New York state of mind

You could say it was a below-average day. In fact, the whole month was below average now that I think about it. It all began around the time I got the news that I may be dying. I know, technically, we’re all “dying,” but this is serious. That’s right, we’re talking popcorn lung. And no, it’s got nothing to do with a bad trip at a Jethro Tull concert. In case you don’t know, the buttery delicious coating found on microwave popcorn is not really butter at all but some sort of dangerous chemical cocktail that, surprise of surprises, leads to lung disease. Granted, it’s not something the casual office-fumes huffer needs to be concerned about, but for someone who lived on “Buttery Spray” and popcorn for a majority of her college and post-college career, it’s a little worrisome. Granted I kicked the habit a good 10 years ago, but apparently when repeatedly inhaled, the stuff hardens on the bronchial tubes like shellac.

Anyway, as if the death sentence wasn’t bad enough, it was followed by more troubling news. Not only are heating prices expected to rise this winter, but the main ingredient in one of my favorite adult beverages is reportedly in scarce supply, threatening to leave us all with refrigerators of mass-produced yellow swill on those cold winter nights. And speaking of winter, I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but it ain’t gonna happen. That’s right, La Niña’s back in town. Although no one’s entirely sure what this means, more than likely that high pressure we’ve been enjoying as of late is going to be hanging around like a down-and-out college buddy on couch-surfing safari.

Then there’s the whole World Series debacle, followed by the arrival of Hell House and news that not only is Sylvester Stallone still alive but apparently making geezer action movies. That’s right, very soon “Rambo 4” will make even the local movie houses unsafe to venture into. All this, and in a few short days, all the good candy will have been scavenged from my kids’ Halloween bags, leaving me in a deep, dark-chocolate, post-seratonin stupor.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I’m stupid? OK, most of you probably have been silently thinking this for years, afraid to hurt my feelings, but the cat’s out of the bag. You can thank the gentleman who stopped by the other day to tell us how much he enjoyed the Telegraph, “except for the stories, cartoons and editorials, which are stupid.” And rest assured, he made sure to repeat it more than once, because sometimes stupid people don’t always pick up on stuff right away.

OK, so it’s not like I consider myself a Mensa candidate, and I regularly get schooled in “Chutes and Ladders” by a 4-year-old. But somehow, I’ve managed to make it this far without a Darwin Award. That’s got to count for some IQ points. Below-average, I can handle. Intellectually challenged, maybe. Non-clever, creatively devoid, mentally bereft, even. But stoopit? That insinuates genuine effort.

Anyway, it is in these times of inward intelligence inventory, that I look to the demigods. You know, the Washington Posts, New Yorkers and Vanity Fairs – where all the smart writers go. As if by divine intervention, I just so happened to have a New York Times. Ahh, the bastion of journalistic excellence. Not only do these writers own Pulitzers, but they know how to spell them, too.

I eagerly flipped through, looking for some kind of inspiration, something to light a fire under that cold, atrophied gray matter. But no such luck. In fact, I had ready nary a column inch when some flashy eye candy caught my lazy eye instead.

“Slope Wear to Fall For” was the title of the spread, and even with winter temporarily on hold, I couldn’t help but peruse what I should be wearing this season, if and when it snows. OK, to be fair, taking tips on ski gear from a New York writer is about as laughable as a New Yorker taking fashion tips from a Durangoan. But, then again, I’d take broken-in Carhartts over that cruelest of recent fashion trends, “skinny jeans,” any day. Besides, I was in need of a good, mindless laugh. Like the $1,400 “Sun Valley” cashmere cardigan for those high-speed aerobic cruisers. Or how about a $250 mohair Prada hat for those long liftlines to mid-mountain? And what sloppy powder day wouldn’t be complete without a $775 down vest. And don’t forget to protect that precious noggin with a $650 gold-plated Bogner gladiator helmet, perfect for irreversibly burning the retinas of your skiing buddies on those epic bluebird days. And for the perfectionist, nothing completes the look like tromping around the plaza in $900 boots with a pair of $1,300 skis precariously askew over the shoulder.

Not only was I suddenly at ease with the prospect of La Niña, which at least threatened to put a damper on the parade of pretention, but I couldn’t help but feel a little exonerated in the stupidity department. I figured if nothing else, I was at least in good company.

-Missy Votel



In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down