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April 01, 2004

Wet outside

It's been raining here for two days. It's rained pretty hard today and the weather service has issued flash-flood warnings for the eastern part of New England. It's supposed to keep raining for 4 or 5 more days.

I should have built a boat.

One of the most common legends from cultures all over the world is the story of a great flood.

It's interesting, flood legends from all over the world are so similar that anthropologists believe it's likely that they all based on a single story.

Most of the stories involve someone being told to build a boat, and to gather his family and some animals. The flood happens. After some time passes he sends out a bird, usually a dove, to look for signs that the flood is ending.

Of course, the most well known story, to American and European cultures, is the story of Noah and the Ark. Two by two, Noah gathered a male and female of every animal species to be saved from the deluge.

One of the oldest flood stories is the Epic of Gilgamesh from like 2000 BC. In this story, the god "Eu" tells Utnapishtim to build a boat and preserve his family, servants, and animals. Unlike Noah's 40 day flood, Utnapishtim's only lasted 7 days. After the flood, god's wrath has been appeased and, as if being saved from the flood wasn't enough, Utnapishtim and his wife were granted immortality. Which means they're still around somewhere, and could set us straight on this whole thing, but I'm guessing are reluctant to be part of the resulting media frenzy.

China's flood myth is different. Their cataclysmic floods were something that happened all the time, and savior-hero Yu the Great, dredged some sort of super canal to redirect the water and save the world.

My favorite is the Indian story where "Manu" is warned by a talking fish of the coming flood. Didn't they make that into a Don Knots movie?

I don't know if any of these stories are real, but apparently there really was a cataclysmic flood.

Archeologists have found evidence that somewhere around 1,000 years BC there was a massive flood in an area of Mespotamia. It was big enough, and lasted long enough, that it's really likely that the horro-story of its effects could have been passed down from generation to generation.

So anyway, it's been raining all day. The back yard is all underwater. No talking fish yet, but I think it's time to start working on the boat.


Here are a couple of websites with a lot of info about flood myths:

Posted by jghiii at April 1, 2004 06:33 PM
Posted by: sherman on April 1, 2004 07:46 PM

Speaking of floods and rinsing away the evil of the world, I've been sick for the last month and the doc currently suspects I've developed asthma combined with a really bad allergy season. It's been going on for four weeks, and the wheezing continues in my chest and the asthma inhaler they put me on doesn't seem to be making it any better, so the doc put me on a second and more powerful inhaler. When I picked it up from Walgreen's, the pharmacist showed me how to suck in the powder dose from the inhaler, and then she warned me that I have to rinse my mouth out immediately afterwards. "Huh?" "It's very important that you rinse your mouth out thoroughly after inhaling the dose." "Why? What could happen if I don't?" "Well, you'll notice a discoloration on your tongue and you'll develop a fungal infection there." "HUH!? This stuff will give me a fungal infection!?!" "Not if you rinse thoroughly, so that's why you have to...." "Wait. This medicine will give me a fungus if it stays in my mouth, but you want me sucking this stuff into my lungs?" "Yes."

I just don't understand medicine.

(And as Jack will soon point out, an earlier version of this story has been previously published in an obscure newsletter. But Jack's blog gets the all new and improved version.)

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