Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Hey, What's That Up Ahead?"

When Scott's mom and stepdad were here visiting in April, we went to the Arizona Science Center to see the Titanic exhibit. Included in the exhibit were about 150 items that had been rescued from the wreckage. Talk about creepy.

First, we were treated to an IMAX movie, showing how the guys on the "Let's Go Get Some Shit From the Titanic" team got into their tiny little deep sea pod and descended. Deep, deep into the ocean they went. For two hours straight they descended. There were three men inside, one of them quite hefty. A scary, claustrophobic version of "Three Men in a Tub." As one of my old college friends would say when he crowded with 5 others into an Opel Cadet: "Not enough room to scratch your nuts." While watching the coverage of their downward trip, I felt my breaths getting panicky, and had to look away from the screen and squeeze my water bottle for a snap back to reality. At least I think it was my water bottle. Heh, that was for you, Scott.

On the ocean floor they did their thing, taking photos and scraping up stuff and landing right on the deck of the ship. The narrator (Leonard Nimoy) pointed out that even if there was the tiniest puncture in the sea pod, the water would shoot through like a javelin, and it'd be instant cousteau-in-a-blender. Or something like that. Oh, and if they lost power? They'd just have to sit there and die. Because it's not like they could call a tow truck.

I have always been morbidly interested in the Titanic story. Not the one with Leo Di Saprio and the strains of emaciated Celine's annoying pipes in the background. The real one. So I was anxious to see the stuff in the exhibit.

And stuff they had. Dinner plates with the White Star Line (the Titanic's company) red logo on them, jewelry, children's toys, nearly disintegrated telegrams, pieces of rusty pipes, faded passports, a pair of worn leather shoes.

Imagine. Packing your shoes into your suitcase only to have them end up on the bottom of the ocean. Oh, and so do you.

Perhaps the creepiest thing: A wall of ice you were encouraged to lay your hands on, in order to feel exactly how cold the saltwater was that night. Though you could only keep your palm on it for 10 or 15 seconds before it started to burn, there were a couple of deep hand prints, courtesy of some dedicated pre-teens, who took turns on the same spot.

Just as the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. does, this exhibit provided you with a card before you entered, attaching to you the identity of one of those involved. This added the suspense of whether or not you survived the sinking. Scott accidentally got the I.D. card of a female passenger, but quickly regained his dignity when he pointed out to me that he had been assigned the role of a Countess. So there. When we got to the end of the line, we sat down on benches to look for our names on the gigantic lists of the survivors and the not-so-luckys. We had both lived.

That evening, Scott looked into a book on the Titanic and found out that not only was his person a Countess, but she had actually manned the till on one of the lifeboats. Which means she steered it. He was very proud of this tidbit of history. Though he was not amused when I addressed him many times as "Countess." I still do, occasionally.

There were four things about the day that were my favorites.

1. I could not bring myself to buy a souvenir. This never happens to me. I always get a souvenir. There were replica plates, T-shirts, shot glasses, and tiny pewter Titanics the size of cigarettes. I almost bought one of those, but at the last minute the idea of having a happy little memento of the biggest deathtrap in history kind of soured.

2. There was a poster in the exhibit quoting a guy who was pissed off because he had to take the Titanic instead of his original ship, the Oceanic. (Anybody watch "Lost?") This had caused him to miss getting together with a friend of his. He wrote the friend just before his departure, saying "As far as I'm concerned, I wish the Titanic was at the bottom of the ocean."


3. Equal in dumbass stature were the people who, partying like it was 1899 on the deck, thought the iceberg was funny. They could reach out and touch it, and some of them even put little chunks of it in their drinks. Oh ha ha! Look at the silly iceberg! Look, Margaret! Hand me my monocle.

4. And my very favorite. The guest book on the way out where you are invited to record your comments about the exhibit. Here are the ones I wrote down in my checkbook while standing there:

"I died again."

"It was amazing but I died oh well."

"Brittany ate mint jelly and lamb just like those people on the Titanic."

"Duh. Raise up the WHOLE ship."

"I like chicken."

"I lived because I am awesome!"


  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger JBelle said…

    Yeah, I'm awesome, too. And probably would be too scared to sit through any of it, let alone buy a shot glass. (shiver) Watery death. (shiver again)

  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jbelle, it made me shiver, too. I definitely didn't come away from that with the same feeling I had after the Rembrandt collection a few months earlier.
    This was like one loooooong telling of the worst, scariest campfire story ever.

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Lisa Dunick said…

    sounds like such a cool exhibit-- but I totally agree with the souvenir thing- creepy.

  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger Jerry said…

    I'd like a Marlboro and a beer; does that make me insufferable?

  • At 5:18 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    No, Jerry. It makes you a Hoosier. Welcome to the family!

  • At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey- I wanna be a Hoosier, too!

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dude, you married one. That makes you one automatically. It has to do with, well, bad luck.

  • At 8:30 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    "Let's Go Get Some Shit From the Titanic" team..."

    Cool...very cool.

  • At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A plane leaves Los Angeles airport under the control of a Jewish captain. His new copilot is Chinese, and an awkward silence between the two seems to indicate a mutual dislike.
    Once they reach cruising altitude, the Jewish captain activates the auto pilot, leans back in his seat, and mutters, "I don't like Chinese."

    "No rike Chinese?" asks the copilot, "why not?"

    "You people bombed Pearl Harbor, that's why!"

    "No, no," the copilot protests, "Chinese not bomb Peahl Hahbah! That Japanese, not Chinese."

    "Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese... doesn't matter, you're all alike!"

    There are a few minutes of silence. "No rike Jews!" the copilot suddenly announces.

    "Why not?" asks the captain.

    "Jews sink Titanic."

    "Jews didn't sink the Titanic!" exclaims the captain; "It was an iceberg!"

    "Iceberg, Goldberg, Greenberg, Rosenberg, no mattah... all same."

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, dude, that was the official name.
    I think.

  • At 12:05 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Look, oneavid! Yer a Hoosier too!

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I think that exhibit was here in Seattle a few years back and certain relatives of mine were hot to see it BECAUSE THEY LOVED THE DAMN MOVIE SO MUCH.

    Sigh. Truth is stranger than fiction & funnier than modern dance, etc.

    I still haven't seen the movie. The exhibit sounds pretty cool, however.

  • At 7:41 PM, Blogger Tony from the Bronx said…

    Look--while you were looking through the display cases, did you happen to see a folder marked Engl.328? I'm sure I had it with me just before we started singing "Nearer My God to Thee." Thanks.


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