Carroll: The 2014 ‘You Had One Job’ Awards
Aspen had a grand 2014 — you know, other than a murder, a plane crash, far too many suicides and Boogie’s Diner still refusing to dispense crayons to children.
Some people succeeded more successfully than others this year in spite of seemingly insurmountable challenges. For others, victory should have come easily given the fact that they just had one job. But no.
Here are the recipients of the inaugural “You Had One Job” Awards:
Natalia Shvachko and Michael Sedoy
When you move into a penthouse in the middle of Aspen’s restaurant row, your one job is to revel in life in a penthouse in the middle of Aspen’s restaurant row. Your job is not to continually call the police and whine because the neighboring bars and restaurants that were in existence long before your penthouse are making the same noise they made long before you clomped into town. If Hunter S. Thompson were still alive, this might have been the story cementing that, indeed, it finally got weird enough for him.
The City of Aspen Parking Department
Drivers are required to pay to park in downtown Aspen. When you are charged with enforcing that and then become aware that many drivers are not, in fact, paying — to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars — and you choose to ignore it for years, you are spectacularly not doing your one job.
The Silver Queen Gondola Maintenance Crew
In Aspen, the winter holidays are make-or-break for plenty of restaurants, shops, businesses, service-industry workers and, of course, Skico. Which is how it’s mind-boggling that arguably the crown jewel of transportation on the four mountains — the Silver Queen Gondola — shut down last Dec. 30 to Jan. 1. Kudos to the crew member who spotted the oil leak that led to the discovery of the critical pair of 160-pound bullwheel bearings requiring replacement. However, to whoever was responsible for keeping extra parts on hand in case of an emergency during the most heavily trafficked time of the year? OK, maybe you had two jobs — primarily to keep everyone safe, yes. But if people can’t ride the thing that you’re keeping them safe on, all signs point to failure.
Most of the Marijuana Shops in Town
Recreational marijuana was legalized as of Jan. 1, yet it wasn’t until March 5 that the hordes of hungry hemp habitues on holiday in Aspen had the chance to purchase lawful pot. Only Silverpeak applied for a license in early January, with its competitors failing to take the necessary steps to jump on the bong-wagon before the spring offseason. Maybe the other shops were attempting to copy the cannabic comedic stylings of Cheech and Chong, in which case, congratulations on a stellar stoner performance. But really, on behalf of those who couldn’t par-toke in the meantime? Dude.
There are not too many elections. The date of each one is never a surprise. Have a proofreader (or four) double-check the ballots ahead of time to ensure the absence of misprints. Don’t just produce enough ballots. Make so many of them that the trees in the forest start logging complaints against you with the Environmental Protection Agency. Surely any excess ballots could have been used for paper airplanes in the local preschools or in place of gas to fuel the fire pit downtown. If you were, say, the Elections, Edaphology and Egyptology Department, it would be understandable if Election Day ended in a quasi-disaster because you were simply spread too thin. However, there is only one E in your department title.
The People Who Failed to Secure Their Trash-Can Lids
Since 2010, Aspen residents have been required to use bear-resistant trash containers. But that doesn’t just mean you buy the garbage can and sit there admiring it. You actually need to use it properly. It’s like in that 1991 episode of “Seinfeld” when Jerry reserved a rental car, which then wasn’t available when he went to pick it up. “I think I know why we have reservations,” the rental agent said defensively. To which Jerry replied, “I don’t think you do. You see, you know how to take the reservation; you just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.” Anybody can buy a trash can and even put crap in it. Putting on the lid correctly is a different story, which is evidenced by the 29 trash-can-violation citations issued by the Aspen Police Department this year and the 20 bears that were put down locally between July and October.
The Popcorn Wagon
Your one job is right there in your name: popcorn. You’re not the Purple Kale Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Toasted Almonds, Dried Cherries and Pecorino Cheese Tossed with a House-made Lemon Balsamic Dressing Wagon. You’re not the Gyro, Green Chili or Falafel Wagon. Popcorn — that’s it. Sure, maple bacon doughnuts are nice and all (in theory). But for a space whose previous menu items have ranged from the simple (crepes) to the inane (raw fish in the dead of summer) and failed each time, keeping it simple might actually ensure that your primary purpose is fulfilled, which is sating the cheap, late-night snacking needs of those who, while waiting for the 2 a.m. RFTA bus, wouldn’t notice the difference between being fed popcorn or poplin.
The Aspen Art Museum
You had one job: art. Oh, wait. You did that. Sorry. Never mind.
More at http://www.meredithcarroll.com.
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Editor’s note: The following letter was written to Bruno Kirchenwitz, a frequent writer of letters to the editor of The Aspen Times.