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An albatross for merchants

By Debra Dobbins

 Some stores in downtown Grand Junction were flooded early Saturday. The story ran with the headline “Water, water everywhere.”

The “hed” alludes to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Published in 1798, this narrative poem tells the story of a sea captain who is hit with bad luck during a long sea voyage.

When the mariner kills an albatross, the members of his crew come close to mutiny, because they feel the albatross brought them better fortune.

From this poem, we have the expression “an albatross around your neck,” which means a heavy burden.

The ship eventually becomes becalmed (motionless):

“Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”

The mariner survives to tell his hardships to a stranger he meets upon his return home.

Some of our downtown merchants also have distressing tales now as they figure out the cost of water damage to their establishments. Let’s hope that the flood damage will soon be an albatross lifted off the neck of every merchant affected.


 

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