My sister Kathy and her husband generously allow us to use her home in the Poconos for a ski weekend, regardless of the fact that she could be named in a lawsuit because of something I did on the ski slopes. Luckily her husband is a lawyer. A ski trip is a great way to stand up against the fierce New England winter weather and shout from the top of the mountain, “Give me your best shot, because right now there is NO PLACE in the world I would rather be than right here, with the possible exception of indoors.”
I just read that some guy is suing Gwyneth Paltrow for running into him while skiing and then leaving the scene. I guarantee you that if Gwyneth Paltrow ever hit me with her skis or any other part of herself I would come right back here and brag about it. “Hey, you’ll never guess who I ran into?” My version of the story might involve some embellishment regarding how charming she found me, and that she laughed with me about something other than my skiing. So Gwyneth, if you’re out there and you run me over with your skis, you should probably come back and finish me off with your ski pole, fair warning.
As a skier I consider myself an expert novice. I’ve been fine-tuning my lack of skills for years now, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. And by that I mean that if you see me on the slopes you should give me plenty of room, in case I haven’t improved. Simply getting off the ski lift can be enough for me to cause an accident. My wife tells me to keep to my own side and stay the hell away from her when we’re getting off the chair. She’s referring to a situation last year where there was literally an intermediate slope at the end of the chair lift, and even though I kept my tips up when dismounting and checked for loose clothing, I forgot to not stick my poles out to the side underneath her skis. I tried to blame the incident on Gwyneth Paltrow of course.
Skiing is the one sport where people often feel the urge to dress up in costumes or dumb-looking hats, I’m not sure why. I saw someone on the lift line dressed in a bunny outfit like it was Halloween, and my mouth started to water automatically like Pavlov’s dog, thinking that somehow I was going to get candy. The more I thought about it, the bunny outfit started to seem like a good idea, because I have a friend who is a ski instructor, and I don’t want him to ever recognize me trying to walk back up the ski slope sideways with my skis on because I didn’t know it was a mogul trail. Why don’t they mark those mogul trails with a big skull-and-crossbones? Somehow I always end up on one of those damned things with one of my skis going in a direction that my other ski already tried and had no success at. They have warnings labels on chainsaws telling you not to use them inside, but I guarantee you that a mogul trail will hurt you probably worse and definitely faster than trying to use a chainsaw indoors.
But we made it down the slopes and back up again, and at night we went over to Shenanigan’s at Lake Harmony for Karaoke Night. The host begins by singing a song himself, to get the ball rolling and because he’s the only one in the room who can actually sing. He starts walking through the crowd with that wireless microphone singing “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl),” and when I turn around he’s right in front of my face, singing, “You’re a FINE GIRL!”
And scaring the crap out of me. I turn to face the other way but there he is again! “What a GOOD WIFE you would be!” I’m afraid to turn around again so I just shut my eyes and wait until the song is over. I’m still a little traumatized by the incident but also gratified that I would make a good wife.
I’m going to write a whole separate column on karaoke, because there’s a lot going on there, but suffice it to say that every time we go to Karaoke Night I threaten my wife by saying I’m going to get up there and do “Summer Wind,” with my World Famous Frank Sinatra Imitation. And she says Please, please do not do that, and I try to extort a few bribes from her, and we bicker back and forth, and while all this is going on, some idiot gets up to the mike, and what does he do? “Summer Wind.” And not only does he make a mockery of the song by doing it perhaps better than I would have, but now I have no leg to stand on with the bribes.
So I have to quickly pivot to Plan B, and I’m about to suggest that I storm the stage to perform “Strangers in the Night” in a Sinatra-off, but just then 10 teenage girls wearing “State Champions” jackets grab all the microphones and yell the song “Don’t Stop Believin’,” using only one of the notes, at approximately one million decibels. They only know one of the notes but they know all the words, so they don’t have to bother reading them off the screen and they can concentrate on just the yelling, and of course their dance moves, which they stole from the cheerleading squad. Midway through the performance I had to turn my chair so I wouldn’t be deaf in just one ear. Later when I could hear again I asked them what they were state champions of and they said field hockey, and I said thank god it wasn’t karaoke.
So, if you see a deaf looking guy singing Sinatra songs in a bunny costume walking sideways up a mogul trail, steer clear because it might be me.
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