If you don’t know me and you look over at my photo to the left, you’re probably thinking, “Now there is one good looking guy who is probably awesome at sports.” Well you’re half right, but let’s just say that Lois didn’t marry me for my athletic abilities. Considering the sedentary lifestyle I lead and my special diet of trans fats and red meat, I should weigh 400 pounds and ride a Rascal Scooter to commute from the buffet to the soda fountain. But I don’t. The only plausible explanation I can think of is that I must have two metabolisms. It probably happened during a freak lightning storm sometime in the 80’s. You scientists should really look into that.
When the guys want to get together for some basketball, or football, or volcano boarding, I always have an excuse ready. “Sorry, I gave blood today and they took an extra half-pint.” Or, “I was up all last night writing my thesis.” Or, “I’m allergic to magma.” It’s easy to get out of doing things that will make me not be in a sitting position.
But when my buddies Slim and Chaos asked me if I wanted to go biking down the mountain at Sundance, I didn’t even hesitate to say, “Heck yeah!” This, I thought, was the sport for me. You get to ride up on the ski lift and then ride down the mountain on trails. There is beautiful fall weather and scenery, the lift does all the work getting you up, and gravity does all the work getting you down. What could be easier? I shall now pause here while those of you with at least a Payson education laugh at my naïveté (for those of you from Payson, that means I’m dumb).
Slim is in marketing and Chaos is a corporate attorney. These are guys who spend about as much time sitting at their desks as I do. Surely the HR guy (that’s me) should be able to keep up with them and show them a thing or two.
When we get to the top of the mountain Chaos asks Buff Dude, who is working the lift, which trail is the best. We take Buff Dude’s trail and I quickly learn several things: (1) gravity is quite a powerful force; (2) mountains often have cliffs; (3) I am the slow kid in the group; and (4) when you want to know which is the best trail, instead of asking Buff Dude with the No Fear t-shirt, you might be better off with advice from Skinny Girl with the Justin Bieber t-shirt.
Being the slow kid gave me the advantage of not having my spectacular wipe-out witnessed by my companions. I did, however, perform this feat just as the trail went below the ski lift, and was regaled with the applause of my loving audience. I quickly picked up my bike (originally christened “Silver Bullet,” but now affectionately known as “Mule”), took my bows and then proceeded to fight against Gravity once again as he made his vigorous attempt to catch me up to Slim and Chaos.
The three of us had paid for a full half day of “see if you can hurl yourself down a mountain while balancing on a two-wheeled transport without swearing aloud.” A quarter of the way down on the first ride, I felt as though I had already had more than my money’s worth, so I started to contrive reasons of why I should focus my efforts on conquering the gift shop since Slim and Chaos seemed to have the mountain conquering gig pretty well under control. Somehow I was unable to think of any acceptable excuses, so I found myself back on the lift making the slow, scenic trip to the top of the Mountain of Affliction and Agony. And then, inexplicably, again for the third time.
I have no problem admitting that I gleaned quite a lot of satisfaction when I learned that Slim and Chaos also crashed. Too bad I was too far behind to witness their tumbles, but the scrapes and bruises I could see on them were some comfort.
When I arrived back home, I decided that I would act heroic and not show any signs of having been pummeled. But then I realized that acting tough doesn’t really do anything for you when your audience (Lois, in this case) has no idea that you were pummeled in the first place. As far as she knew, a ride down the mountain was like riding around the park a few times, and why did I come home so sweaty?
In retrospect, I should have known I was out of my element when the Sundance clerk wanted us to sign a release of liability. Chaos had said that the release couldn’t stop us from suing if we were injured. This should have been another red flag for me, but I figured it was just another one of those things lawyers are always saying so that we don’t accidentally forget that they’re lawyers. Plus, I had been a little preoccupied trying to figure out why there was a “karma jar” near the register.
So the next time you find yourself doing something that requires you to sign a release of liability, I highly recommend that you don’t forget to put a little something in the karma jar. And take about 2000mg of ibuprofen.