Thursday, February 16, 2006

Winter Sports, the Suicidal Way

I am considering flying up to visit my sister and participate in some winter sports, which just proves how prolifically stupid I am. My sister, Lori, lives in a small town called Cashiers, located in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is a beautiful area that, during February and March, can get quite a bit of snow. This allows her and her family to partake in certain winter activities that we never could as children growing up in Florida. Now I see that this was probably a good thing.

The story: Recently they had a good amount of snow fall, so her family and a few of their good friends decided to drive to a small hill and take advantage of it. Now, at this time you are probably wondering, “I wonder what exciting equipment Lori used to go down the hill? Skis? A snowboard? A sled?” The answer, as I understand it, was that she used mostly her face.

Apparently just before Lori’s incident, a family friend named Rick had successfully negotiated the hill with three children using two sleds. The way he did this was by having my niece, nephew, and his grandson (all ages 10 and younger) on the front sled while he, in a face-first, stomach-down position, held on and “steered” from behind on the rear sled. Now, if you are about to get all upset and gripe about how dangerous this was and ask me what kind of backwoods redneck would do this, STOP RIGHT NOW. Listen, Mr. or Ms. Smarty-Pants: as EVERYONE knows, when sledding down a hill there is always the possible danger of hitting a tree. That’s why leading winter activity experts all agree: you should always have at least three expendable children in front you to cushion the blow.

Anyway, after Rick somehow safely got to the bottom of the hill, Lori’s kids started begging to do it again. My sister, understandably fearing for her precious loved ones' safety, immediately declared, “Sounds GREAT! Let me steer!” So she, apparently utilizing the common sense of road salt, climbed onto a sled in the exact same position Rick was in, this time with four children on a different sled in front that she was responsible for navigating. There were only two problems with this plan:

1. If I am asked to describe Lori’s athletic prowess in two words, those words would be “website designer”. (Experts agree that website designers should not participate in any athletic endeavor that requires a separation of their office chair and their hindquarters.)
2. The new "child" was in fact a 24 year-old woman who was (this was apparently unforeseen by the group) taller than the other kids. This prevented Lori from being able to see anything past the first sled. (Experts agree that this is usually a requirement for “steering”)

They decided to follow the same path Rick did, which presented another problem: Rick’s run had packed down what was once fresh-fallen snow, making the track harder and a LOT faster. This became apparent as soon as they pushed off. The sleds accelerated to dangerous levels of speed very quickly. The three young children immediately began screaming for my sister to slow the sleds down. The 24 year-old, who was a family friend named Stacey, began wondering exactly how she came to be a friend of this particular family. Lori, on the second sled alertly scanning for any dangers looming on Stacey’s back, began wondering whether her health and life insurance premiums were up to date.

Lori’s husband Doug, who up to this point had apparently been back near their vehicle preparing for the strenuous day of winter activities by drinking beer, climbed to the top of the hill just in time to see the sled of screaming Mensa candidates (I know this is a Dave Barry catchphrase, but “Screaming Mensa Candidates” really would be a great name for a rock band) rocketing uncontrollably down the hill at near mach I. “Who are the idiots doing that?” he asked himself. “And by the way, where is my wife?”

Back on the sleds, a weird level of calm was maintained, as long as you define “calm” as the mad screaming only heard when death is certain. Suddenly, they came to a three-foot drop that, luckily, they handled with the smooth precision of a train wreck. Details are sketchy about what happened next (unconsciousness tends to have that effect), but apparently everyone was thrown from their sled in a big ball of appendages and open screaming mouths. My sister’s sled actually disappeared from underneath her, causing her to land face-first in the snow.

Lori really did lose consciousness briefly, and the other passengers sustained very minor injuries. However, I am happy to report the most important thing: I was not there. I have poked a lot of fun at my sister and her friends in this essay, but believe me, if I were taking part with them (“Go ahead, Joe! It’s perfectly safe! Your job doesn’t require you to be able-bodied, does it?”), funeral arrangements would be in place by now. As it was, everyone is now safe and sound.

So, I plan to visit Lori and her family very soon. Like maybe this summer.


For my sister’s account of this, please go to her blog.

14 comments:

  1. Domenic J. Valentine2/16/2006 01:41:00 PM

    Screaming Mensa Candidates? Hmmmm. That might be a good name for a new band I'm thinking of forming. I thought all the good band names had been taken already. Have you already trademarked that name?

    Now, how do I apply for trademark protection? There's gotta be a form or something. Maybe my admin will know where it is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for that glowing translation of what happened to me that day. I still have a headache (not an unusual result of a concussion) but since laughter is the best medicine, my headache is almost gone. Thanks for the belly laugh at my expense (no really...I was laughing so loud, Doug had to leave the room).

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  3. Wow, that was intense, especially since I know the main character! Glad to hear all are alive and well. This just reaffirms why I'm content to reside in sunny Florida where the only risk of snow is in the form of a snow cone or a delicious frozen tropical drink! For all those in the North, enjoy the next 6 weeks of winter ;-)

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  4. Wow Junior - that was a good combination of journalism and humor. The heart-wrenching tale of Lori on the slopes in the wiles of Western North Carolina will rank right up there with the stories of you attempting to find the Golden Wicker Horse of Fort Myers.

