Grasshopper Soup: There’s a bug going around
March 20, 2012
TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; I missed SnowFest! because I was as sick as a Super Halfpipe competition. I was the halfpipe and every skier and snowboarder in the world dropped in at the same time. They were hucking every trick in the book and I couldnand#8217;t get rid of them. I made the top podium for the longest case of the Tahoe Crud ever by a man who doesnand#8217;t wear his pants and belt below his hips.
There are two kinds of Tahoe Crud. The first is a snow condition that makes for some awesome skiing and snowboarding, if you know what youand#8217;re doing. The second, the kind I had, is a flu-like condition with a deep cough and congestion, complemented with a slight fever that makes for some well-deserved down time at home in bed. It can last for weeks. Everybody says itand#8217;s been and#8220;going around.and#8221; Yeah, like a strange looking hors dand#8217;oeuvre passed around on a silver tray at a formal party. Youand#8217;ve never seen anything like it but you help yourself to one anyway. Hey, itand#8217;s free, why not?
I watched too much news while I was sick, and what I saw inspired me. I decided I want to address Congress and convince American taxpayers, and the U.S. government, that they should subsidize the personal needs and health care of retired ski instructors, male and female, for life. Weand#8217;ve paid our dues. Weand#8217;ve taught millions of people how to ski and enjoy their vacations so they can return to the workplace with a big smile on their face, stress-free and more productive. Iand#8217;m sure the current administration will grant my request, so I hope they remain in power.
The Tahoe Crud and world news can be a nasty combination. National news is bad enough. My only consolation during my illness was knowing that new snow had fallen and someone was carving nice round turns down the steep skierand#8217;s left side of The Funnel at Squaw, close to the rocks, in knee deep powder on an epic bluebird day.
As I gradually made my way back to the land of the living I remembered why I moved here in the first place and#8212; to get away from all the crud! By the time I was 30, I figured out that, at least for me, the typical paths we were expected to take in life were not all they were cracked up to be. I left those roads for others to follow. A small minority of them lucked out and managed to keep their sanity, but most of them have long since realized I was right, but they donand#8217;t like to admit it.
Today, while the rest of the world is spinning out of control, and bigotry and greed is taking on new and more acceptable forms, and our government is breaking its own laws (what else is new), we get to hang out in the bright sun shine and snow with people who love and appreciate one another, and who believe the good life will last long after the spinning, and the coughing, stops.
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We are lucky to be here. Living the good life can be a struggle, just like anywhere else, but pulling it off in winter takes a rare and special kind of people. Even if the rest of the world could live here, they would rather not. If they could, too many of them would move here, and we like having it all to ourselves. Not that we donand#8217;t like to share, but itand#8217;s only natural to feel protective of, and maybe even a little obsessed with, our rugged Tahoe life. We wouldnand#8217;t trade it for all the crud in the world.
Afghans feel the same way about their neck of the woods. They have to put up with enough of their own crud. The last thing they need is more of the American strain.
Maybe my crud really came from Shanghai, carried here by a cargo ship captain from Oakland on a ski vacation who has only eight fingers, and ties to a Mexican drug cartel.
Spring has come to our snow garden. May the only crud you grow be the skiable kind.
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.