Roger Marolt: Roger This
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Milk. I got it. It’s a new twist for my fitness routine, the first one since gravity boots back in the ’80s. I don’t like change, so it’s not surprising that I’m back on the juice that I was hooked on since just after my time in the womb. I don’t know why I got off it in the first place, except that I didn’t really care for the taste. But I do remember that I was at the peak of robust health the last time I slammed a cold glass-full, back when I was about 18.
I first started thinking about getting back on milk about five years ago. Three of us had just finished a long, hard bike ride. My friend Doug and I opted to crown the day’s grind with cold beers. My brother Mike settled on a glass of milk and, by the way, did we have a couple of tablespoons of sugar to mix in with it? I tell you that we never laughed so hard watching him gag down that creamy, sweet concoction while we imbibed the barley-aid. It didn’t seem fair that we could be so much wiser about the ways of the world. Mike quietly, if not emphatically, informed us that Lance uses the same drink for recovery. Ha! Sure! Pass me another Bud!
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Government Trail the next day. Mike was as fresh as cream while I felt like a curd. I lagged behind, wondering if I’d been missing out on the regenerative powers of milk after all.
I probably would have gone back to the nectar of the udder even earlier, but Doug and I had teased Mike so hard about it that he didn’t dare show up again in our presence with a white mustache above his lip as a reminder. Fall turned to winter, Lance won four more Tours of France, and Mike moved on to his next health fad,
which I don’t remember. I completely forgot about milk.
Then one day my molars began to ache. I went to the dentist, and he told me that there was nothing wrong with my teeth except the increased sensitivity that comes with age. I left determined to prove this was not the problem. I became really in tune with my chompers and kept mental notes every time they bothered me. It wasn’t more than 10 or 11 months later that I determined that Coke caused my teeth to hurt. I was drinking one every day at lunch. I switched to water and, voila, my sensitive teeth
Water didn’t do it for me, though. I would down a glass and half an hour later be thirsty again, completely void and empty. I needed something more substantial, something that would leave me fulfilled. The truth is, I needed something that would make me feel young again.
It came to me that, aside from pureed prunes, milk is the one thing all kids have in common in their diets. It’s full of protein, for strong muscles. It’s got calcium, for healthy bones. They jack it up with vitamin D since we can no longer go safely out under the sun. Old people don’t drink it. Plus there is a possibility that Lance uses it as a recovery drink. What did I have to lose?
So into the diet it went. I couldn’t handle stirring sugar into my milk, though. The delicious alternative was to buy chocolate milk. When they put the sweetener in at the dairy, I find that I don’t have to think of the hot, dusty cane fields where it originally comes from and that makes it more palatable.
Now milk is part of my diet again … and I’m thinking more than ever about employee housing in Aspen. I mention this because I never thought about employee housing as a kid. That I do now is a sure sign that I am no longer a kid. It is this recognition that finally convinced me that milk, despite all the healthy benefits it provides, is not making me younger. No matter how much of it I drink, I will never be 18 again. No matter how good I might feel now, it is impossible for me to forget about local politics, an indisputable sign of the irreversible aging process.
Yes, for awhile I felt better because I was at least trying to go back in time, and that is better than nothing. Or so I believed, until my hair and nails began to grow like they haven’t since I was a teenager. As you are surely thinking, I, too, thought it a positive sign that these parts of my body were revived and growing rapidly again. How long could it be until my perfect vision and ache-less back returned?
The euphoria of milk lasted until I recalled the urban legend that hair and nails on corpses continue to grow long after they are buried. This breakthrough allowed me to look at my new diet more objectively.
While it’s true that I have not shattered any bones since my milk diet began, it is just as true that I have put on a few pounds. Since it is no longer cool to tuck our shirts into our baggy trousers, I can convince myself that the extra weight is all muscle, but I can’t deny that I have to buy larger pants. If bigger is better, I am better for sure. But if you don’t buy into this notion, the results to my health are debatable. It might be time
for another change.
And so it is with employee housing. Lately, I don’t see that the millions upon millions of dollars drunk up by the program have made Aspen a better place to be. We haven’t made noticeable steps in returning to the great old days. We are not bringing back the quiet years or even disco-era Aspen. We are just getting bigger.
It’s just a thought, but I’m considering a milk moratorium. I might not be able to stop my own aging process, but I know I at least have a chance at getting back to my fighting weight again. Don’t laugh. It’s something.
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