ATOP A MOUNTAIN – It all began when I agreed to perform a wedding. As in, I’ll be the guy instructing the happy couple to say, “I do.” Granted, I won’t hold a candle to the guy who did Angry Ward’s wedding a few years back; dude was an actual monk, as in he was wearing a brown, burlap sack with a rope belt. But I did register with The Church of the Latter Day Dude just to make it kosher.
Once you make that commitment, you’re in for the whole kit and caboodle. So when the groom-to-be invited me to his bachelor party, it was a no-brainer. Vegas? No. A weekend of skiing in West Virginia. Eh, we take what we can get in this world
Now the question is staring me in the face: To ski or not to ski?
I didn’t grow up skiing. I grew up playing stick ball. I’m from the motha-effin’ Bronx. But I did get a chance to do it a few times in high school. At JFK HS there was this legendary gym class called Camping and Winter Sports that Grote2DMax hipped me to. It was a real racket and we all loved it.
Most Fridays we went ice skating at the rink on Broadway and W. 237th street. At the beginning of the Fall semester or the end of the Spring Semester, we went on an overnight camping trip that was little more than a tent-hopping, drunken bacchanal. Mostly it was stuff like listening to Deep Purple on a boom box while hitting a bottle of Coke spiked with rum, though my friend Erik once took mescaline, blacked out, and came to in his tent, buck naked with popcorn strewn everywhere.
But the real highlight was the skiing trip to Big Vanilla, either at the end of the first semester of the beginning of the second. I remember those kinds of specifics because I took the course three times. Hell Yeah.
I got on skis for the first time at age sixteen. I took to it with relative ease given my lack experience and relatively advanced age. I never had the best hand-to-eye coordination, but I’ve got pretty decent balance. And I like to go fast. After those three trips, and a few more with friends during college, and I was barreling down the tougher blues, searing a straight line through the snow, racing to the bottom.
I never got good enough to go for a black diamond course, and I never had much interest in gracefully carving an endless letter S into the mountain. Maybe it was because I watched too many episodes of All Things Fast and Beautiful with host Dan Pastorini when I was a kid, but I jut wanted to fly down the mountain.
Anyway, this that and the other, and I didn’t ski again for about 20 years until I went again about five years ago. Spent the morning falling down, and the afternoon screaming down the blues like I used to. The next day I was as sore as flaming herpe, and hung around the lodge instead of going out for a second round.
So what do I do this weekend? Friday’s a no-go as I’ll be arriving late afternoon (that’s yesterday; I wrote this column earlier in the week), and we’re leaving late Sunday morning. So really, it’s about whether or not I go for it on Saturday. What say you, fair people of MTM? Should I hit the slopes, rusty and middle aged, or should I get drunk and play poker and video games, and stare at snow bunnies?
Full report next week. Full on Cheesy Bruin tomorrow.