Stone: Quick quiz: Did Beowulf do the Monster Mash?
This morning I was reading some raging, angry letters to the editor about yet another proposal for a monster house on the outskirts of Aspen.
Well, actually, it was only one angry letter, but it was written by two people, and I calculated there was enough anger jam-packed into that missive to fill half a dozen letters.
Well, actually, the letter wasn’t really all that angry. In fact, it was decidedly — disappointingly — civilized, saying that the writers had “serious concerns” that this “singular decision” could have “permanent effects on our entire valley.”
(I don’t know how people expect to get anywhere using that kind of language, but never mind. Some people are just like that.)
In any case, having read this reasonably raging, civilized screed against a new monster home, I have to say that I hate monster homes as much as anyone.
I mean, sure, monsters have to live somewhere, but why do they have to build their homes in our valley?
Let’s be clear, I am not prejudiced. Some of my best friends are monsters. But you know how it goes: First one monster moves in and then another and — snap! — before you know it, there goes the neighborhood. Monsters everywhere.
And you know what those monsters are doing, don’t you? The Monster Mash!
As elucidated by that great philosopher Bobby “Boris” Pickett (and The Crypt Kickers), “The Monster Mash! It was a graveyard smash. The Monster Mash! It caught on in a flash. The ghouls all came from their humble abodes, to get a jolt from my electrodes.”
Is that what we want for our peaceful valley? I think not!
And for those of you whose education was not sufficiently broad to include Professor Pickett’s classic work, allow me to bring it down to your level by reminding you what happened when King Hrothgar let Grendel settle in the neighborhood: The great mead-hall of Heorot was trashed, and any number of random Danes were eaten. We don’t want to see that here! And don’t try to convince me that Beowulf will show up to save us. Glory-seeking Geatish warriors are few and far between these days.
But I digress.
Back to the point: While I share our valiant letter writers’ concern over what we might well call monsters in the ’hood, they were clearly off-target in some of their stated concerns.
To begin with, they argued that the building site for the monster home was “compromised.”
Well, to quote Sophocles, boy howdy and whoa Nelly! That’s a mistake. “Compromised”? Hey, the people who build these homes for monsters don’t know the meaning of the word.
Having quoted Sophocles, let me now quote the immortal Rush Limbaugh: “Compromise? Ladies and gentlemen, losers compromise. Winners do not compromise.”
And, needless to say, monster homes are built by winners.
But let’s not dally on linguistic issues. (After all, I’m sure there are a lot of other words those monster builders don’t know the meaning of.)
The letter writers went on to say that problems with the monstrous building site include “two avalanche paths and an alluvial fan.”
Why are they picking on Alluvial fans? Hey, I’m an Alluvial fan. (Although, personally, I thought their recent release, “Alluvial’s Biggest Hits,” was a crass commercial effort. And to be honest, their biggest hit, “Let Me Rock (Slide) You, Baby,” was pretty slipshod. Like any true Alluvial fan, I hope they can return to the brilliance of their first, groundbreaking effort, “I Said It, I Meant It … Baby, I Sediment It.”)
And as for avalanche paths crossing the property, well, we having hiking paths and bike paths that cross people’s property without problems — why should we discriminate against avalanches? Everyone needs somewhere to get out, stretch their legs and get a little healthy exercise. Even avalanches.
Sure, some people argue that building a home in an avalanche path raises safety concerns, that a big slide could sweep the home away.
Well that, my friends, is what we call a “feature,” not a “bug.”
Really. If we don’t like monster houses, then an avalanche path is the perfect place to put them.
Think of it as a win-win situation: They win because they get to build their house where they want it. We win because, sooner or later, like a dog kicking off fleas, the mountain will take care of the problem: rumble — oops! — bye-bye, monster.
And, as an extra added bonus, the lucky homeowners just might get a free (sort of) toboggan ride. A real thrill ride, in fact. The ultimate E-ticket ride — um, make that “Eeeee! Ticket.” From Here to Eeeee-ternity, as it were.
So, we shouldn’t ban monster homes on unstable land in the path of avalanches.
Hell, no! We should require that those homes be built on exactly that kind of terrain.
Just one extra requirement: They have to construct some sort of trash-catcher between the house and the nearest stream. Something to stop the debris — and the occasional stray monster — before an avalanche sweeps it into the creek and befouls our pristine waterways.
Of course, the trash-catchers should not be built too close to the monster homes.
We want the inhabitants to really get a nice, long ride.
They should have enough time on that ride to eternity to consider whether they should have studied a little harder in school, whether they should have taken a liberal-arts course or two along the way to their master’s (of the aniverse) degree in making even more money — so maybe they could have learned the meaning of the word “compromise.”
Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His email address is email@example.com.
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Like the trails we hike and ride upon, our forest journeys can be capricious, going down an intriguing path, unintended in the beginning, but bringing a sweet, or bitter, experience before we’re through.