In the fourth grade, my teacher gave our class an assignment, which was to write a one-page essay about someone who has influenced our thinking or inspired us. I must have been feeling cheeky that day, because I chose to write only one sentence, as follows: “Other than my parents, one person who has influenced me a lot is Lucille Ball because she has filled the world with laughter and I would love to do the same.” My teacher sent all of our entries into a contest called “Mindworks,” a column in the variety section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which a thought-provoking question was posed each month and elementary school children were encouraged to submit entries. A cartoonist for the Star Tribune (L.K. Hanson, wherever you are, I hope you’re well) found my entry amusing enough to illustrate, and so – to my mother and father’s shock and parental glee – my words were published on the front page of the variety section the next Monday morning.
Thinking back on this event, I am always flattered (and intrigued) that the paper and Mr. Hanson thought my entry worthy of sharing. What moved them to publish my words? I guess they found it entertaining to imagine a 10-year-old watching I Love Lucy reruns and dancing along in admiration to Ricky Ricardo’s latin beats, and thought that others would find it entertaining as well. My entry made them laugh, I suppose, and so they chose to pass it on. Laughter is powerful that way, making mirthful fools of anyone who is so wise as to let it. I implicitly understood that power as a 10-year-old, and I have since learned the importance of not forgetting those things I knew as a child.
Stephen Colbert once said, “Do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you’re laughing, I defy you to be afraid.” The world is at once a silly and sinister place. There are people out there who may try to persuade you to be who you’re not, or to think how you don’t, and those people make it rather difficult for the rest of us to get on with things and beat our drums. I believe that if those people spent more time laughing and listening – and less time moaning and monologuing – we would all have more time to be curious and thoughtful and all sorts of nice things that are all too often thrown by the wayside. It makes sense that there should be a place for all people – fearful, joyful, and everything in between – to come together, share a story, and perhaps partake in a little laughter, as once advised by a cheeky child.
Thus, the Vogelian Adventure Bureau was born. It is a place for stories to be shared, laughter to be fostered, and ideas to be collected.
Welcome, you’re just in time – the next adventure is beginning.
That is some history of the Vogelian Adventure Bureau, and it is also a story to make you smile. It can be found on the About page of this very website, because it is just that important. And you, reader – what About you? Is your world silly or sinister, or perhaps both all at once? The Bureau is curious. Do let us know.
About Katie Vogel
Katie graduated from Tufts University in May of 2011, where she studied history, computer science and calligraphy. Since graduating, she has had the pleasure of canoeing 300 miles of the Mississippi River with her friend and trusted advisor, Aaron Birr, training as a whitewater raft guide and technical ropes rescuer in Costa Rica with Outward Bound, working as a sailing intern with Thompson Island Outward Bound in Boston Harbor, starting up a little limerick business, and finally landing in Minneapolis, where she currently enjoys working for Public Radio International and Midwest Mountaineering.
Katie also enjoys watching Friends, 30 Rock, Shark Men, and anything hilarious. Her favorite books are “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke and “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. Katie always carries around a notebook with her to record her own secrets, adventures, and good ideas. She loves to sing and does it loudly and often.