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Stone: Last call for a motto

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Aspen needs a motto.

Not, by the way, a slogan. The word “slogan” comes from a Scots-Gaelic word for a battle cry — something to scream at an enemy as you attack, waving a blood-stained axe. (Really. I looked it up.) 

A motto is more of a philosophical statement. 



It’s the difference between “All the news that’s fit to print” and “Yankees suck!”

Consider the Olympic motto (fancied up with Latin, as mottos often are): Citius, Altius, Fortius. Which means: Faster, Higher, Stronger.




We could consider some version of that for Aspen — except that given our town’s racy reputation, any talk of getting “higher” might lead to another DEA raid.

Years ago, some Skico marketing whiz tried “Uncrowded by design.” But that was scorned as being the equivalent of “Failing on purpose.” And now, given the traffic on Highway 82 and the resurgent lift lines resulting from the Master of the Universe Pass (or whatever it’s called), mentioning “uncrowded” might be false advertising. 

I actually started thinking about an Aspen motto when I stumbled on a swell quote from William K. Vanderbilt. In 1885, he inherited today’s equivalent of $1.7 billion. A real Aspen kind of guy, he once declared: “Inherited wealth is as certain a death to ambition as cocaine is to morality.”

Wouldn’t that look great carved over the doors of City Hall?

On the other hand, one of our brilliant local columnists wisely suggested that Aspen’s biggest problem is that everyone who visits here winds up wanting to move here permanently. And that’s ruining the town.

So perhaps the best motto for Aspen might be that familiar bartender’s cry at last call: “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

I think that would look just dandy inscribed on the Aspen City Limit sign. Right under “Elevation 7,908.”

Just a suggestion, of course.

Andy Stone

Missouri Heights