A picture of Gorian Dray
OK. One more time. Take a deep breath, suck it up and get out on Tuesday – damn it! – and vote.Just vote.And, frankly, for right now, I don’t care who you vote for.No, I haven’t changed my mind. I’m still very clear on who would be the best new mayor for Aspen. But, to be honest, I don’t think you really care whom I support. And, more to the point, I don’t think my support really matters.All I want you to do is vote.So, if you think a developer is the mayor Aspen needs, then you know who gets your vote. And if you think a bicycle-riding lawyer/politician is what Aspen needs, then, again, you know what to do.Or, let’s look at it a different way. If you want to vote for the candidate who will save Aspen, go ahead. Please. And if, in your heart of hearts, you want to vote for the candidate who will destroy Aspen, go ahead and do that.And, yes, I know that everyone thinks they’re voting for the candidate who will save Aspen – and that the other guy will destroy the town. That’s the fun part.So, go ahead. Vote.Meanwhile, I keep remembering Tom Benton’s memorial service at the Mountain Chalet a couple of weeks ago.We were in a room at the topmost reaches of the lodge, a quirky, gloriously twisted old building at the base of Aspen Mountain. I always get lost when I go in there. Levels shift, and hallways twist and run into dead-ends without warning. I love it.I looked around the room and I had to admit that a lot of the people gathered there to honor Tom’s life were looking pretty battered. We were all survivors, but in some cases survival looked like a pretty close call.It was, “Wow! I didn’t know he was still alive.” Followed closely by, “Um …is he?”It didn’t make me want to go look in a mirror.I thought about “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” That’s Oscar Wilde’s novel in which a beautiful young man leads a wildly depraved life, but somehow remains impossibly young and beautiful. Year after year, decade after decade, he doesn’t age at all. Meanwhile, hidden away, somewhere in his house, is a painting of him that grows older while he stays young. Every sin, every depravity is etched into the once-beautiful face in the portrait.And I thought that maybe all of us at that memorial were some kind of Dorian Gray in reverse – that somewhere there was a painting of us that just kept looking better and better, younger and younger, as we looked … well, exactly the way we deserved to.I walked out onto the top-floor deck of the Mountain Chalet.Standing there, I was nose-to-nose with the St. Regis, that imposing pile of faux-original-Aspen stone. I could turn my had and see the newest fake-Victorian, faux-deluxe erection next door.I gazed around at the construction cranes towering over town and I knew that this was everything Tom Benton and so many of the people at that memorial had fought against. Gee, that worked out well, didn’t it?And I thought that Aspen itself was the “reverse Dorian Gray” painting. As we all looked worse and worse, Aspen was looking – well, not better and better, but shinier and shinier. Everything is becoming a newer and newer kind of fake-old. Fancier and fancier, with all the depth of a painting.At the end of the novel, the young-looking Dorian Gray, in a fit of terror and rage, grabs a knife and tries to destroy the painting. But when he plunges the knife into the canvas, the painting instantly returns to its original condition – a portrait of the beautiful young man. And Dorian Gray, instantly old and hideous, falls dead on the floor, the knife in his own heart.What does it all mean?Hell, it doesn’t mean anything.Now get out there and vote.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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