The truth about the mysterious ‘Strawberry Jello Incident’ |

The truth about the mysterious ‘Strawberry Jello Incident’

Andy Stone

I know it’s terrible that the hospital is a few million dollars in the hole because they forgot to send out bills. I happen to be a big fan of the hospital. I think it’s one of Aspen’s greatest assets.

So, OK, they don’t like to send out bills. Great. I don’t like to pay bills.

Which brings me to my point: Why did they pick on me?

I mean, to miss out on as much money as they did, it seems like they pretty much didn’t bother to send out any bills at all last year. So why did I get billed?

Was I the only person who got sent a bill by the hospital?

Last year, I paid – well, actually, my insurance company and I paid – a whole lot of money to Aspen Valley Hospital.

I don’t want to go into too

many details of how I ran up those big bills. My time there will remain shrouded in mystery. Yes, there was one notorious episode that involved me, two nurses, a hot shower and a significant amount of strawberry Jello … and I’m going to stop right there, while it still sounds like the plot of a porn film – before it starts to sound like a scene that was edited out of “The Exorcist.”

Anyway, the care was phenomenal. (And, OK, I am thinking about the lovely young student nurse who slipped into my room late at night, pulled down my sheets and murmured, “Do you mind if I …” Well, once again, I’d better stop before the details get too graphic, though I will point out that a senior nurse was on hand to give the young lady a few “pointers.”)

Anyway, I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by the annoying efficiency of their darned billing system.

I got a bill that spelled it all out. Right down to the last catheter. My insurance company paid its share – and when I was a little slow paying my part of the bill, the hospital didn’t seem to be the least bit shy about reminding me.

So why, I wonder, was I the one they picked on?

Was it something I wrote?

Was it the cleaning bill for those two nurses’ uniforms after “The Strawberry Jello Incident”?

And, while we’re on the subject, how come I always miss out on these things? Every time I read the papers, there’s some multibillion-dollar settlement in a class-action suit, but I never get a dime of it.

I bought Firestone tires. Did they blow out? Nope.

I bought a Ford Pinto. Did it explode in a ball of flame? No way.

I lost a bunch of money in the stock market, but was I one of the lucky guys who had a totally corrupt broker? Uh-uh.

But now I think I’ve found my answer. I’m going to file my own class-action suit.

I’m going to sue the Aspen City Council on behalf of all Aspen residents, past, present and future.

The grounds for my suit? The fact that they are even remotely considering replacing the grass on Wagner Park with “artificial turf.” Plastic!

I know they’re probably not going to do it – but I think the mere fact that any of them even considered saying they were even considering thinking about it is grounds for a lawsuit. This has got to be one of the most inappropriate, lamebrained, bizarre ideas ever to be discussed by the Aspen City Council.

And, believe me, that is saying something, when you consider the vast extent of lamebrained discussions that have been held in the sacred City Council chambers of Aspen, Colorado.

Just for the record: Yes, plastic is more durable than grass.

Plastic is more durable than snow, too. Perhaps, while we’re at it, we should cover Aspen Mountain with white plastic. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry about the weather – and we wouldn’t have to groom the slopes! Except, of course, that we’d have to plow all that annoying snow off the plastic when we did have a winter storm.

Hmmm. Would that be a problem? No! We can put heaters under the fake snow, so the real snow melts and runs off. It’d be kind of a tribute to all the heated driveways in town.

So … OK. That’s an incredibly stupid idea, right?

But not much stupider than putting artificial grass on Wagner Park.

I’m going to file my class-action suit right away. And when I win those millions of dollars, I’m going to turn it all over to the finance department at Aspen Valley Hospital to manage for me.

Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is