Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
I’m sorry, but I have to chime in on this whole Lance Armstrong thing.
I mean, last week I tried to appease my readers who are disappointed I’m no longer throwing up on myself behind Eric’s after another romance gone wrong. I tried writing about the trivialities of my domestic life, but, alas, I did not receive the gardening tips I was hoping for. I really am sorry that my drug experimentation phase appears to be over for now and that I never ended up in jail/knocked up/in rehab.
I realize my happiness is not that entertaining.
So just when I thought I’d really fallen off the map for real, I got a tweet from Lance.
I’m really not that into Twitter, though now that I seem to be suffering from massive Facebook fatigue, I’m desperate for other distractions. Photos of your kid going off to school or of your baby or your dog or the hike you did or the food you ate just aren’t cutting it for me anymore. I’m even sick of gloating about my own life.
Plus, I have my own forum in the paper – hello. I’m sorry, but I will always love print more anyway. It’s so much more glamorous, more permanent, more real. Who cares if most people use the newspaper to pack boxes when they move or to line their kitty litter or clean their mirrors without leaving streaks? It means something to me, at least.
What the hell was I talking about again?
Oh right, Lance. And Twitter.
Twitter is a little more sophisticated than other forms of social media. Other than being a total mystery in terms of how to use it and how to utilize it, a lot of people are stumped from the word “go” by the character limit.
I learned a long time ago that less is more when it comes to writing, and doing it in 160 characters or fewer is a challenge that weeds out 90 percent of the dumb people who would rather not have to limit their spew on Facebook.
Twitter involves using things like URL links and hashtags and @mentions, of knowing whom to follow and how to get people to follow you. It’s a lot more public in that regard, but it’s also more elusive at the same time.
So when I heard about Lance’s troubles, I turned to Twitter after I realized that none of my Facebook friends really gave a sheet about it. I basically gave him a shout-out to say, “Hey, bro, Aspen loves you, and so do I.” And he responded and basically said thanks.
It has been a really long time since a celebrity has paid attention to me, so that totally made my day. I can live up here in this little red canyon with the coyotes and the crazy boater truck-driving road-raging wackos and the sunflowers that grow wild all over the sides of the roads like a cartoon or an acid trip. I can cut myself off from stuff like cable television and cellphone reception and be 25 miles from the nearest Prada and still have a celebrity pay attention to me.
But here’s the thing: Telling cyclists not to dope is like telling actors and models not to have plastic surgery. Let me ask you this: Who would Pamela Anderson be without fake tits? No one tried to stop Bruce Jenner from paralyzing his face and pulling it back too tight – he looks like last night’s leftovers draped in Saran Wrap. Models starve themselves, and boxers get brain damage, and sometimes our most beloved snowboarders and skiers die in avalanches becausewilling to take those risks for their livelihood. They want to push their limits and be the best they can be. It’s as simple as that. It’s up to them how far they’re willing to go.
I don’t see how cycling is any different.
Besides, like my compardre Andy Stone pointed out, all the top cyclists do it. So if they’re all doing it, and he still won, then he still won. These guys do what they have to do to stay competitive. If they want to compromise their health and mess with their bodies to stay at the top of their game, I say let them.
It’s like anything. The guys at the top are the ones who are going to be the boundary-pushers and the standard-setters and maybe even the rule-breakers. They’re going to be the ones who are under the most pressure and the most scrutiny. I don’t know why it seems like it’s human nature to want to take the winner down, to destroy the hero, to find the one negative in a sea of positive. Is it jealousy? Inadequacy?
I’ll bet you a million dollars this Traver Tygart dude was not popular in school. I mean, for starters, whose dream is it to become the president of an anti-doping agency? Talk about revenge of the nerds. I don’t know anything about the guy, but bear with me during my little fantasy.
It’s also true that Lance passed all those goddamned drug tests. My brother has passed a lot of drug tests, too, despite his penchant for smoking tons and tons of weed. But if the stoner outsmarts the test giver, then I say let the stoner be stoned.
I love that Aspen has been home to many controversial figures. It’s a safe harbor, a supportive and open-minded community that fosters that liberal spirit that often yields greatness. Not to put myself in that category, but the fact that I’ve never been run out of town is saying something great.
If I were to be run out of town, though, I’d probably want to find out what kind of dope Lance uses so I can be sure to outrun the bastards.
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