Tuesday, March 10, 1998

The Anniston Museum of Natural History

I’m writing to you from the lovely LaQunita Inn in Birmingham, Alabama, only a couple of miles down the road from the ExecuTrain of Birmingham office. I had a lovely drive here, averaging about thirty miles per hour due to my tendency to stop frequently at anything the catches my interest. (I should tell you that my actual average travelling speed was probably about 80, lest you think I’m a spineless, slow-driving wimp.)

I took a detour at the Anniston Museum of Natural History in (guess where?) Anniston, Alabama. It was very interesting, and well worth the $3.50 admission charge. I must admit that at first I was a little disappointed; I'd gotten the impression from the photograph on the front of the brochure I picked up at the Alabama welcome center that the museum had actual, live dinosaurs, but it turns out that they are merely dinosaur statues rather than the real thing. (Imagine my disappointment!) Once I adjusted my expectations I enjoyed the museum and learned a lot of interesting facts -- for example, floods are deadly not only because people drown in them, but because the flood waters drive rats from their natural homes, allowing them to spread diseases more rapidly and widely than they otherwise would. I also learned that at any given time, there are an average of 1,800 thunderstorms going on somewhere on our planet, and lightning strikes the Earth about 100 times every second!

I also learned that among the group of sixth graders who were alternately behind me, with me, and ahead of me, depending on how motivated I was to avoid them, was a young man who would, given the opportunity, "shoot everything in here" -- everything consisting of stuffed elephants, buffaloes, zebras, baboons, gazelles, skunks, tortoises, timber wolves, and, I assume, me, his classmates, and his teacher. "But they're already dead," his teacher pointed out, overlooking the obvious fact that she would be included in the ‘everything’ he would shoot. "Well, if they wasn't, you better believe it, buddy, I'd blow them away."

I then learned that his teacher is not very amused when her students call her 'buddy.'

It’s 4:17 Alabama time, but 5:17 Georgia time, which lends credence to my general feeling that things in Alabama are just a little behind things in Georgia.

Have a good day, everyone, and I will see (some of) you Thursday.

Christopher Brian Burdett

(This message was sent as an e-mail message to many of my friends at ExecuTrain, where I worked back then. I added it to the blog on October 10, 2017--almost twenty years later.)