Writing Switch: It’s Colorado hate week! | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: It’s Colorado hate week!

Grunge Colorado state flag. Colorado flag brush stroke.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

In this blissful utopia that is the United States circa 2019, “hate” is an emotion you’re no longer allowed to feel. Calm down: We certainly don’t actually hate Colorado (except for a few square miles somewhere in Boulder); we’ve lived in the state for a long time and one of us actually changed our driver’s license within a decade since moving here.

But our blood still bleeds red as favorite sons of Nebraska, and Sept. 7 the vaunted Cornhuskers face off against the University of Colorado. In memorance of this once-great football rivalry, this week we compare lifestyle aspects of the neighboring borders to determine which stater is greater.

FASHION

BW: Nothing is sexier than a giant foam corncob on your head. … Ugh, I cannot tell a lie: Not even I would wear one of those and I’ve been known to put on a flamboyant outfit. However, your nickname also is a neck gaiter, so that really puts the ralph in Ralphie. Nobody cares what you look like after a day of tilling soybeans on the homestead, and the more ripped and greasy that XXL shirt is hiding your giant gullet, the more attractive you are to dive bar waitresses. I once went to a drag show in Lincoln and was the only guy wearing a wig instead of a camouflage hat. Boy, those cars sure do go fast.

Give me a pair of crusty overalls or a fresh-pressed plaid button up over sweat-wicking synthetics that are bad for the environment. Do you know how long it takes for those shirts to decompose? Not as long as a flannel filled with straw and posted out in the yard, I’ll tell you that. Farmer-chic is in, and I’ll be damned if I’m shamed out of doing a Scottsbluff mullet when my hair’s long enough again in a year.

FOOD

SB: I guess we can go analytics in this category because the fare in each state is similar. There’s good beef and game in both spots elk notwithstanding. (I guess bear and moose are options but I’ll pass on eating Yogi and Bullwinkle.) The metric I’m using here is my weight.

I’m so very far from in shape by Colorado standards, but when I lived in Nebraska I was fat by any standard. By that metric, Nebraska wins by default. If you’re going by the ability to get a steak cooked perfectly medium rare for $40 less than a dry-aged, triple-aged bistro steak, Nebraska wins, as well.

And I hate to beat a dead buffalo but Colorado has hiking, skiing, biking, rafting, hanggliding. Nebraska has football and eating. If you’ve ever been to a Big Red Keno, you know that Nebraskans’ ability to drink beer towers and put down fried food is an art form fit for the movie “Se7en.” I’m not going to lie, certain categories matter more than others but there are some that I simply won’t hear it. This is one of those.

RECREATION

BW: While the varied landscape of the Centennial State obviously is very conducive to a smorgasbord of outdoor activities, in Nebraska you can, um, go to the gym. Recreation in NE is closer to relaxation than walking up mountains for fun or a three-day kayaking trip. For entertainment I would sit in dingy bars multiple nights a week playing poker instead of doing homework and whatnot. It’s kind of strange that I spent my college years with drunken old men and haggard women rather than my peers, but I guess that’s just the hand I was dealt.

Believe it or not, skiing isn’t completely unavailable. Fifteen miles south of Omaha is Mount Crescent, which is technically in Iowa but that’s just Nebraska lite, so whatever. Three hundred acres of man-made snow and multiple “expert” runs give your Nebraska friends all the confidence they need to immediately be scared shitless when you send them down West Buttermilk.

MARIJUANA

SB: This one is pretty easy but not for the reasons you might think. The weed in Nebraska is pretty good because it comes from Colorado. You can even get pens and cartridges if you know that guy who knows that guy who’s white and drives a nice enough car to get through the Wile E. Coyote traps set by Nebraska State Patrol.

The two reasons why Colorado beats Nebraska in the weed category is price and probation. Before the weed shops figured it out, I paid similar prices albeit for better weed. Now that the dispensaries have gone Undercutters on the little guy, things like penny joints and $100 ounces are normal. While I don’t indulge in trimming board scraps, I do smoke some nice freshies for cheap.

As for probation, a young Sean could have very much done without the legal ramifications of an ill-hidden chillum, nosey bike cops, state patrol and so on and so forth. I imagine the fertile state that is Nebraska could make The Good Life a lot better with the cash crop of all cash crops.

NIGHTLIFE

BW: The only requirement for getting into a club in Omaha is the understanding that you will scream the lyrics to “Friends in Low Places” for at least the first three times you hear it that night. Nobody in the Midwest is scared to hit the dance floor after three or four Busch Lights; shit, the DJ will play “Old Town Road” at every wedding reception for the rest of our lives. Have you ever heard of a $2 beer? It exists! That’s probably also the reason everyone not driving for UPS has a DUI. Or maybe it’s the giant fishbowls filled with six different kinds of booze at Duffy’s — a post-victory must.

All the craft beer in Nebraska is nourished by the water in the Ogallala Aquifer, which is exactly the same as Rocky Mountain runoff. That doesn’t sound true now that I’ve put it on paper — IDK it’s just what some brewer told me. My guess is that it comes from Lake Matthew McConaughey, which was filled by his sweat during filming the prairie scenes in “Interstellar.”

FOOTBALL

SB: Unlike the matchup this weekend, this argument is extremely one-sided. Colorado needed a 16-down series to win half a title. Nebraska only needed the genius of Dr. Tom Osborne, Bob Devany and some walk-ons — as well as countless All-Americans including Tommie Frazier, Grant Wistrom, Ahman Green, Dominic Raiola, Mike Rucker and that’s just the ’90s.

The Buffs are inferior in pretty much every way, especially the fans. Apathy is something rarely seen from Husker fans and is as routine as piss balloons and flying batteries among the smattering of people who call themselves CU fans.

Also, I get it. There’s more to do in Colorado than Nebraska, but what about Broncos games? The state backs them like John Elway backs tall/terrible QBs. Even when Nebraska is bad — which has been a lot lately — it’s not as bad as the Buffs’ opening run in the Pac-12. Go Big Red. I hope we smash CU on Saturday.

Winner: Nebraska

sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com


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