My husband pores over web sites, explaining his line-by-line interpretations as he toggles between a Google map and a poem that holds clues to the hidden treasure. He points out canyons and creeks, hots springs and abandoned mines. He has a feverish gleam in his eyes.
I know that look.
I grew up watching It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World roughly every Sunday afternoon of my childhood, sitting next to my father on our seventies-orange couch. So I’ve seen that look plenty of times.
It is the look of a man who thinks he is about to claim a hidden treasure as his own.
It is a look that cannot be denied.
Each night for a week, Randy uncovers additional clues and struggles to convince me that he’s found the secret treasure hidden by Forrest Fenn somewhere between New Mexico and Canada. I get random texts like this one, left vague for security reasons:
Randy makes his case, a strong one, that he knows where the treasure is hidden. He wants to book a flight and search for it out west.
I hold back. While I consider myself an optimist, it’s an eggshell optimism, a Cinderella faith that expires at midnight. As I try to think of a synonym for “eggshell optimism,” I realize there is one: pessimism.
Still, I decide to support him. How could I not? He’s convinced he knows where a million-dollar treasure is hidden.
“Honey,” I parry, “all these guys who are professional treasure hunters, you know, they’ve gone out 40, 50, 60 times looking for it, convinced they were gonna find it. The thing is, those clues are vague, and the West is lousy with hot springs and mines, and the clues might not even be for hot springs or mines. The thing is, they could be interpreted a hundred different ways.”
Randy is undeterred.
My older son hears Randy’s theories on the drive home for spring break and texts me his concerns about his parents’ midlife crises, but I assure him I am skeptical:
Steadfast against his family’s rebuttals, Randy opens some new maps, finds some new clues that confirm the location for him.
We’re flush with free airline miles, so we’re going to hop on a plane during an upcoming weekend. We’ll rent a car and travel to that spot my husband found on Google maps. I can’t tell you where we’re going because it’s a secret, a top secret, and if I’ve learned anything else from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it’s that you’d better not let a secret about treasure get out.
We’ll claim our treasure at best, or give it our best try at worst.
Because that look cannot be denied.
Would you support your partner’s search for hidden treasure?
Update: We went out there for the weekend and didn’t find the treasure–this time. Our search–Up a Creek, but Unsinkable: Weekend in Denver
Update #2: Foiled again! We made a nice vacation out of a second trip out West, though: An Empty Nester’s Tour of the American West
Forrest Fenn’s clues (in the poem at the right): The Thrill Resource Page