Michael Cleverly: Cleverly or Not | AspenTimes.com

Michael Cleverly: Cleverly or Not

Michael Cleverly
Aspen Times Weekly

I am in control. I’m sitting in this chair with five remotes and I am in total control.

The holidays are over and here comes the Superbowl. I’m not one of those fans who dreams of attending a Superbowl; it seems to me that there’d be too much going on in the periphery of the event to actually be able to enjoy the game itself. It was hard enough to concentrate on the game while watching it at Owl Farm for all those years. I think the best way to enjoy the Superbowl is probably to just sit home and watch it from your easy chair.

I feel the same way about Aspen during the Christmas holidays; it’s safest to watch it on television from that same chair. There’s something about “men” strutting around in huge, fluffy, fur coats and cowboy hats that inspires sentiments in me that probably aren’t socially acceptable in the “new improved” Aspen, so I stay away.

In the ’60s and ’70s, you could ski Aspen Mountain and frequent your favorite saloons over Christmas and it was really pretty civilized. There would be a few more celebrities in town than usual, but there was an unspoken (and firm) rule that they were to be left alone, afforded the same courtesy and right to privacy as any other human being. In turn they treated the rest of us as equals and everybody got along. If a herd of photographers were to chase some celebrity down the sidewalk back then, I suspect the lads at The Pub, Annie’s, The Onion or Cooper Street would have pried themselves off their barstools and shown the paparazzi the error of their ways. The image cheers me even as I write. The gang at Galena St. East would have been oblivious.

That was then and this is now and the safe bet is to settle into your chair and tune in to “Entertainment Tonight” or some other show of that ilk and watch Mariah Carey or Goldie Hawn being chased down the sidewalk from the comfort of your own home. I don’t know much about Mariah Carey, but something makes me think that she probably complains bitterly about the attention but secretly couldn’t live without it. I doubt very much if Goldie Hawn feels that way. The Aspen that folks see on TV and in People magazine isn’t the same town it was back in the ’70s, not remotely. Back then the people wearing cowboy hats might possibly have been cowboys and few wore mink coats. But from your chair it makes no difference and with your remote you are in control.

The inauguration is another thing that I think would be best to watch from your favorite chair. I’m sure, if you’re like me, you’ve been inundated with emails and telegrams from D.C. and Chicago insisting that you attend. Well, I’m standing fast, no way. In 2005, when I got back to the Lincoln Bedroom after the umpteenth ball, I noticed that I had acquired what proved to be an indelible stain on my tux. To this day I pray that Laura does not have a similar stain. Anyway, the stain won’t come out and at my age I refuse to buy a new tuxedo.

This one was getting a little tight anyway so I’m going to donate it to Planet Hollywood.

What, no more Planet Hollywood? OK, I guess I don’t get up to Aspen as much as I should; I’ll give it to the Hard Rock Cafe a little farther down Galena. The point is my inaugural ball days are behind me, and I’m watching from my chair and my only worry will be spilling on my remote. It’s going to be a zoo of “Aspen at Christmas” proportions in D.C. that week.

One of my favorite journalists, Christiane Anampur, said that, “Barack Obama is inheriting the inbox from hell.” Everyone agrees with that, but what about the Secret Service? Barack and Michelle Obama are attending no less than 10 inaugural balls in one night; I think it’s safe to say the Secret Service is also inheriting the inbox from hell. How do you provide presidential security for 10 venues in one evening? How many of those guys are there? Are they calling up the reserves? Will there be Boy Scouts in little Boy Scout tuxedos with little Boy Scout earwigs keeping an eye on things? I don’t know. You know where I’ll be: no security issues, no dancing, safe and warm. Maybe I’ll pick up a cat, step into the kitchen, and do a little moonwalk on the linoleum just to stay in practice.

People like to create labels for the era they live in. There are a lot of different tags you can put on the here and now and on a pretty superficial level, “The Time of the Remote” could easily be one of them. We’re well into it. There are few switches that you actually have to get up to flip any more. Almost everything can be controlled from the same chair I’ll be sitting in when I attend the inaugural balls, watch the Superbowl, and enjoy Christmas in Aspen.

I think PONG was the last video game I played, but I understand there have been a lot of advances in game technology. Is it true that I can even go skiing from my chair?

No more frozen toes…wheee. Where’s that remote?


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