The Hoosierist: Going Overboard

Illustration by Nate Kitch

Q: Are there any rules on Geist Reservoir about how big your boat can be? A: According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, there are no restrictions—for size or engine horsepower—on what can be floated on Geist. So technically, it could host a battleship if you found a ramp big enough to launch it. But while the law allows pretty much anything on the lake, nature doesn’t. The average depth is just 10 feet. And navigation can be tricky, even for small vessels. An invasive plant called Eurasian watermilfoil has overrun Geist, and its long tendrils foul the centerboards of sailboats. It slows them down and, sometimes, prevents them from leaving shore under wind power. Can’t get your sailboat to move without the auxiliary engine? File that under “champagne problems.”

Q: Is it true that the inventor of “fart spray” lives in Carmel? A: It is indeed. Back in 1983, Carmel resident Steven Weaver put the “gag” in gag gifts by introducing Phew, one of the world’s first aerosol fart sprays. It took him a year to concoct a suitably offensive fart smell (derived from dead cow intestines) and to find a manufacturer who would handle the smelly stuff. During its heyday, his novelty company sold around 500,000 cans each year. Profits were plentiful, but so were the hassles—everything from school principals complaining about students bringing Phew to class, to merchants fretting about customers “sampling” the product’s room-clearing bouquet inside their businesses. “We had to keep changing the packaging so people couldn’t open it in the store,” Weaver says. It all got to be too much effort, and the spray was dropped around 1990. Even if Weaver could find a few old cans lying around, he’s not sure they’d still work. And given Phew’s potency, he’s not inclined to find out.

Q: The summer solstice is June 21 and I’m feeling Wiccan-y. Are there any old-school celebrations here?
A: If by “old school” you mean “pre-Christian,” then yes, The Hoosierist has you covered. The folks at Lothlorien Nature Sanctuary (a privately owned, 109-acre forest near Bedford) are planning a Solstice ReUnion gathering the night of June 22, complete with such tree-hugging staples as sand painting, dancing, and hours of drumming. Members of the group get to spend the night, but don’t expect any glamping. In keeping with the holiday’s Neolithic origins, no generators or gas lanterns are allowed. Also, no “pets, violence, or firearms.” So if you typically mark the start of summer by firing your shotgun into the sky and kicking your dog, this probably isn’t your scene.

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