The ‘Dick of Aspen’ on Aspen
August 11, 2008
I, Dick Jones, love Aspen because any nimrod (e.g., Dick Jones) can get his or her name, Dick Jones, into the local newspapers, simply by stroking a keyboard or standing up at a combative City Council meeting. (My name is [insert name]. Ive lived in Aspen for [insert number; the bigger the number, the better] years, and therefore my opinion is more profound and righteous than those of these other idiots who just spoke!) Some local personae particularly politicians, political gadflies and other assorted lunatics even achieve rockstar-like one-name recognition: Cher, Bono, Madonna; Mick, Andrew, Toni. Others become known solely by their initials, however spelled, like Easy Peazy (E.Z.P.Z.) of Aspen and, did I mention, also of Beverly Hills, thank you very much. Personally, I aspire to such local recognition and infamy as to monopolize my own name. I dont want to be known as any Dick; I want to walk down the street and have the locals shout out, There goes The Dick of Aspen! I love Aspen because most of the locals shouting the loudest to preserve our town for posteritys sake (step one, ether; step two, shellac) arrived here in the 70s, 80s, 90s or even this century, while most of those arriving in the 50s, 40s or longer ago have known and understood change: some good, some bad, but ever present and as unstoppable as time. Sure, the inevitability of change is now easy for the self-proclaimed chosen few to dismiss: Its something that happened to town then, but not now, damn it, not while we [heart] Aspen! Its so easy for relative newbies to forget the big changes, though, except for an occasional mention in the tourist brochures: The Silver Years, when Aspens initial riches began upon the humble request by Pitkins oh-so-friendly army for all Utes to kindly vacate their summer home so that those with new native bumperstickers might ever so gently extract the shining silver from Mother Earth. Prosperity forever! What? The U.S. currency just went off the Silver Standard? OMG! I think I just dropped a lode in my pants! And then theres my favorite, The Quiet Years, as the potato-eating, near-starvation, underemployed quasi-ghost town period as its now affectionately known. Oh, so, so quiet. Rumor has it that the towns progressives actually tried to pass a make some noise ordinance back then.I love Aspen because employee housing gives so much service and succor to the visiting dignitaries and assorted robber barons who have magnificently staked their claim to valley dirt and sky, and thus from time to time but mostly over the jet-in holidays to its almost-beautiful little people in their cute little tiny homes. You might not know this, but it is quite problematic to get smiling staff to bus up from downvalley to happily make a perfectly dry martini these days. And all the while, hordes of hourly-waged proletariat cheerfully believe that they have won the lottery, drawing to win an affordable place of residence, not unlike in the small villages outside the moats of feudal castles past. Never mind the nevermind on Burlingame(d), fine but ignorant citizens; who are you to question those on the throne with certainly much greater understanding than you will ever have of the factual perceptions of the then and now?I love Aspen because we dont have cars because we dont have parking; simple as that. Just ignore all of the cars driving around looking for a parking space, and we are almost a car-free town. That certainly is a level of excellence that is hard to achieve without some serious consideration in new-think, thank you very much. I also love Aspen because the bottlenecked traffic backup into and out of town is so quaint, so small-townesque, and so eco-friendly; who could possibly want it any other way? Certainly not the city voters who live, work and party on the eastside of Castle Creek for they must truly have only love in their hearts for the commuting downvalley trash who serve them.I love Aspen because when youre a volunteer member on a volunteer board, and the powers that be mandate that you write a nice column for the newspaper, you can feel good in knowing that they got what they paid for, and you most assuredly wont be asked to write a column ever again.In conclusion, and all together: There goes The Dick of Aspen!
Rick Jones, estate planning tax attorney, chair emeritus of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and general manager of Aspen Highlands when it was the only operating ski lift museum in the world, wishes to apologize for the above cynical ranting of his evil twin brother Dick.Business Lounge is a feature of Inside Business, published Tuesdays in The Aspen Times.