Monday, March 27, 2006

Hey, who's on trial?

On Saturday, some people, who are about my age, mistook me for a college student as we rode up the chairlift.

Oddly, this is the fifth time this has happened this year. All on chairlifts at Big Sky. I say "oddly," because I do not look younger than my years, unlike, say, my wife, who stopped aging sometime in 1994. In fact, I look exactly my age.

I am not sure if it is because I am:

(1) On a snowboard, which is assumed to be an inherently youthful activity;
(2) Snowboarding on a Tuesday, or Thursday, or whatever powder day, another inherently youthful, not-tied-down-to-a-schedule thing to do; or
(3) If simply being on the mountain, engaged in my absolute favorite activity fuels some type of youthful zeal that makes me seem younger.

Or maybe these people are all high.

I don't know, but it is weird, and it only happens on chairlifts.


Still feeling melancholy. Partly from Jimmy's departure, partly from the fact that ski season is nearly over, partly from who the hell knows...


"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver for five minutes longer." Ralph Waldo Emerson

When your friends they do come crying
Tell them how your pleasure's set up
On slow-release

Franz Kafka reportedly wished to live at the bottom of a pit and have food, paper and pens lowered down to him, and his excrement and completed manuscripts lifted back up.


Just sent Jimmy flying off into the wild, blue yonder. He is winging away back toward Superior as I type.

We had to get him to the airport extra-early. See, about four years ago, Jimmy was playing second base in a softball tournament. He fielded the ball, stepped on the bag and was in the process of throwing to first to turn the double-play when the base-runner jumped and stomped on Jimmy's leg, completely breaking both bones. Very severe fracture.

Yeah, horrific.

It took Jimmy quite some time, and some extensive surgery, to recover from this injury.

Part of the surgical repairs involved the insertion of a metal rod into Jimmy's tibia.

Now, he sets off metal detectors like crazy and is usally detained for 15-30 minutes while Homeland Security determines the likelihood of Jimmy using his bionic parts to take down the plane.

I guess, much of the time, they make him sit and wait, and observe him to see if he fidgets or gets overly nervous. In my experience, however, the only way you can make Jimmy overly nervous or fidgety is to get between him and a burrito.

It was sad to see him go, and it meant a lot that he flew all the way out here to visit. I don't know how to accurately describe it. It seems cliche to say we are like brothers, but in a way, we are. He's shown himself to be a true friend; one who has been there for me during ups and downs, good times and bad; one who will not hesitate to give me an unvarnished, honest kick in the ass when it's called for. (And it has been. More than once.)

Anyway, everyone should be so lucky to have friend like Jimmy.

Jimmy just fits. Like a favorite pair of shoes. He knows our little family unit as well as anybody. In fact, he helped me decide to get Barney several years ago, as a sort of surprise for India while she was away in Mexico.

That weekend, in fact, Jimmy made me laugh as hard as I had ever laughed.

We were having a few beers on Saturday afternoon. I think we were playing Grand Theft Auto on playstation.

I was playing and Jimmy was downstairs. Suddenly I heard the thunder of Jimmy, running upstairs, excitedly yelling, "JOEY! JOEY! JOEY! I JUST SHIT MY PANTS! I JUST SHIT MY PANTS!"

"What?!?" I asked, already starting to laugh.

"I gambled and lost, man. Gambled and lost."

Having never heard that term, I repeated my question, "What?"

"Well, you know when you're not sure if you have to shit or fart... well, I gambled on 'fart' and lost."

By this point, I am laughing hysterically, in all my forehead-vein-bulging, red-faced glory.

"No, really, dude. Not kidding. I shit my pants. Can I use your washing machine?"

Thanks to Jimmy, for permission to tell that story. And safe travels, bud. See you soon.


Have you noticed that Wilford Brimley is the "it" spokesman for all things elderly?

Oatmeal for regularity, supplemental medicare insurance, home delivery diabetes gear... you name it, Wilford shills it.

All of this makes me picture a bunch of marketing folks in a room, with a focus group of senior citizens, looking at a life-size cutout of Wilford Brimley, listening to his homespun, no-nonsense wisdom, nodding and scribbling furiously while the seniors say, "I want whatever he's got. In fact, gimme two."

But to me, Wilford, you'll always be "Doc," from John Carpenter's vastly underrated horror-thriller, The Thing.