Roger Marolt: No meat in this SPAM
It finally happened. I knew it was just a mater of time. I received the dreaded mother-of-all-hate e-mails that I had been expecting for a while now. It was from the president of Aspen Holy Order of Locals Exclusive (AHOLE).Normally, my skin is about as thick as a Clarks Market orange, but the words from AHOLE really hurt. In part she (gender changed to protect the guilty) wrote:Having followed your writing career for some time now, as much as I appreciate your humor, candor, & stepping up to the plate, if it were me, I would take caution in articulating & documenting too many unspoken/ unwritten local secrets. Not having been born here but having lived here for a little over 35 years I have witnessed the cumulative effects of too many people sharing local secrets.Your buddies D.J. and E.S., the self-professed & self-promoting local authorities, are good examples of people cashing in on Aspens secrets. Take it from someone who knows, cherishes & values quality, the aggregate effect of telling is that you eventually foul your own nest.The next powder day when you go to ski S1 in less than 1 minute I hope you find it all tracked out, the next time you go to get away from the jet trash, I hope you find some second-homeowner jerks wading through your secret fishing hole.Stop degrading yourself by getting sucked into all the Andrew Kole/Jerry Bovino/W.C. its about me notoriety that is so prevalent & seductive in this town.Real locals keep their mouths shut about what is and is not a local, a real skier, a great run, the best places to eat & shop, etc., etc. The proof is that when you get to the bottom of the run or get to that favorite fishing hole, there isnt some city dwelling jackass grinning at you. Real locals understand that it is not so much about where & how you ski, but about shared values that outsiders will never get!I would ask you, what do you have to gain by setting the record straight? Take it from me, a real local, I know when we are being sold out.Whew! Quite frankly, I was floored by this message. Ive known this person for more than 20 years. You can discuss the housing shortage, transportation problems, the retail core and open space all you want. Its attitudes like this that are the biggest threat to our town.I wrote back:Dearest captain AHOLE,I dont necessarily buy into the idea that you must live here for 20 years to be a good person. We were all new here once. Even me. There are people who have lived here forever who are, well just like you. There are people who moved here yesterday who are great; and vice versa.All of the people you mention in your letter, whether or not you agree with them philosophically, politically or otherwise, love this community. Its hard for me to find fault with anyone who is lucky enough to be able to make a living out of their enthusiasm for this wonderful place. As for giving away my secrets, I dont really keep any about where someone might find peace, comfort or enjoyment in this oftentimes cruel world. I have been blessed enough to find this place, and just dont feel right about hoarding it away like a parsimonious old miser stockpiling jewels that will reflect only the dim light from a candle stub lighted sparingly when no one else is looking. I like to be around people. Skiing S1 and sharing the experience with other folks who are as excited about it as me is a real rush. I heard that the day after my Ski Myths column ran, S1 was clogged with people holding stopwatches while others tried like hell to ski it in under a minute. Thats awesome!If someone can get back to that wonderful childlike frame of mind for awhile, where skiing some ungodly steep run at breakneck speed actually is important, or where there is a giant Rainbow lurking just out of reach in a fishing hole shaped like a pot of gold, and they can forget about the job, the mortgage and the enormous responsibilities of being a good parent, spouse and friend for a minute or two, maybe theyll get rejuvenated and be a better person for it. Not long ago, we took acquaintances from Chicago to our familys favorite sledding spot. The father was a big-time, stressed-out attorney who had forgotten a long time ago what it was like to be a kid, was having trouble being a husband and never knew how to be a dad. We took a lunch and made a day of it. The weather was gorgeous and the views were stunning. They had never experienced anything like it. Man, was it great! As we walked back through the woods, the dad pulled me aside. His eyes welled with tears as he told me he was going to try hard to be a better man. He is, too. We could have saved that special place for ourselves, but one family in Illinois, and probably a lot of their friends, and a few others who know them, etc., etc., are glad we didnt. And, so are we. People can be stingy with a lot of things in their lives: money, time and, yes, even secret places. I dont believe that being sparing with any of those things is virtuous. Maybe if we all shared a few more of the wonderful experiences and beautiful places on this planet, more people would be less willing to pick up arms, dump toxins into the streams or sell their souls for a few extra bucks. I think if we all shared what is precious to us with as many people as possible, the world might be a better place. As for being a local, dont let that become just a label that we pin on ourselves when we cant figure out anything better to be.P.S. Lets go skiing this weekend. I found a new line in the G-Zones I think youll like! [Roger Marolt has bragged about his hometown to anyone who would listen for 42 years. Tell him what you like best at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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