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Thin socks, fragrant pits

Barry Smith

I know that the corporate sponsor critique is just such an easy target, but I can’t help but wonder why Right Guard is considered an X-treme personal hygiene accessory? Each time I passed the Right Guard booth, therewas a group of 9-year-olds standing there while the guy with the microphone yelled “woo hoo” at them? Do 9-year-olds need deodorant?And since when is smelling like deodorant “extreme?” Isn’t BO a lot more extreme? Doesn’t body odor say, “I’ve just done something incredibly death-defying” a lot more than fragrant armpits do?As I see it, my job is to walk around, notebook in hand, and copy down wry observations and overheard quotes that seem somehow amusing. So far the most overheard quote is definitely, “Dude, could you not stand right in front of me.”Though I guess if it’s directed towards you it isn’t technically “overheard.”All of my clothing that might identify me as “extreme” is at the dry cleaners. So I thought I would wear really thin socks, just to show that rugged winter conditions don’t affect me. As I stood at the base of Buttermilk, the feeling slowly draining from my feet, I was feeling pretty punk rock.Then I saw the guy in shorts and tennis shoes.Mister Extremer Than Thou. I’m not sure that I have what it takes to wear the foam rubber Taco Bell taco or burrito hat. And I’m scared to find out. And the fact that I’m scared to find out is what makes me think that I don’t have what it takes.Actual Overheard Quote: “Ahhh, years of experience,” uttered by a 5-year-old boy upon watching a practice run in the half pipe.I’d like to thank the United Stated Navy for not only defending this great land of ours, but also for making people do public chin-ups at their sponsorship booth.Maybe it’s just me, but nothing screams “adventure” quite like a chin-up bar.Actual Overheard Quote: “I think the one in the camouflage is Shaun White, because lot of people were trying to talk to him when he walked by.”I didn’t have the heart to break it to the people lined up and staring intently into the half pipe, but I guess I can mention it now: that thing with the big whirring blades is for grooming, and is not part of the competition, though I’m sure the operator appreciated your applause.Not to take anything away from the feats of consistent athletic excellence, but the most extreme thing I’ve seen so far happened on the icy slope that runs the length of the half pipe. A woman holding a tiny child was walking downhill and hit a patch of ice. Rather than falling down, she rode it out. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to stop herself, as the spectator area was basically an ice rink. For the next few feet she picked up speed, unable to find a patch of traction. Despite heading for a certain tumble – not a good thing to do while holding a baby – the woman never stopped smiling. She scooted past me (I could have helped her, but was busy writing these notes) and a few feet later was caught by a group of considerate bystanders. Yes, in the midst of what must have been a terrifying moment, this woman was aglow with a passion for life. This is the edge. Anything can happen. And she was going to enjoy it.And what could be more extreme than that?Well, just one thing – the baby could have been wearing Right Guard.Barry Smith’s column, “Irreletivity,” is published every Monday in The Aspen Times.


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