Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

One thing I have found unavoidably universal is the midlife crisis. Practically since the time I entered the working world and realized that men are not trying to make people laugh with their comb-overs, I have prayed for the poise to age gracefully. Oh, well. It strikes even the most diligent of us.

As I approach 50, I have taken to moisturizing my face. If that doesn’t say it all, then the fact that I’ve recently noticed that some of my shirts might be out of style does. The next thing you know I’ll be hiring a trainer to make sure I don’t make an ass out of myself at the gym.

The good news is that “midlife crisis” doesn’t necessarily have to be synonymous with “going off the deep end,” as has been thought for many years and which has struck fear into the hearts of men, their wives and, most of all, their teenage children, who can’t completely avoid being seen in public with the guy who used to be so content with simply making sure the sidewalks were edged and the cars vacuumed but who now takes the time to read reviews on the best teeth-whitening processes.

I mean, there has to be something for us men who aren’t interested in Ferraris, Ducatis and young hotties to ease our fear of getting gray before going bald only to eventually find hair growing out of our ears.

Tattoos aren’t for everyone, and just because you acquire one when your skin is already saggy doesn’t mean that it can’t sag any more. Ponytails on men are for hippies, and the fact that you get one after you worked your way to the top and nobody at the office dares tell you how silly it looks doesn’t mean you’ve been a closeted free spirit since you got ramrodded into going to college and sucked into the corporate world immediately afterward. Sailing the Caribbean in a rented catamaran doesn’t mean you’re a pirate. Summiting Mount Everest only means you’re rich. Piercings aren’t original expressions. Viagra doesn’t remove wrinkles in your face.

There are lots of men who recognize these things and still can’t help wishing for the days when playing golf was a way to waste an afternoon horsing around instead of a bone-jarring, action-packed, extreme sport that leaves a body on the downhill slide sore for a week after 18 using a cart. In case you haven’t noticed, Aspen is a melting pot for guys who aren’t petrified of getting older but who nonetheless find themselves pricing paragliders on the Internet in their hotel rooms after taking a half-hour tourist tandem flight off the side of Aspen Mountain.

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This smoldering case of “The Crisis” has inspired me to come up with a way to deal with the inevitable in an efficient and economical way. I call it “Midlife Crisis in One Long Day,” or “McOld.” Just get it over with, baby! McOld is nothing more than a way to get a midlife crisis out of your system quickly before you do something dumb like buy a 14-punch membership card to the hot-yoga studio or show up at the health club in a pair of tights.

I’m doing research for the program right now. My hypothesis is that the Power of Four mountaineering ski race, in which participants skin up all four of our local ski mountains in one agonizing day, is enough to make any man feel he is lucky to be old enough to have a legitimate excuse not to do anything like this ever again. Get this: The premise of the event seems to be to hike up the mountains on skis only so you can get to the bottom of the next mountain as fast as you possibly can so you can then painfully slog up it, too. It sounds like the exact opposite of what a sane person would do, and the beauty of it is that it is. Most people in “The Crisis” will realize this just after the point of no return.

The secret of McOld is that it transfers all regrets from things not done in the past to a thing you are doing right now. And nobody at the finish line is going to be telling you that you did well in your age group. That’s as counterproductive as it is pointless. Preliminary results indicate that most test subjects in McOld are 100 percent convinced they made the right decision in not taking up extreme endurance events when they were younger. Remarkable! A few cures have even come without pulled muscles or tendinitis.

The way I have it rigged, my cure will happen on March 3, anywhere between 10 and 14 hours after the Power of Four race begins. That is not to say it will be anywhere near the finish line. The timing gives me a few weeks before my birthday to take up something that’s not intended to prove anything at all. Ahhhh …

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