I learned just the other day that Len Schulman, whom I met that day we were delayed in Christchurch, and who Jens and I were working with to dig out all of the IceTop tanks, had a heart attack just after I left the Pole! He was airlifted into Christchurch—I could have visited him while I was there, had I known. I was very shocked by this news. Len is not very old, and seemed in tip-top shape, but I guess the altitude and the hard work can cause some serious problems. Fortunately he’s okay, although this coming year will be the first that he will not be on the ice in 20 years. (He’s fine to go the next year, though.) I was really bothered that I didn’t hear about it until now. It is distressing to me that I can become so quickly disconnected from someone that I worked so closely with. At times I feel the invention of the internet made the world too small, but other times I am surprised to find that it’s not as small as it seems. Here is a photo of me and Len in the hot tub at New Year's (he had the coolest waterproof camera so he could actually take photos that 'night')
The funny story is about my knife! I lost it, remember, after having placed it on top of a DOM on a sled, which was shortly thereafter moved into the tent, knife not in tow. Well, I happened to tell Jon Dumm about this before I left, saying I was sure it would never be found, but if by some miracle it appeared he should know that it was mine. Well, one day he was out at the OML and one of the GA’s (general assistants) came in with a knife and asked if it was his. He figured he’d dropped his, so he thanked the guy, put the knife in his pocket, and went on with his business. Until he boarded the flight to Christchurch. On this flight (where you have to wear all your gear, remember) they remind everyone to put everything sharp in their checked bags. So he went through his pockets and was surprised to find this knife. He remembered where it came from, but he also remembered carefully packing away his knife in his checked bags. So he realized that it must be mine! Well, he didn’t know what to do with the knife now, so he stuffed it in his carry on bag (they don’t x-ray on Antarctica) and forgot about it again. Until he was boarding the plane to the US and they found the knife in his carryon bag and took it away. Shoot! So I lost my knife, by some miracle it was found, returned, and lost again. Sad!