Marolt: You have the right to fight and call it a party

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

It is the time of year when there is not much to talk about and few bother to read the local newspaper, which makes it the perfect time for columnists to make confessions. I mean, is absolution granted if nobody hears the sin? My humble opinion is that the effort to reveal counts as much as authentic contrition.

Besides, this happened a long time ago, was funny at the time, and the story has aged well, so it probably wasn’t as bad as it felt.

I remember the night clearly. We had enjoyed a few beers, but only enough to bolster our confidence in demonstrating athletic skills that might have at one time translated into something that we could possibly have done on an actual athletic field of one kind or another.

There stood beneath an awning, accumulating deeply the heavy snow that was falling that night, a group of men wearing cowboy hats and women in fur coats with big hairstyles. It was a nightclub and they were obviously posing, hoping to be recognized for the big shots they believed they were. It was Aspen, after all, and that is what people do there, or so they had been told.

From across the mall it all appeared as a solidly good prank begging to happen. The potential was so obvious that few words were needed: “Think you can hit it?” Before the question was out, I was leaning over to grab a handful of snow. From practice at the art, I had it packed to the size and weight of a regulation baseball in no time at all.

I realized it was a fine line between assault and a practical joke. If I threw too low, it could break somebody’s nose. But I was young and confident and quite stupid, too, so the risk seemed worth it.

I let the snowball fly and my aim proved true, thank goodness. The projectile landed on the snow-blanketed awning like a stick of dynamite on the face of Highland Bowl and set off an impressive avalanche in it’s own right. The aforementioned posers were buried only to their ankles, but not before all hats were knocked to the ground, coiffed hair tufts flattened in slush and the backs of shirts filled with snow through openings at the necklines.

You couldn’t hold in a laugh at the surprisingly potent result, and neither could we. I think this is what tipped the situation into an event that screamed retaliation. The men scrambled to their feet to answer the call, but their leather-soled cowboy boots were no match for Mother Nature, who appeared to be firmly on our side. She had laid down a snowy carpet beneath them that effectively transformed their fashionable footwear into skates. They could not get to us!

We howled all the harder, which made the victims madder, which made them even more impotent in their quest for justice. We turned from their cursing and walked away with aching stomachaches and tears flowing down our rosy cheeks.

We had all but forgotten about them hours later as we walked to our cars at the end of the night. Suddenly a dark Suburban screeched to a halt, blocking the road in front of us. A moment later another blocked the road behind. We realized this was the moment of reckoning.

The details of what ensued are not worth your time, but an inventory of the carnage costs only a little ink. There was no blood, loose teeth, or broken bones as all the participants were wearing down gloves. There was some swelling and bruising that dissipated quickly under the natural icing effects of the winter night’s air. I tried to pull one Texan from the fracas, but only came away with both sleeves off his coat. One of them complained that he’d thrown his shoulder out, which only meant he had swung hard but missed. There was one complaint of a pair of lost glasses that was never found, and so nobody was convinced they ever existed. All in all, it was mostly a wrestling match in the street that was called in the first round due to early stage hypoxia overcoming the folks from the lowlands.

Nobody was hurt and not really even angry after all the steam had time to condense, but the police made the effort to show up and probably felt they needed something to show for it. Sort of randomly they selected a couple fighters from both sides to haul down to the station. The rest of us had to walk. In the end no charges were filed and, after simmering down in front of the chief, we all agreed it had been a pretty fun night.

Roger Marolt does not claim to possess street smarts. Email at