This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 3rd March 2015.
I spent this past weekend on a boys’ weekend away up the coast. Of course, we all awoke on Saturday to the sad news of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. He made an indelible impact on all of lives, not just in Star Trek, but as the host of the American psuedo science program In Search Of, which was produced between 1977 – 82 but perpetually broadcast throughout the eighties on early Saturday evening Aussie TV repackaged as Great Mysteries of the World.
Throughout the weekend, many unsolved mysteries of our own emerged between beers, golf and the beach.
Mystery 1: One of my mates, to avoid embarrassment let’s just call him James, made the claim that he had “lived” in San Antonio, Texas. It later emerged that he had been dispatched there by his employer for just two months, leading to a major debate on what exactly was required to claim that you had “lived” in a particular location. According to James’ argument, I could claim that I had lived in Maine (10 weeks teaching at a US summer camp), or taken to the extreme, Disneyland, Paris, Cairo, Istanbul, Fairstar the Funship or even onboard a 747. These claims would obviously be ludicrous (unless I was trying to impress my mates), so what would the rules be?
The debate went back and forth over the weekend. Did you have to receive a utility bill in your name at the new address? Or perhaps get a new driver’s licence for that location? Was it just about having to buy groceries, cook and perform domestic tasks there? Is it purely time based, but in that case, are we talking about six months, four seasons or a year? Where was Mr Spock when we needed him?
Mystery 2: With the majority of us ex-theme park employees, discussion turned to the brightly coloured two seater “aqua bikes” with the large paddle steamer type back wheels that were a common attraction at the mediocre theme parks of Sydney during the seventies and eighties. Are they still being manufactured and where can we buy one? An internet and online auction site search proved fruitless. Surely these bastions of aquatic family fun and recreation from the past were not extinct? A great mystery indeed?
Mystery 3: On the topic of extinction, I recalled from the deepest depths of my memory the existence of tourist mushrooms that could be found in towns all over New South Wales. These steel mushrooms stood about two metres tall and for a 20 cent coin, would play a recording with tourist information about the history of that location.
No one had any strong memories about these objects but I am certain these were a common feature outside tourist information centres and attractions. The internet also appears to have erased the existence of the mushrooms. Have timecops from the future been dispatched back in time to erase all proof, Looper style?
If you or someone you know have any information about these (not so) great mysteries of the world, please contact Leonard Nimoy or the Loch Ness Monster, care of the CWD
Live long and prosper, Leonard Nimoy.