it hard to believe he didn't regret eating the cherries-and-milk that caused his fatal indigestion, but I'm not going to quibble with a man's dying words.
Birthdays and Holidays
July 9 is the birthday of Fred Savage (1976), Courtney Love (1964), Jimmy Smits (1958), Kelly McGillis (1957), Tom Hanks (1956), John Tesh (1952), O.J. Simpson (1947), and Nicola Tesla (1856).
It's Independence Day in Argentina and Constitution Day in Palau.
© 2003, The Moron's Almanac