Grasshopper Soup: Ride with a friend, not your mouse | SierraSun.com

Grasshopper Soup: Ride with a friend, not your mouse

Bob Sweigert
Special to the Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. – Twas the day before Christmas and all through the basin, not a skier was sleeping, not a snowboarder was snoring. The mountains were hung with powder everywhere, not a cloud in the sky, and visions of powder turns danced in our heads and on the slopes, and hopes of some of the best riding conditions came true under a blue Tahoe sky.

Christmas Eve was one of the best ski and snowboarding days we have ever known. Nowadays, the correct way to say it is “riding” days, which refers to both skiing and snowboarding, but I hate to think the word skiing is gone forever from the local lexicon.

Everyone had their ups and downs for Christmas. Life is dangerous here in the mountains. The 49ers sure had a downer. And some of us had the misfortune of receiving one or more of those stupid e-mails you get every so often.

You’ve seen them before, and probably read them. They cover a variety of styles and topics, mostly cute little warm fuzzy topics, but religion and God too, which can be warm and fuzzy. They are lengthy, complicated e-mails you get from friends that tell you to forward the message, not only to five or ten others, or everybody in your list of contacts, but also to the person who sent it, or you risk missing out on something really good.

Your friend who sent it needs to see it twice for documented proof that you are their friend, so it is pointless to object to those e-mails full of ultimatums and conditions for friendship because they are sent with the best of intentions, but they drive me absolutely nuts, especially the religious ones.

Friends don’t need to control their friend’s behavior to be friends, and they don’t need to impose conditions on their friend’s behavior. That’s why I can’t stand those e-mails. They always promise something good will happen to you the day after you forward the correct number of them and nothing really different ever happens, except all the normal, everyday, ordinary good things, which is really all a friend should need, so at least they are never wrong.

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The last “forward or else” e-mail I got was one of the religious ones. It actually said, “If you believe in God drop everything and pass it on. Tomorrow will be the best day ever. Send this to ten friends, including me. If I don’t get it back I guess I’m not your friend.” It also said, “When you get 5 replies, someone you love will quietly surprise you.”

That’s just what we need, e-mails that generate and proliferate, more ignorance and superstition in a world already full of it. If the future of my soul depends on whether or not I forward the message, I’m a lost soul with lots of friends.

If I ever get one of those e-mails again, with a list of instructions on what I have to do to be your friend, I will try to understand, if I don’t strangle myself with the chord of my mouse first.

There are a lot of people who need instructions on how to be a friend. But just promise me, my good friend, that you won’t think I’m a loser or a big fat jerk if I don’t follow your time consuming instructions. I have better things to do today than secretarial stuff.

I’d rather prove that I’m your friend by paying your taxes or cleaning your leather snow boots and waxing them with mink oil. Friends might as well get something useful out of each other. Buy your friend a ski lift ticket. Friends don’t let friends pay to ride.

We fought and died to get away from mind control back in the sixties. Those stupid e-mails make it look like some of we veteran flower children, or our children and grandchildren, have just replaced one form of ignorance and superstition with another.

If being your friend depends on forwarding stupid e-mails, and making you read the same one over again, you can like my mouse instead.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.