Gaylord Guenin: The transition from Lycra to camouflage
September 23, 2003
It’s that time of year when the fashions are changing.With that early September snow, we have been seeing less and less of the sprocket trash who dress in those garish outfits of Lycra and Spandex, outfits that resemble plates of pasta that might be served up in a bad Italian restaurant. While we don’t miss the bicycles on our roads, it is always somewhat sad to lose specific cyclists, particularly the middle-aged men stuffed into those tight riding suits, outfits that certainly do not complement potbellies. But one must applaud those fellows for getting on their bikes and making a serious effort to stay in shape, even if their clothing selection indicates they’re clearly out of shape, both physically and mentally.And as the Lycra begins to fade into the mist of September, it is replaced with outfits of camouflage and blaze orange. At least that fashion shift is noticeable in Lenado; I am not certain if it is apparent in Aspen, a place where many hunters no longer feel comfortable.There was a time, years ago, when Aspen greeted hunters with open arms because they brought a little cash into an economy that was almost nonexistent. Today that same welcome is reserved for retired CEOs and second-home owners, for the same reasons – they bring lots of cash.And if certain Aspen residents see the average hunter as a “killer,” many of those same individuals are perfectly comfortable wearing furs cut from the dead bodies of exotic and endangered animals. The contradictions are never ending. An individual who would kill “Bambi” in order to feed himself and his family repels us, yet we continue to embrace, celebrate and even worship those who kill for fashion. It sounds to me as if we are just a tad confused.I gave up hunting years ago, and there is no question that the Bambi factor was the prime motivation. I slowly realized that killing such beautiful and gentle animals was something I could no longer do; however, eating such beautiful and gentle animals continues to bring me great pleasure. If there isn’t a contradiction there, I have never seen one.As the fashions in Woody Creek have been undergoing a change, so has the general atmosphere. Suddenly there are fewer people crowding into the Tavern, which is appreciated by those of us who enjoy the quiet “off-season” and the intimacy of old friends.Strangely enough, it seems we are seeing fewer of the regular members of the Woody Creek Tavern’s Pissing & Moaning Society. My initial concern was that some of the PMS regulars had found real work, which was a most depressing thought. Then I worried that it was an economic thing, a shortage of cash that was keeping them away. I should have been able to reject both thoughts immediately. The greater part of the PMS crew takes to employment in a rather “spurtive” manner. That is to say, they are inclined to work in spurts. When they do work they are skilled, prompt and loyal, but in time the fascination of a regular schedule seems to wear off and they go back to grabbing jobs in a rather chaotic manner. So they may disappear from PMS gatherings for a few weeks and then pop onto the scene again.And the idea that financial problems might be keeping some regulars away was real fuzzy thinking. As we all know, a lack of money is not going to keep a dedicated man away from his local tavern.Just about everyone who has been showing up lately agrees that George W., our compassionate-warrior president, is a gigantic mistake, which leaves all of us with very little to argue about. A sad situation, as arguing is a premier activity in the Tavern.One cynic recently tried to bait the PMS group with the claim that George W. may be America’s greatest military mind since General Patton, and we rose to that like a school of goldfish whose owners had been on vacation for a week.”Look at the record,” our misanthropic adviser said. “George is winning his war against environmental controls, he is winning against stopping air and water pollution, he is winning against assisting the elderly and improving health care, he is winning against improving unemployment in the nation, and he will win the war to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because he has `good intelligence’ that shows Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are hiding under the Arctic tundra.”I admit things are a tad messy in Iraq, but even Patton didn’t win every battle he was in.”OK, perhaps our antagonistic friend is correct. George W. is winning a lot of battles that seem more important to him than events in the Middle East or the welfare of the American public.And as one PMS member pointed out, “You know, guys, we wouldn’t look all that bad in camouflage!” The way things are going in Iraq, camouflage could be America’s next fashion trend.This is the 294th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where properly tied shoelaces are something of a fashion statement.