[i took over sending my and my friends' virtual-relay-race newsletter for the week (we're about a dozen pals pooling our miles to "run" from brooklyn to berkeley to raise money for feeding america).]
Hello from Manhattan, everyone! Lauren here, chiming in on the Lower East Side to report that the 194 miles we logged as a team this week have moved us westward to within 421 miles of our goal; with a bit of athletic tape, self-talk, and gumption, we could be in Berkeley in two weeks! With 86% of the journey behind us, we’re up to $3,483.15 in pledges raised, and I have personally performed (symbolic) Viking funerals for three pairs of no-show socks on the East River. I recently disappeared into an Internet-research vortex of what a Sock Afterlife might entail and, at least according to some theories of puppets and reincarnation posted on an Arabic Facebook page, it’s pretty complicated. My actual socks reached some sort of secret terminus on the wheel of time because upcycling them would have been biological warfare.

Our team cartographer reports that Google Maps has taken us off-road for the week, and that we’re camped out parallel to the 305 between Mt. Tobin and Mt. Moses, just past Battle Mountain, NV.

I have a soft spot — a lymph node, if you will — for Battle Mountain, which the Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten named the Armpit of America back in 2001. A year later, the people of Battle Mountain banded together

…to stage the inaugural Festival in the Pit, celebrating with the slogan "Only Inches From Your Heart." Word of the event spread around the country, eventually reaching the marketing department of Procter & Gamble Co.'s Old Spice deodorant brand.

Old Spice, not one to miss a golden opportunity themselves, approached Battle Mountain community leaders early this year about the brand becoming the corporate sponsor for this year's festival, held this past weekend.

Thus were born such unique events as a "deodorant toss," where contestants attempted to heave Old Spice deodorant through a target. Then, there was the "Sweat T-shirt Contest," taking a page out of MTV's spring break wet T-shirt contests except there were no bikini-clad young women, just men and children willing to be drenched with a water hose and to show off their "pits."


We’ve pulled up our socks and gathered for a drink at the Owl Club Casino & Restaurant, a foodless bar and hotel when Weingarten visited in 2001 and a place that “would do well even in a big city” per Yelpers now. (“Cold eggs were delivered to everyone who ordered them.” “Clean strange bathrooms in the casino.”) I like the cut of the Owl Club’s jib; some sources say that it has been in operation for a century, while others claim it closed in 1999. Per Special Agent Dale Cooper: Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen.

Thank you for following along! Stay well, and every day, once a day, give yourself a present.



uncle paul said...

Hope your passage through Battle Mountain goes smoother than mine did (http://atem.metameat.net/2002/05/31/0500) - at the time I tried to joke about the armpit gambit with the highway patrolman, but he wasn’t receptive.

I’ll buy you all a pint when you arrive out here.

lauren said...

oh jesus, i hadn't realized that was where you were when you crashed! i would like to have something intelligent to say about the coincidence, but i just remain grateful that you made it out.

i haven't done much in the way of virtual pints (other than the occasional drink on my weekly call with old friends from the city), but i think maybe it would be wonderful to have a pint with you when we get to berkeley. i miss you like hell.

Hannah Mae said...

Battle Mountain! I once attempted to drive through there with a lover on a road trip/last-ditch attempt to save our relationship. It proved a last ditch indeed- I presided over the destruction of his car, we slept in a public bathroom, AAA's "trip completion" policy is miraculous and means they won't break even on me for another 25 years of membership. The relationship sputtered all the way to Michigan before an unpoetic end back in California; the car rests in glory in a junkyard in Battle Mountain.

lauren said...

i...might have to go to battle mountain?