He Didn’t Fall?! Inconceivable!

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Third in a series of “reasons it’s really hard to be a parent.”

I’m realizing now that I have quite a few stories where I make an ass out of myself in front of unsuspecting parents trying to raise their kids right. I’m also realizing I have a lot of stories about really dumb games my friends and I made up. This one has both!

I went to college in New York and for a couple years some friends and I would go up to Vermont right before the spring semester started and do some falling skiing. I’m a mediocre skier. I’ll go down any crazy hill, but I’ll do so in a fashion that makes everyone around me a bit nervous. Still, I manage to stay on my feet more or less. (Now that I’ve taken up snowboarding, little of what I just said still applies… except for the making people nervous part.)

After a full day of skiing (pronounced shee-ing) we grew tired of simply “going down the hill” and decided to play a little game. Seeing how there were four of us, we split into two teams of two and had a race: first to the bottom wins… anything goes.

Now, I’m not an overly physical fella, but I am resilient. I grew up with two brothers and spent countless hours in human piles, often at the bottom. I guess I thought I’d be pretty good at this game. But then, I also thought the abbreviation for pounds was pronounced “labs.” So when I saw my roommate, Dan, stopped, poised at the top of a descent, I picked up some speed and took aim. Things that didn’t occur to me:

  1. Dan’s a hockey player
  2. Dan’s quite a bit bigger than I am
  3. Dan knows I’m about to plow into him.

Nonetheless, I took a deep breath, crouched down, and delivered a mighty blow. It took me a while to assess the situation through the flurry of powder, but when the dust had cleared I was lying on my back… and Dan? Dan was right where I left him, standing over me laughing. All I could do was shout, “YOU DIDN’T FALL DOWN?!”

At this point, I realized that the inevitable father and son were also standing at the top of this particular hill. From their perspective, some out-of-control hack who has no business being on the mountain (NO BUSINESS!) rammed into some stranger and then got upset when said stranger didn’t fall down.

But it’s worse. As Dan laughed and turned to continue down the mountain, I reached over in frustration and pounded on his binding release with my fist. At least that worked!

Dan made it a couple feet on one ski before tumbling for a good 50 feet or so. I laughed and laughed. I think I even pointed and laughed. As I rolled over onto my back to hoist myself up, I made eye contact with the most disapproving father in the history of disapproving fathers. The look he gave me was the dirtiest look I ever received in my life. Dirtier, even, than the lady with the bike helmet.


“With the exception of the trousers….” Uh-hum. Ok, so no-holds-barred skiing is alright I guess…but does it really compare to the all-American sport of football-with-socks-tied-together??? Now that takes resilience.

~ Aric Jacover      

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