Aspen’s most brag-worthy man
August 9, 2006
Bob Braudis, I don’t care if you were in rehab or at a plastic surgery center in Beverly Hills – I still love you.I seriously could care less if he was in a yoga ashram in India, getting a face-lift, or on a surf trip in Baja California. The guy is part of the fabric of this community that makes Aspen cool. And trust me, we need to be cool way more than we need a new sheriff. Whenever I brag about this town to people one of the first things I say is, “It’s really not like that. It’s not all about rich people and money and Prada ski clothes. There is a very eccentric, liberal community that has been around forever that defines the town’s character and people don’t realize that unless they actually spend some time here.”Braudis is the first guy on my People Who Make Aspen Cool list (followed by Mayor Helen, the Post Office guy with red hair, Mack Smith, Bill Dunaway, Mary Eshbaugh Hayes and everyone else who has worked 20 years or more at The Aspen Times, Dan Sadowsky, Alex Halperin, and the ladies over at Ski.com, in no particular order).”We have the coolest sheriff ever,” I’ll say. “He’s like a million feet tall with a head full of shaggy gray hair, and a cute gap between his teeth. He cruises around town in jeans, cowboy boots, and a green fleece vest with a little star pinned to it. Oh yeah, and he’s this rabble-rouser from South Boston and he was best friends with Hunter Thompson.”I’ll admit my personal exposure to the guy has been limited, but it always met my expectations and then some. (He never did respond to my calls and e-mails about participating in my Princess in Pink fashion show last year, but I’ll get over that one eventually). The first time we were introduced, he sort of hovered over me and said, “You’ve got one funny sense of humor, little lady.” I couldn’t have been more proud.The other time we met I asked him about a little bench warrant thing I had on my driving record and asked Braudis if he would help me out. “Would I get arrested if one of your guys pulled me over?” I asked.”Yup,” he replied.”Would they haul me in?” “Yup, probably,” he said.”Would it be scary?” I wanted to know.”Not in my jail,” he said, flashing that signature gap-toothed grin. He said I could come by his office anytime and he’d look up my record and see what was going on, but I was too scared that I might do or say something I’d regret later, like ask him to handcuff me to the nearest bedpost.After being a psychotherapist for 30 years, my mom once told me if the scariest, most dangerous patients she’d seen over the course of her career had been cops and priests. (Oh, simmer down. It’s just a quote).The point is cool cops are as rare as honest politicians, and Aspen needs its cool people way more than it needs to worry about crime. If the clan of city cops sitting around Café Ink sipping lattes all the livelong day (whom Braudis isn’t in charge of) is any indication of crime in Aspen, there isn’t much to worry about.I know I’m only in my senior year as an Aspen local, but in the four years I’ve lived here, I’ve never had to lock my house or car, even when I’ve left my snowboard or bike in it. I have walked (make that staggered) the streets alone in the middle of the night like I was wearing a sign on my head that said, “Kidnap me: I’m too drunk to care.” One time I left my snowboard at the Sky Hotel after having a few too many après-ski cocktails, and it was sitting right where I left it two days later.Drug use and what-have-you has not in any way affected my wonderful life in the safe haven that is Aspen. It’s only enhanced it. In fact, Aspen’s ugliest day was during that awful drug bust at Little Annie’s last year that Braudis knew nothing about. A bunch of cops screaming and holding guns at people’s heads – now that’s scary.As much as I love the whole artist-filming-goldfish thing, I’m sorry, but the last thing I want is to replace our Charmingly Flawed Sheriff with someone who would fake his identity in order to bust someone, the way Rick Magnuson did when he called the treatment center in Sedona, Ariz. and left a message asking him to call the Aspen Daily News. Those are the kind of underhanded politics people resort to when they’re fighting a losing battle (sorry, but it’s true).Magnuson’s right about one thing: Aspen isn’t the same as it was in the ’70s and based on all the wild stories I hear from the ladies at Ski.com, I missed out on good times. I’d way rather hang out with a bunch of coke-tooting freaks in disco outfits than the conservative, white collar tax-evading crooks who frequent various charity events, looking for places to stash their cash to make things right with the IRS. (For all we know, our town is probably crawling with Feds as it is).So what if our sheriff took six weeks off after 20 years of service to tend to his personal health? Hasn’t the guy at least earned the right to a little privacy? And what does his personal life have to do with his professional record? Please, let’s not get mired in Monica Lewinsky-style politics. We already lost one sweet-talking, silver-haired manly man and our country suffered for it – let’s not let our little town lose, too.Not voting for Braudis – now that’s a real crime.The Princess is really hoping for a get out of jail free card for this one. The Sheriff’s office can reach her at email@example.com.