Friday, June 6, 2014

River of Death

Someday when chips are implanted in all of our heads, officials will be able to keep folks from playing and swimming in said River of Death, the Meramec River, subject of this vivid new warning sign at Castlewood State Park, formerly a summer resort for the wealthy of St. Louis. Each year a family or a troop of kids comes to a Meramec River beach or bluffs, often at Castlewood, and tries swimming across, or swings over the water on a rope, having no idea that the Meramec (called by the Indians "river of ugly fish") runs more fiercely and deeply than its appearance would betray, and has powerful and temperamental currents. Somebody, usually a child, struggles horribly and drowns. A Fox-News-televised search (with weeping parents among their beer cans) commences, with the body being discovered downstream in a day or two. Common sense being scarcer now, and because people are no longer trained to read rivers, signs such as this must be erected. "Rio Mortal," people. The river is so lovely and summer so hot, but please, take the young ones to splash in a stream. The Meramec River, while ideal for canoeing and tubing many miles farther upstream, is not a swimming hole. If it will help deter anyone, the Meramec is home to eels--big ones-- and in addition to drowning the unfortunate person pictured will probably become eel food.

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