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Thirty Years Ago
Some people say that the only other thing a lobster fisherman does besides fish is drink. This image of the hard-drinking, hard-working, hardheaded fisherman is traditional, and it might even be true. At any rate, it’s true often enough that one has to wonder whether or not it is the fisherman who is attracted to drink, or the drunkard who is attracted to fishing.
“SWEET, WET, UGLY, AND TOUGH,” Steve Sorensen, November 29, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Jan Hunter, chief organizer of the project for the Parents and Teachers Organization, says that the idea for a blood list came about last year when a Rancho Santa Fe resident was preparing to undergo open-heart surgery. Neither his doctor nor his family wanted him to receive blood from the San Diego Blood Bank, “So last spring we made the decision to come up with a list. That family was worried about communicable diseases [specifically AIDS].”
CITY LIGHTS: “RANCHO BLOOD,” Abe Opincar, November 29, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
Dear Matthew Alice:
If you’re in a falling elevator, and just before it hits you were to jump in the air, would you be fine?
B.C., La Mesa

Fine isn’t the adjective that pops into my mind. Try fractured. Flattened. Finished. The big problem with your plummeting-elevator scenario is that you’re not some passive bystander to the proceedings. You’re falling at the same rate the box is. Assuming you’re an average human bean, you can’t possibly jump fast enough to counteract your fall rate.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, November 30, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Rusty Preisendorfer has been well-known in the surf industry for 20 years, and for the last 10 years he has been one of its dominant figures. Not because he’s such a great surfer, but because he designs and builds the wave tools that have allowed the best surfers in the world to push the sport to today’s almost absurd levels of performance.

“I always loved being in the ocean,” he says, “but at first I just bodysurfed. Then one day a copy of Surfer magazine happened to catch my eye at La Jolla Shores Market. On the cover was a beautiful picture of Dickie Moon surfing at Blacks Beach. I bought the magazine and studied that picture over and over, saying to myself, ‘I know that place! It’s just up the beach!’ I figured if I lived in a place famous enough to be on the cover of a surf magazine, I’d better learn how to surf.”
“A SHIRT FOR A SURF HERO,” Steve Sorensen, November 23, 1994

Ten Years Ago
Jennifer at San Diego Zoo’s media relations office adopted a strident tone. “Well if you can’t tell me exactly what Mr. Sedaris will be writing — I mean if you can’t give me a clear idea of exactly what he’s going to do, then I’m afraid we can’t help you.”

I’d explained to Jennifer that Mr. Sedaris, David Sedaris, was a well-known humorist, a New York Times best-selling author. I’d explained that he was coming to town to lecture at UCSD and that he wanted to interview someone at the zoo who worked with monkeys. “What exactly does he want to write about monkeys?” Jennifer was getting testy.
CITY LIGHTS: “COMEDIAN IN THE MIST,” Abe Opincar, November 24, 1999

Five Years Ago
Colombia was the world’s foremost vehicle-armoring country about ten years ago when Mexico rose to prominence in the field.

The Cano family opened this office [in Tijuana] two years ago. They marketed the idea and put together a list of customers until about five months ago, when they began armoring vehicles for wealthy tijuanenses.
CITY LIGHTS: “THEY TRIED TO CUT THE ROOF WITH AN AX,” Ernie Grimm, November 24, 2004

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