Jump right in, no apologies | AspenTimes.com

Jump right in, no apologies

Tony Vagneur

The Hooks Spur bridge near Basalt is one of those crossings that span the Roaring Fork without personality or character, except in this case there is a very tempting pool of water underneath, which simply begs one to jump from the bridge, splashing into the icy waters down below.Afternoon seems to be the best time of day for making the 15- to 20-foot leap, and driving by you will see all manner of kids poised on the edge, waiting their turns. Gangly boys in too-big trunks, and bikinied and hard-bodied high school girls, the kind who make you hope you used up your youth in the most propitious way possible. But, I digress.The other morning, about 6:15, I drove by there in my usual fashion and spotted a gray-haired man of refinement climbing over the edge, dressed in black Lycra shorts with an orange life jacket securely fastened around his chest. “He’s gonna definitely jump,” was my immediate thought, and I imagined how the entry would feel, having fallen into a frigid irrigation ditch just last week, shortly before sunrise.The guy looked a little out of place, not just considering the time of day, but because he was quite a bit older than the usual crowd. But, by God, he was a welcome sight. If you notice kids playing and having giggles at any habitual spot, you can bet that some constipated government bureaucrat is going to put up a sign, forbidding anything resembling fun. And such a travesty happened at the Hooks Spur bridge – “No diving, no standing, no looking, etc.,” per the rules and regulations. We treat kids like they’re so much liability and then wonder why they have a sour attitude toward authority.But, I keep getting off the subject. I liked seeing the “older guy” jumping in the face of regulation, so to speak, simply because you know that the stifled bureaucrat mentioned above would have a hard time explaining why he was harassing an older gentleman – you know damned well the sign wasn’t directed at adults. Anyway, the early a.m. “river diver” didn’t have time to read it – he simply hopped over the railing and, taking only enough time to suck in a little air and get his feet together, jumped. You can bet when he got home, he woke his wife up in a most amorous fashion, a big smile upon his face.So, I was telling this story to one of the young kids that bless my life on occasion, and he immediately asked, “So who’d ya call, 911?” “What for?” was my rejoinder, to which he replied, “Well, you said he was an old man, didn’t you?” “No, I didn’t, but because he’s older than you, you’d call the cops and create havoc in his life?” Stone-faced, he said, “Well, it’s a safety issue, isn’t it?”There have been some nasty letters to the editor lately about baby boomers, mostly with unjustified complaints, but this kid, this “friend” of mine, was starting to put some nasty thoughts in my head about young people. It is said that “baby boomers” are getting ready to retire and will wreak havoc on our social systems. If you want to get technical about it, I’m not a boomer, because I “retired” about eight years ago to leap off my own bridges. But, then again, I am in the proper age category, so perhaps I can speak for the boomers, if just marginally.Basically, it’s like this, kid – unlike previous generations, we’re not gonna move over and make it easy for you – you’re going to have to earn every inch you get. Our tenacious grip is practiced, as exemplified by the man who jumped, without the need for encouraging peers. And one more thing – good luck.Tony Vagneur isn’t a big believer in luck, but goes for good fortune every once in a while. Read him here every Saturday and send comments to ajv@sopris.net


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.