One of the pleasures of living long enough is that you get to see history repeat itself in mysterious ways.
I am sure I am not the only one appalled by the oddly primitive circus surrounding the disposition of the earthly remains of Bro One, of the Infamous Boston Bombing Brothers. The spectacle of politicians and self-appointed guardians of Boston-Strong jumping up and down with pitchforks and torches like the townsfolk in Frankenstein screaming about monsters is nauseating. Don't they know that it is not just death that makes a martyr; it takes a large dose of publicity, too.
Meanwhile the City of Boston-Strong sends four archivists to Copley Square to document and catalog all the crap, oops, sorry, tribute that is piling up at the Shrine of Strong, though at this point it probably is the Shrine of Strong Smells what with all the decaying produce and moldy teddy bears. And if you think the real Strongsters of Boston--our indomitable rats, squirrels and pigeons--haven't delivered their own tributes, you don't know city life.
I may not be able to remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but all this distressing news about garbage--where to put it, what to do with it, how to categorize it--triggered a memory, one which I was pleased to discover dated all the way back to 1987: the saga of the Mobro, perhaps the most famous garbage scow in history.
From the Archives of the New York Times, dated May 18, 1987:
After more than eight weeks of wandering in the Caribbean and up and down the East Coast in a futile search for a final resting place, Long Island's outcast garbage was anchored off Brooklyn yesterday, awaiting the outcome of another round of legal and political wrangles.
Rejected by six states and three countries, the trash and garbage -3,100 tons of baled refuse piled atop the barge Mobro and towed by the tug Break of Dawn - had an invitation to return to Islip, L.I., where its 60-day, 6,000-mile odyssey began. But the latest problem was how to get it there.
The odyssey ended in classic fashion in July when the garbage was returned to Islip, NY from whence it came, there to be incinerated.
Let's hope the drama of the Bro works out more swiftly than that of the Mobro.