Is it real? Are they for real?
So, being a public-spirited citizen, I went over to Wagner Park to check out the swatch of plastic grass that the City Council has rolled out for our inspection.I confess, one corner of my mind was concerned that I might not be able to tell the difference between the real turf and the plastic. So I got careful directions. The plastic grass, I was told, is at the very edge of the park, right in front of McDonald’s. (And they say city planners have no sense of humor.)In any case, there was no chance I would have missed it. That patch of plastic stood out in all its gleaming glory like Miss America at a mud-wrestling match. That fake grass was magnificent – especially in comparison with Wagner’s natural turf, which just lay there in all its sprawling imperfection. Some of the real grass was too short. Some too long. There were bare patches where you could see actual dirt. The coloring of the real grass was wildly uneven, too. No two blades, I swear, were the same color. All in all, I have to say, the real grass was a shoddy piece of work. I’m surprised it had the nerve to show its face. Instead of green, it should have been red with embarrassment.The fake grass, on the other hand, was nothing short of perfect. Blade by blade by blade of plastic perfection. Perfect length. Perfect color. Perfect texture. This was very clearly the grass that God himself would have created if he’d only had access to modern plastics way back, as they say, In The Beginning. Truly, it is gorgeous. There’s only one thing wrong with it.It’s evil. It’s plastic. It’s absurd. It’s obscene. OK, that’s actually four things wrong with it.It’s difficult to believe anyone is taking this supremely stupid idea seriously.I’m thinking maybe it’s all a scam, the pilot for a new TV reality show called “They Can’t Be That Stupid.”Next fall, you’ll open the TV guide and it’ll say, “Citizens of a small town watch in helpless horror as their elected officials take a series of increasingly bizarre and destructive actions. Will the citizens react before the town is destroyed?”How does the series end? Well, we can’t vote them off the island … although we can vote them off the council. But there’s not much drama in that, is there? For television, I’m thinking something more along the lines of an angry mob storming city hall with pitchforks and torches.Although, the state agriculture around here being what it is, pitchforks are probably hard to find and, when you do find them, mighty pricey. And, as for torches, well, they’ve all been bought up by second-home owners for those fabulous summer barbecues.Am I being too harsh? Unfair to the City Council? I think not.Folks, we’re talking fake, plastic grass, covering the park in the heart of Aspen, at the foot of the mountain. That park’s a town treasure and they want to cover it with plastic – like the plastic slipcovers on the couches in your grandmother’s living room. What are these people thinking? More important: Are they thinking at all?I know I’m being narrow-minded here, but as far as I’m concerned, anyone who expresses the opinion that Wagner Park should be covered with plastic grass has forfeited the right to have any opinions on anything, ever again. Period.OK, calm down. Let’s go back to the plastic fantastic carpet sample next to McDonald’s.Did I mention that the fake blades of grass are embedded in little granules of fake dirt? Really. Reach down and touch it and your hand comes up covered with little black specks of rubber. It’s just so cute!In any case, once I finished my inspection – and after I cleaned the fake dirt off my hands – I stood on the mall, at the corner of Cooper and Mill, expressing my outrage to a friend, as we watched people stream out of the Food & Wine Classic tents.Though my friend shared my outrage, he couldn’t help staring – leering, actually – at the spectacular anatomies of some of the women who paraded by.He kept interrupting me, calling my attention to what he considered particularly impressive examples of Aspen womanhood. I admit my friend is not necessarily a gentleman. His gaze and his focus of interest were very specific. “Look at that one!” he said. “Look at those. We’re talking real money to get a set of those.”He inclined his head toward another, particularly voluptuous young woman. “And how about those?” he said. “Yes, sir! The best breasts that money can buy.”Then he shook his head in disgust. “But they’re plastic,” he said. “Plastic!”Case closed.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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