Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vanishing Point

He was so depressed, he tried to commit suicide by inhaling next to an Armenian.
Woody Allen

Times are tough, and many people have been cashing in their chips. I was talking to my friend Vern who lives in the Grand Canyon about the Romanian guy who drove his car into the great divide last week. He said that most people only get 30 to 50 feet down the side but this guy went about 600'! The decedent had to really scout out the flight plan, going behind the El Tovar Hotel, driving on the grass for a spell, finding a little used path, and throttling down for maximum acceleration to one of the few areas without a guard rail. But a high visibility spot so you could still give the people a little show.

Vern has lived in the canyon a long time and says the real waste are the people who come to the canyon and merely shoot themselves, when they could be working on their flying skills. It's a bit counterintuitive, couldn't you save on gas and do it at home?

Why are people such, pardon the pun, lemmings? Why the Golden Gate or the Coronado Bridge all the time. Why the Canyon? Is it their poetic nature? Are we just copycats without an original thought, even in death?

Then again I had a frenchman across the street do himself in in his garage when I lived in Rainbow years ago. The sheriff's deputy, who knew the fellow, was really pissed that the guy couldn't have taken it outside, since it caused quite a mess.

Of course writers and dentists are the people most known for this sort of thing - the Sylvia Plath tradition - don't quite get it. If I have to drill one more stinky molar, well that's it.

Maybe it's man's innate and primordial urge to fly that causes us to seek great heights for our grand finale. Finish the whole think off with a two and a half gainer in pike position. Style points. And no one has to clean up the bathtub.

Grand Canyon News Release
Release date: Immediate

Contact(s): Shannan Marcak
Phone number: 928-638-7958
Date: July 17, 2009

Man Who Drove Car Over Edge at Grand Canyon Identified

Grand Canyon, Ariz. - The body of a man who drove his car over the edge
the Grand Canyon earlier this week has been identified as that of
Chiriac of Apple Valley, California.

On Monday, July 13 at approximately 6:00 a.m., the Grand Canyon Regional
Communications Center received multiple reports that a car had been
over the edge near the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim of Grand Canyon
National Park.

Upon arriving at the scene, park rangers found tire tracks indicating
a car had been driven up onto the curb of the loading area between the
Tovar Hotel and the Kachina Lodge. The tracks indicated that the car
veered left, traveling through the grass behind Kachina Lodge until it
reached the Thunderbird Lodge where it veered right and into the canyon.
As the car had traveled a significant distance from the regular roadway,
there was no wall or barrier where it went over the edge

Rescue personnel descended on ropes and located the vehicle
600 feet below the rim. The body of a lone male was located shortly
thereafter. After the scene was documented, the body was transported to
the rim by helicopter via long-line operation and then picked up by the
Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The body has now been identified as that of 57 year old Gheorghe Chiriac
who emigrated from Romania approximately 30 years ago. His death has
ruled a suicide.

The investigation into this incident was conducted by the National Park


Public Affairs Specialist
Grand Canyon National Park

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