• author
    • Donald Sanders

      Columnist
    • July 2, 2018 in Columnists

    Diogenes, the Streamkeeper and the cure for despair

    Back in the old days, a guy named Diogenes spent all his time looking for an honest man, an admirable man. I don’t know if he ever found one or not, but I think I can tell you why he had so much trouble. He was obviously looking in the wrong places. From what I hear this Diogenes guy liked the wine a little too much. Oh, and another thing. He was considered a genius because he was smarter than everybody else. You know as well as I do that all the really smart guys get taken advantage of by the dumber guys. That’s just the way it is and it has always been that way.

    In the days of the Roman Empire, there was a guy named Nero that would go out and ask all the really smart guys if they were Christians or not and they would say, “Oh yeah, I’m a Jesus guy!” Then this Nero guy would call everybody together in a stadium and feed them to a lion.

    When I was in high school, I was really good at taking advantage of the smarter guys. Those smart guys always did their homework and they always had pocket liners with a bunch of pens sticking out so I would run past really quick and grab them. I did this for a long time until they started peeing in my locker.

    The smart guys came and went because they graduated early, got drafted, and went to Vietnam. On the other hand, I was in high school so long because I didn’t do anything. I thought I was going to miss the war entirely until the dean told me they had to graduate me because they couldn’t have a 21-year-old senior dating a 15-year-old freshman girl.

    So, in the end, I had to go to the war anyway, but I didn’t do anything there, either. When I got home, I went into a grocery store and ran into an old friend from high school who had just gotten home from the war like I did. In high school, this guy was so good looking that the girls would swoon every time they saw him.

    Anyway, back to the grocery store part of this story. His name was Dean and I ran into him near the milk spot where they stack all the milk. I looked at him and he had a flat nose with big black hairs sticking out of it like it needed a haircut. I asked, “Hey Dean what happened to your nose?” He snickered and said that a VC had shot it off and the doctors took some skin off his butt and put it on his nose hole.

    He asked if I’d come over to his house and party some time so I said, “Sure.” I never went over to his house and about a year later he killed himself. I think it may have been because I never went over to party with him. I never went into that store again, either. The last thing he said to me was that the girls didn’t like his hairy nose. I almost said, “Yeah I can see why,” but I decided against it.

    I never went to party with Dean but I did party and before I knew it 30 years had passed. I met and married a wonderful girl named Therese and she took me to the Veteran’s hospital because I had been crying a lot and cutting myself. They put me in the suicide ward at David Grant Hospital on Travis Air Force Base and believe it or not that’s where all the smart guys are. The military had toughened them up so I didn’t feel right about taking advantage of them anymore.

    So now you are asking what all this has to do with Diogenes? Now pay attention, because this is what happened. In the suicide ward, the psychiatrist told me to find some volunteer work to keep me out of all this mental trouble I was finding myself in. That’s when I found the Putah Creek Council and they let me help out at the creek because they didn’t have to pay me.

    So now, like a miracle, I found the guy that Diogenes was looking for. His name is Rich Marovich. He is the Streamkeeper of Putah Creek. I believe this guy is as close to a saint as anyone I’ve ever met. Not only is he honest and admirable, he is really smart. In a very short period of time, he turned me into a tree hugger with a yearning to start taking care of the environment around me.

    College kids flock to him like he was passing out happiness popsicles. They want to learn everything he knows because they know that when it comes to creek restoration, he is the go-to guy. His work will be studied and his techniques will be taught around the globe because he knows what to do when it comes to cleaning up and repairing nature that man has spent years and years destroying.

    If I was Diogenes, and I think I’m pretty close, I’d tell you all to look up the Putah Creek Council. If, like me, you are tired of so much darkness in your life, try doing some volunteer work down at Putah Creek. If you are lucky, you will meet The Streamkeeper and he will show you the way. Try it and judge for yourself. Rich Marovich is everything Diogenes was looking for.



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