June 2012

Early deadlines are frustrating. Right after I wrote my column for last month’s Superintendent’s Profile — the one about early spring and the early onset of insidious allergies — it snows in Upstate New York. Maybe I should keep a Farmer’s Almanac by my side when I write these things.

Changing subjects, this month’s Profile is about Bob Herman and the town of Niagara. I was fortunate enough to visit Niagara Falls for the first time several years ago and was awestruck by the sheer magnitude of them. Photos really don’t do the Falls justice. The awesome power of the water is literally breathtaking. Making the Falls even more intimidating is the vision of people going over them in a barrel. I’m just not that kind of guy who likes to tempt nature to that extent. The daredeviling continues to this day.

On June 15, Nik Wallenda (of the Wallenda family daredevil fame) intends to tightrope walk across the Falls on a two-inch diameter cable. It was reported by local news outlets that Canadian officials first balked at Mr. Wallenda’s request to perform the stunt; they’ve since relented (probably because the attention this stunt will attract, in addition to a prime time television audience, means a quick influx of tourism and commercial dollars.) Reports also state Mr. Wallenda has been practicing. I’d hope so, but I’m not sure how you practice this sort of thing. I mean, you don’t practice Russian Roulette.

I’m also not certain if this is the kind of thing I’ll be watching on TV — certainly I’ll pass on allowing my children to tune in. Regardless, hopefully he’s successful, not only for himself, of course, but also because it may render future attempts at this sort of stuff at the Falls pointless, since it had been done successfully. That way, folks could respect the Falls’ power from a safe distance, rather than feeling the need to prove it.

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