Monday, June 4, 2007

Too Much Rope?

The connotation of "too much rope" is probably viewed as a negative one by most people. To me though, you can never really have too much rope. If you employ it unwisely, then having less probably wouldn't have allowed you to save yourself anyway.

The Good: I've often joked, in the context of backpacking in remote locations, that you can never have too much rope. Indeed, having plenty of rope has helped me out in the woods as well as in the desert. On one occasion, a friend and I had haphazardly followed a slot canyon in Big Bend National Park, not paying close enough attention to the "what if we have to turn around scenario". Focusing on the beauty of the canyon, we temporarily and unwittingly suspended good judgment and scrambled down some slickrock that was fairly easy to descend, but as we'd later learn, nearly impossible to get back up. When we later hit the point where we absolutely had to turn around and re-trace our steps back out of the canyon, the rope I had in my pack was the only reason we're not still there.

The Bad: Of course, on Roger Waters' 1992 "Amused to Death", Roger believes, in his ever-so-optimistic manner, that we humans have been given too much rope and have ultimately leveraged it toward our own self-destruction. While I don't necessarily agree with Roger, I love the album (although I admit it's probably only for the most die-hard of old-school Pink Floyd fans).

The Bizarre: The first time I ever heard a quote about anyone having "too much rope" was in an obscure early eighties family flick that for some strange reason, I still remember despite not having seen it since I was a kid over 20 years ago. In "Kid Colter", a city kid finds himself on the run from thugs alone in the remote wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. In one scene, the kid is helped out by a crazy old deep-woods hermit who drinks skunk-berry tea and gives our Kid Colter a bunch of rope, and some friendly advice about not ever having too much. The rope is, of course, fundamental in Kid Colter's escape. While IMDB might not have much about the flick, YouTube and blogging deliver with this strange Kid Colter tribute.