Switch Stance: How to save your Aspen
Ever since Ge*rge W*shingt*n decided that he had done enough for the U.S. of A. and selfishly retired to Mount Vernon after two terms as president in 1797, our system of government in America has centered around the notion that “the people” decide what’s best for ourselves. Obviously, this worked better when there were like, a few hundred citizens in the country and your career choices were between being a farmer, blacksmith or cobbler — if you were lucky enough to get to choose. Oh, the price of leather strops went up twopence since last election cycle? Guess I’m voting Whig this time, assholes.
Sure, democracy basically means “for the people, of the people, by the people.” But “the people” are doofuses. I’d argue that many of them aren’t even sentient, yet they participate in society among us every day. They’re basically Sims characters who piss on the floor and just walk away from the bathroom stall like “whatever, everyone else does this, too.” They don’t realize you shouldn’t blow snot rockets onto the carpet or hock loogies through window screens or that the coronavirus would have been exterminated a year ago if 90% of these morons would’ve just gotten the vaccine. Maybe this sounds like I’m making shit up, but seriously, half of the populace is so oblivious that they actually stand up to wipe their own ass rather than maintaining the more ergonomic and hygienic sitting position, and instead stroll off while flushing their refuse with the lid up as waste particles unfurl upon every surface in the lavatory (clearly that “Mythbusters” episode really stuck with me). Undoubtedly you have some miserable acquaintance in your mind’s eye right now as you read this: the guy who doesn’t even wash his hands after taking a dump, let alone after sneezing millions of omnicron droplets into his paws — if he even manages to cover his face at all.
These are the people who run our world and, yes, our Fat City.
Regardless, it’s nigh on fruitless to continue belaboring the lamentations of every poor working-class bastard who still manages to half-live in Aspen. That’s not to mean his torso is in Aspen while his legs are in Rifle, obviously, but that despite residing in one of the most beautiful places in the world blah blah blah, it’s difficult to actually, you know, feel fully alive amid the sudden crush of an omnipotent, elite demographic.
Anyway, maybe it’s not too late. Maybe there are still enough of us left. Politics are basically just two sports teams, with the huddled masses pledging blind allegiance to whatever Red/Blue talking points they’ve been fed and assigned to since birth, as if anything they do in this life can affect the trajectory of the will of the rich and powerful one iota. But maybe in Aspen we have a slim chance of postponing it, if only briefly. What we need to do is vote in a radical to city government. Aspen pretentiously declares itself to be on the forefront of so many issues of international import (I bet Mayor Torre is livid COVID ruined his chances to jetset around the globe like Steve Skadron did), so how about we bring back a good, old-fashioned monarchy as an example to the rest of the civilized world?
From my experience in witnessing how people’s behavior changes once they hit middle management, I understand how a small taste of power can immediately turn the previously well-intentioned into sadistic sycophants. This town needs someone trustworthy who won’t hop in bed with the bourgeois who control Aspen at first opportunity but will instead go up, down and across the lines of the law, ethics and decency to preserve the lifestyles of the proletariat. Someone like, umm, me (I ain’t got nothing else to do but pledge myself to civil service).
I guess I don’t have much of a strategy here other than “be sexy as possible,” which worked out well for Rasputin. I figure the more of my face and body I can cover with hair, the less likely my subjects are to realize I’m not particularly attractive; however, I think I’m disadvantaged because I’m not a particularly hirsute gentleman and look kind of like a dork with eight happy-stripe hairs and no more than a dozen follicles on my chest. On the plus side, I’ve never had to dislocate my elbows to shave my back.
I’m not sure why I feel like it’s on my broad and bald shoulders to “save Aspen,” but I think it’s because I’m all smooth, transparent and bloated with some type of red jaundice, like the Kool-Aid Man — and nobody has ever said “You know who I want to f— is the Kool-Aid Man.” Perhaps being the king of Aspen, Colorado, can help change that, and I can just impregnate with impunity, busting through people’s walls like “OOOOH YEAH!” I’m sure the Historical Preservation Committee will adore me.
Besides, there’s something about being a beloved potentate that affords you longevity. The holders of the Betty White ticket in their respective celebrity death pools are rejoicing, as am I after Ja’Marr Chase went off for 55.6 points in the fantasy football championship. I’m just glad the collective internet can finally let go of the Betty White idolatry. She was 99 and we keep carrying on, acting like we want her to behave like she’s still 83. Hell, Jimmy Carter is 94 and looks like he’s one El Nino away from death; why did we expect Betty White to still make talk show appearances and unironically offer Jimmy Fallon a plastic bag full of Werther’s Originals? Come to think of it, all the oldest people in the world should participate in a huge orgy for charity sponsored by MasterClass — I would love to watch erotica with a pencil in my hand for once instead of this giant marker. We could charge extra for the workbook, which would just be a photocopy of whatever Dead Sea Scroll they found the original Kama Sutra on. I’m pretty sure “hieroglyphics” is an option in Google Translate. Let’s invite the queen, Bob Barker, Keith Richards and Clint Eastwood. (May need to expand the guest list — poor Elizabeth.)
But honestly, my roadmap to getting what the locals (and by “locals” I mean the beleaguered ones, not the wealthy wretches who just moved here) want is to enact the wildest laws and bog down the judicial system so that each one has to be fought off individually. “But is that legal?” Probably not, but the city retains infinity money in the coffers to spend on lawsuits, so let’s find out; Mark Hunt has six weeks to complete that renovation or he loses his deed, see you in court. Too bad the judge is busy reviewing the case against me for bogarting the emergency whistle into playing my “Unique Eunuch Cyclists” Spotify playlist 24/7. Tick tock, tick tock.
I’m gregarious in nature but I don’t suffer fools nor succumb to intimidation, mistreatment and asinine procedures, so these types of assholes generally dislike me especially, but that’s OK. To establish a strong Aspen monarchy we need someone who understands positioning and leverage while laughing off our adversaries’ bluffs, and it might take a character possessed with enough spite yet also the confidence to wear maroon, tassled tunics from the ’70s in City Hall (Skippy is doing a good job with them shoes, though). Someone like an unemployed millenial whose residence has been turned into a hotel that sounds more like a brothel.
Someone like, well, check your ballot in 2023.
Benjamin Welch is the former production manager at The Aspen Times. You can find him flipping off the Realtors hawking construction-moratorium petitions or at email@example.com.