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  5. Hey Tracey! Wazzzup?! BTW Joe, could you update please and get this 'fiction-based-on-fact' off the front of your site. Thanks,luv-ya-mean-it.

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  6. Actually, I'm thinking of making this the headline story for the blog permanently. Or, maybe I'll update, but have a big, boldface link above the top story that says, "FOR THE AMAZING 100% TRUE STORY ABOUT JOE'S MORON SISTER'S SLEDDING ACCIDENT, CLICK HERE."

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  7. Joe, I am so glad this story was on your home page (keep it there)and that NBC-2 decided to do a story on this riviting life or death event. If the story had not of made it to TV; I might not have ever found my long lost friend Lori Simmons!!!

    Please, NO more sledding until I hear back from you!!! I mean it Lori! It's time to hang up the sled for good!

    In order to make this more interesting and to find out if your memory was affected by this sledding calamity, I will give you only hint to my identity. . .

    I have known you since high school, and I am pretty sure I have seen your brother in his underware!

    That's 2 hints but I just got a visual on the 2nd part and felt like I need to share that with the rest of the readers on Joe's site!
    Later Girl Friend!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmmmm. Laura Pierce would be my first guess...then Traci Wilcox maybe? And WHEN, may I ask, did you see Joe in is underwear(Ehww! I tried to avoid that at all costs for 18 years)! Joe gleefully reminded me of the "Balls" nicknames in high school (Thanks, Traci); making me cringe kinda like when I watched the movie 'Superstar' (the part where Molly Shannon french-kissed a tree). If it's Traci; hey, I checked out your MySpace page (loved the clip where the woman smashes her face on a treadmill). R U staying in SW FL? Anyway, keep bugging Joe; he needs it. Relieve me of the suspense...

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  9. HI LORI!!! Laura Hess; f/k/a Laura Pierce! You guessed it right first thing - it must of been the hint about Joe’s undies!!! You are so lucky to have blocked out any recollection of this and that your recent concussion has not caused any of those memories to come flooding back!
    I unfortunately have not been spared this pain and suffering. It was a Friday night in the late 80’s, back when we where young and impressionable. I had come over to spend the night at your house; that is when it happened – Joe in his undies!!! It’s been many years of therapy to suppress this, but from what I recall it was either on the first 100 trips from his bedroom to the bathroom (and back)to check his “hair" before he went out OR from the last 500 trips from his bedroom to the bathroom (and back) once he came home from a late night out with the guys at the Yucapen! (^..^)

    How the heck are you? I have enjoyed reading both your blogs. I am living in SW FL (Fort Myers) been here since 1985!!! What can I say I moved here and hated it. Then the longer I stayed, the more it grew on me - now I wouldn't live anywhere else!

    It's funny you mention the the "balls' nickname, I don't recall mine - maybe I was to cool to have one! I know yours...

    blog ya later!

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  10. LAURA!!!! Wazzup girl! Despite many years of therapy, your memory is working quite well. You've even got the # of trips to the bathroom to check his hair correct. Congratulations on getting married. I viewed your profile so I'll snag your email address from there. Later.

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  11. i laughed so hard reading this i peed myself a little. god damn you are funny.

    LKS

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  12. Winter sports!! I like skiing.. I brought Ski set from Dick's Sporting Goods store through CouponAlbum site....

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  13. HI LORI!!! Laura Hess; f/k/a Laura Pierce! You guessed it right first thing - it must of been the hint about Joe’s undies!!! You are so lucky to have blocked out any recollection of this and that your recent concussion has not caused any of those memories to come flooding back!
    I unfortunately have not been spared this pain and suffering. It was a Friday night in the late 80’s, back when we where young and impressionable. I had come over to spend the night at your house; that is when it happened – Joe in his undies!!! It’s been many years of therapy to suppress this, but from what I recall it was either on the first 100 trips from his bedroom to the bathroom (and back)to check his “hair" before he went out OR from the last 500 trips from his bedroom to the bathroom (and back) once he came home from a late night out with the guys at the Yucapen! (^..^)

    How the heck are you? I have enjoyed reading both your blogs. I am living in SW FL (Fort Myers) been here since 1985!!! What can I say I moved here and hated it. Then the longer I stayed, the more it grew on me - now I wouldn't live anywhere else!

    It's funny you mention the the "balls' nickname, I don't recall mine - maybe I was to cool to have one! I know yours...

    blog ya later!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Domenic J. Valentine4/19/2011 02:00:00 AM

    Screaming Mensa Candidates? Hmmmm. That might be a good name for a new band I'm thinking of forming. I thought all the good band names had been taken already. Have you already trademarked that name?

    Now, how do I apply for trademark protection? There's gotta be a form or something. Maybe my admin will know where it is.

    ReplyDelete

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