Every time you turn around it seems another piece of the good old days turns up missing. Just recently I went snow skiing with my son and was chagrined to find that my old fashioned skis – skis that had served me faithfully for over twenty-five years – where no longer “in.” Now-a-days downhill snow skis are shaped like oversized Q-tips that have been stomped flat by some strange creature out of a science fiction movie.
My son works at a local ski hill, so I was able to ski for free: All I had to do was rent “up-to-date” equipment and I’d be ready to hit the slopes. I was determined to prove to my offspring that the old man could still show him a thing or two about, well, about something. And so, one fateful day we drove to the hill for a fun filled afternoon in the majestic mountains of Idaho.
Unfortunately things started to go down hill – so to speak – right off the bat. My glasses fogged up immediately upon stepping into the muggy warmth of the rental shack and I experienced a bit of difficulty in locating the empty areas surrounding various immovable objects. Really though, it wasn’t my fault. They had this ludicrous system where you had to move from one “station” to the other in order to pick up each piece of equipment. I suppose that it might work for teeny-boppers (do they still use that term?), who are herded around all day anyway (history, room 12; algebra, room 3; chemistry, room 89679 and so on), but I’m convinced that the whole thing was designed to make my generation look foolish. Even so I suppose no one would have complained too much if I hadn’t fallen into a rack of skis and caused a domino effect that qualified for a listing in the Guinness book of world records.
Anyway, I finally made it to the chair lift where I found my son waiting off to one side with his snow board.
“Ready Dad?” His enthusiasm was contagious – or at least it should have been.
“Yeah, well, I guess so. Heh, heh.”
We rode to the top of the hill (elevation 31,989 feet), in the midst of a blinding snow storm.
“Perfect weather, don’t you think Dad? – this is gonna be great!”
“Yeah, well, I guess so. Heh, heh.”
When we reached to the top of the hill my son took off like a tomahawk missile leaving the deck of the USS Vigor while I allowed the upward trajectory of the chair to ease my frozen body out of a sitting position into the likeness of Quasimodo on skis. Then the real fun began.
Now, from what I understand (subsequent to my recent skiing expedition), the new-fangled skis provide a degree of control akin to power steering on a car. I’m told it takes a little while (seven or eight years), to get used to the enhanced maneuverability provided by the new style skis. That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking with it.
Anyhow, I pointed my skis in the direction that most resembled downhill (I was having difficulty seeing in the blizzard), and set out. There’s a gap in my memory right about here, but I do remember that moments later I attempted to point my face in the direction that most resembled uncluttered atmosphere suitable for sustaining mammalian life forms. An unidentified young snow boarder materialized out of the raging storm.
“Hey, you okay?”
“Of course I’m okay” I said around a mouthful of snow as I gazed in wonder at the position of my skis in relationship to my knees. “I’m just trying to polish my cartwheeling, ski shattering, boot and binding blasting extreme skiing technique – ” but she was already gone.
I eventually made it down the slope (even though I seemed to find myself facing up hill every time I tried to make a turn), and that raised my spirits somewhat. In fact the rest of the day wasn’t too bad – the lodge was relatively warm and dry. On the other hand I’m afraid my reputation as a rugged outdoors-man has been tarnished a bit. Be that as it may, a remedy is at hand. Next time I try to show the young-uns that the old man still has what it takes, I’ll chose an activity that doesn’t rely so heavily upon one’s physical capabilities: Scrabble anyone?