I have never in my life seen anyone top the ski fashion worn by my friend Stu’s maniacal father, Sperry Decew. Sperry is an odd one – he once attacked an entire lift line of people after his rented ski poles were stolen – and his fashion sense is, well, older than old school. Sperry wore lederhosen on the slopes, which I guess fit in with his image. He bought a German shepherd when I was in high school, named it Gunhilda, and had it trained to respond to German commands. I don’t think he had roots in Germany – I think his ancestors were French – but Sperry had some kind of love affair with German culture, I guess. Sperry was quite a site on the slopes, and adding to his comic appearance was his skill level on skis. He never backed down from anything – I guess that’s what happens when you were a tank driver in Vietnam – even if it meant kick turning his way down the mountain. He wore glasses under his goggles, which were constantly fogged because he was always falling or sweating, or both. Well one day, Sperry found his sweet spot. He was skiing beautifully, and not falling … much. It was the last run on a bluebird day and three of us – my dad, Stu and myself – were standing below watching Sperry arc a series of turns toward us. He came to a triumphant, grin-beaming stop right in front of us. And that’s when it happened … rriiiippppppp. He tore his lederhosen from knee to crotch, and the hole instantly filled with snow. Stu looked at me, shook his head, and quietly mumbled, “Here it comes.” The peaceful afternoon suddenly became filled with audible filth, as every four-letter word in the dictionary spewed from Sperry’s mouth like the finale of a Fourth of July fireworks display. And I swear some of it was even in German.
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