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I must confess to a pang of peevishness when a few weeks ago I began reading Curtis Edwards’ article about the opening of the new Bridge to Nowhere. What tweaked my angst was his mention of the guy fishing below being a fish biologist and something to the effect that one of three people in the Methow are fish biologists.

The anxiety disappeared when it was clear he was referring to persons of piscine persuasion, and not biologists as a whole. If he is correct about one third of the population being fishy people, what comprises the other two thirds? I believe it to be “Ologists” of a different nature. After all we have wolf biologists, wolverine biologists, bird biologists (who may or may not be ornithologists), marmot biologists, deer, elk, moose and only last week a pica biologist lecturing at the Basecamp. There is a snake biologist who could be a herpotologist, much like the part-timer woman across the road who has her doctorate in that field. Of course pica man and the lady across the road are visitors and therefore not eligible to be part of the local Ologist census, but does point out that this valley does draw them, and within are even some evangelical Ologists.

When, two years back we got a beaver on a trial biological study to see how it fared in a landlocked environment, I believe there were five to seven people who arrived to launch it into our pond. Were they all Beavologists? I did not have the temerity to ask.

Of course these people inhabit places other than the Methow. In fact they are all over this country and others. They are discreet, wearing casual to utilitarian apparel, and usually have beards except for the women who wear dark colors.

On the other end of the Ologist scale are the so-called meteorologists. These are hardly discreet. They can be seen within every television news broadcast. They are always happy. They banter and laugh a lot. But how many are actual meteorologists? People who used to be the local weather man suddenly became meteorologists. As technology advanced in concert with female equality, weathermen became Weather Persons. This was a cumbersome lip-twister, so anyone with a degree in Doppler became a meteorologist.

I know of what I speak. My roommate at Montana Sate University was a real graduate meteorology major back in the 50’s. I lost track of him when he graduated and I was asked not to return. Four years in the Air Force during Korea and three years of college later we moved to Washington. Turning on the news from Seattle on the ABC affiliate, by golly there was Howard doing the TV weather. I knew he was a bona-fide meteorologist. But he was not jolly, did not draw cartoons, and probably did not sponsor fund-raisers. He left shortly after.

The weather on television these days seems to be half and half men and women. Armed with computers that analyze the weather weeks in advance, and cameras that tell them what is happening outside the studio, their toothy smiles and obligatory laughter bring to mind a shiny white refrigerator. Can they all be possessed of at least a Masters degree in their proclaimed Ology? I have my doubts. Are all of our local animalologists graduate-degreed?

I will probably get the answer some night when, tucking in the covers, I find a very large fish head sharing my bed.

“It’s just business.”


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