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Marolt: Finding common ground with witches and snowboarders

Roger Marolt

When I started this gig, I wrote something that stirred the witches. I can't remember what it was nor for the life of me can I imagine what I could say then or now that would set them off like I did. Would it be insulting to suggest their latest potion contained a tad too much eye of newt? Who knows. Whatever it was, they posted my column on one of their covens' websites and my email inbox lit up like a Las Vegas fortune-teller's crystal ball.

They were a mean bunch, those witches. I'm sure there were some warlocks, too, just to be politically correct and accurate. After a few attempts at exchanging ideas with an eye toward increasing educating and awareness of both sides, I got afraid to answer any more emails. My experience was they didn't respond well to pleasantries and such. I'm not saying that all practitioners of the dark arts are this way, but the ones that wrote me sure were.

They cussed and cursed and cast hexes and spells my way for days it seemed. I don't remember much, if anything, coming from it, but I'm not too proud to admit I was looking over my shoulder when the wind blew and checked my tongue in the mirror pretty often for a while after the attacks. Everyday aches and pains made me consider there might be a voodoo doll with my name on it somewhere with pins sticking out of its neck.

Anyway, I said let bygones be bygones and allowed the thing to pass and so did the witches. I haven't heard from any since, or at least none that let it be known that they were one when we were talking. I chalked the whole episode up to being one of those "once in a lifetime experiences" and was glad to be done with it.

Then last week, right here in the Snowmass Sun, I wrote a piece on snowboarding and how I didn't think much of it personally, and it stirred up another hornets' nest, as they say. The thing caused my email box to fill up again and I tried to answer the snowboarders the best I could, but pretty soon new ones were coming in faster than I could type "I'm sorry," so I just started hitting the delete button as fast as I could.

I apologize to those who sent notes that I didn't answer because I know there's no satisfaction in cussing someone out who doesn't seem to notice. Please know that it wasn't like that at all. I just ran out of time. For what it's worth, I'm sure what you said would have cut me to the quick and make me feel real bad, if what you said was anything like the few I did get the chance to look at.

I doubt it will come out right because it seems kind of awkward to say it like a compliment, but I'm sincere when I say that you guys, as a whole, are much meaner than the witches ever were. I mean, I'd pay good money to watch you two groups go after each other, and my bet would definitely be on you!

I think it was mostly bluster, though. One guy really let me have it — about as mean, nasty and crude as a human could make with words. It would have made my mother cry for me if she'd had a look at it. But I noticed something at the end that said he was president of the Gunnison Rifle Association or such and I asked him if he knew my friend who grew up there and lives in Crested Butte now. Sure enough, he did. After that it was like we were best friends, which proved to me his hatred of me was pretty thin to begin.

Another guy ended his sailor's rant by betting $100 that I voted for Trump. I replied that I'd take a check. I haven't heard back, so I assume his word is no good, including the foul ones he hurled my way. I figure at least he knows I'm human now and we don't disagree on everything.

It feels like there's a lot more anger in the world. When people get nasty about something as inconsequential as snowboarding, I guess they're looking to let off steam that's risen from a pot boiled on a different fire. Nobody trusts anyone anymore because we're scared everyone's on the other side of everything and totally against us. We distrust. We assume antagonism in every set of eyes. If you ask me, it's time to acknowledge the heart beating behind them again.

Roger Marolt doesn't practice snowboarding or cast magic spells, but he doesn't mind a bit if you do. Email roger@maroltllp.com.