Everywhere you look today, there’s something with an “i” attached to its name or label. We have iPhones, iPods, iTunes, iBooks, and God only knows what else. In order to prove they’re “cool,” television stations include the “i” in their logos and email addresses. Californians are probably beginning to name their children “i.”
Have you ever wondered what in the world this obsession with the lower case letter “i” stands for or represents. I have. So in order to find out, I went to the ultimate source of all knowledge — Google. As it turns out, no one knows. Google even went so far as to conduct a consensus poll of users. About a third thought it stood for Internet. Another third thought it stood for intelligent. I guess Steve Jobs took the secret of his little marketing gimmick to the grave with him. I would assume from all I’ve seen that he was quite a brilliant computer wizard, but as an entrepreneur and promoter, he would have made P. T. Barnum green with envy.
I suppose it may just be a part of the “i” craze, but in recent years my wife Helen and I have been especially affected by that letter of the alphabet. Four years ago we decided to take a short vacation to the coast in our travel trailer. We stopped a couple of times enroute to visit friends, then we set up camp in the RV park at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. It was a lovely spot right on the beachfront. The second day we began to hear the weather folks talk about Hurricane Ike. By the next day, it had Corpus Christi directly in the crosshairs. We were given notice to evacuate the campground, terminating our vacation rather abruptly. Despite changing course and making landfall in Galveston, it certainly rained on our parade.
Last month we again decided to head to the beach for a restful vacation. This time we were fortunate to have been given complimentary accommodations at a luxury resort condominium in Destin, Fla. We planned to visit friends in the area, tour the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, eat some great seafood, and do a “whole lot of nothing.” The day after we checked in, the weather wizards began talking about Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac churning up the surf near Puerto Rico and heading our direction. That same day as we were in search of a wonderful seafood restaurant I had visited years earlier, we learned that it had been destroyed in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan. As Isaac headed up the coast, evacuation of our condo was imminent, so we packed our “stuff” and headed back to Texas.
Naturally I had been quick to blame Helen for all our problems with hurricanes, but it suddenly dawned on me that “I” might be the one with the curse. Years earlier in 1969 I was part of a test program to select a replacement aircraft for the Navy hurricane hunter squadrons. We evaluated the airworthiness of the C-130 and the P-3 aircraft by flying them through an actual storm. We made about 35 or 40 penetrations into the eye of the storm at very low level. And, would you believe the name of the storm? Hurricane Inga. Yes, the “i’s” have it.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.