The Day Denton Forgot To Open a Time Capsule.
Yesterday morning, Denton musician and concert promoter Glen Farris noticed something peculiar at the corner of the college town's Hickory and Locust streets. There, embossed in brass and set in the concrete sidewalk in front of the Wells Fargo Bank on Denton's town square, sat a plaque he had noticed many times before — one that marked the location of a time capsule buried 20 years earlier, on September 12, 1992. The capsule, the plaque explained, was set in place two decades prior by the employees of Denton's First State Bank — a company that no longer exists, as, years ago, Wells Fargo bought out that initial entity — and was to be opened yesterday, as that company turned 100 years old.
“I just thought it was hilarious that we forgot about it and that it's in a brass plaque literally set in stone,” Farris says today of his re-discovery.
So Farris did what any Internet-connected young Dentonite might do: He took a picture of the plaque with his camera phone, then uploaded it to his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Within minutes, hilarity ensued.
“I definitely raised some time capsule awareness in this town,” Farris says rather proudly.
Indeed: Within minutes, his picture had gone viral among his friends in the city. So, later that evening and as something of a lark, he created a Facebook event page, asking Dentonites to join him by the plaque at 12:01 a.m. on September 13 to commemorate the day Denton forgot to open a time capsule that reminded everyone who walked over it of the day in which it was supposed to be opened.
“I just figured,” Farris says, “that we should definitely commemorate this failure.”
And he wasn't alone in this belief.
At 10 minutes to midnight last night, after playing a set of songs at Dan's Silverleaf down the road, Farris downed his beer, picked up his guitar and started walking toward the plaque to see if anyone had decided to join him. He was shocked to find that about 40 people had decided to do just that.
“I'm walking up the hill toward the plaque, and I see a crowd gathered,” he says. “And then, it was crazy, they broke out in applause as I walked up. Then they parted. It completely surprised me. So I set my guitar down and just made a speech about time capsule awareness.”
Among those in attendance? Denton city council member Kevin Roden, who, much like his constituents, was amused by the concept — so much so that he too offered up a speech and then documented the memorial today on his political web site.
Says Roden in his recap: “There is something important to understand about cities here. Despite our best efforts at planning, development, and the creation of city amenities, the soul of a city is more often composed of a collection of beautiful little accidents like this one.”
Says Farris: “I basically created a real-life Onion article.”
More than that, actually: Farris and Roden now hope to make September 12 something of an annual holiday in Denton, and they hope to turn the plaque into a historical marker so that the time time capsule will never actually be opened.
“With enough planning, maybe we can get some food trucks and a band there next year,” Farris says. “Just make it really over-the-top and serious. Honestly, my imagination is just going crazy with the possibilities about what this means and what it stands for. I mean, it was never opened. We missed it. So now it just can't be opened.”
Lucky for Farris, there don't appear to be any plans in place for such an opening.
An employee at the First State Bank in Denton, which is currently located down the road at the corner of Oak Street and Carroll Boulevard, explains today that her bank is actually not affiliated with that older, on-the-Square location, as her company moved to Denton from out of town in 2003. Meanwhile, attempts to contact managers at the Wells Fargo bank that took over for that original First State Bank location have proven unsuccessful; all day long, the line has been busy.
So, it seems, Farris and Roden may get their wish — even if they're not sure what the granting of that wish might mean.
“There's really no lesson here,” Farris admits. “Except that I think it's the prefect explanation for Denton. It's just such a forgiving town, so to come together to celebrate our failures just seems so perfect. It's just so funny.”
Update on September 20, 2012: This morning, the City of Denton finally dug up the time capsule. We still don't know what's in there. And, honest, we're not sure we care. All in all: Sad face.