Season's End by Adam Z. Cherry.
The long-promised and heavily anticipated monster, multi-day storm eventually bullied its way in, but, alas, only after the lifts had formally closed and the golf course started booking tee times. Save those dozen hearty souls who skinned up Thunder Bowl or Ajax, Ute City denizens all but missed out on the treasured pow. In fact, by the time the skies thickened, the senior staff of Aspen Spin had already decamped to the corporate enclave in SoCal to catch the latest double-overhead swell at Black’s Beach. Yet, as of today, sunshine prevails. And now that spring has conclusively staked claim by melting away the effluvia of winter’s last spasm, we bear witness, through a season’s harvest of thawing dog shit, to what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke describes as the “green shoots” - evidence of the sunnier days to come.
Lest you get carried away with the budding Aspen trees or newly verdant lawns around town, realize that Ben was fashioning an economic metaphor. And while he was roundly lambasted a year ago for his sanguine prognostications in the midst of the greatest financial meltdown since the Great Depression, his cockeyed reading of the tealeaves has, in the main, borne itself out. While General Motors was repaying the government’s bail out money five years ahead of schedule, Intel and Apple reported jagnormous quarterly profits. And these are not isolated results; in aggregate, S&P 500 earnings are up 50% from a year ago. Clearly, these gains derive from the fact that across the board, companies have lowered costs and are selling more products to customers. Or, in Goldman Sachs’s case, defrauding them (allegedly).
As you may have garnered from my last missive, the number of eateries here in Aspen, despite the brightening economic clime and the near-mythic resurrection of the Red Onion, has been dwindling. One can now add the Steak Pit and Double Dog to the list of post mortems. This has done nothing, by the way, to attenuate the 100,000 sq. ft. of vacant commercial space in our fair hamlet, but maybe it’s for the best. After all, America is fast becoming a nation of obese waddlers, hoovering pillow-sized bags of Funions and swilling mega-mugs of carbonated high fructose corn syrup. So perhaps we could benefit by serving up a little less food. Admittedly, it would be easy to miss this expanding corpulence here in A-Town where the 73-year-old librarian can complete the daily double (biking to Ashcroft and the Bells) in two hours and half your neighbors have conquered Everest. But, all around us, evidence abounds.
In a highly publicized episode, Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), who customarily buys two airline seats, was booted off a Southwest flight when he tried to squeeze his formidable girth into one as a standby. A Lincoln, Nebraska woman, after devouring the better part of a birthday cake, ate a fellow partygoer’s ear (the missing chunk was “never found” said a hospital spokesman) because he called her “fat” and, well, because, presumably, she was still hungry. Marin County (where smoking pot is practically encouraged) has banned McDonald’s and other fast food outlets from using cheap plastic toys to lure children into buying “high-calorie, salt-laden food” in an effort to derail the “obesity epidemic” engorging our nation’s youth. There is, not unexpectedly, a burgeoning line of products devoted to the zaftig like Great John Toilets, Goliath Caskets, Antioch Extended Toenail Clippers and the Lift Chair. Why there are even TV shows (Fat Actress, Biggest Loser, Dance Your Ass Off) devoted to XXXLers. The train may well have left the station but I’m not so sure it’ll make it over the Independence Pass. So let’s not lament the potential demise of Gisella or The Mustang; rather we should celebrate the warmer weather and our ability to consume more of our great outdoors.