Bending over

I WENT DOWNHILL SKIING SATURDAY, something I haven’t done in Minnesota since the chartered bus trip in 8th grade. Back then I was chastised for skiing in jeans (something about having to cut them off if you’re injured; as a lover of shredded clothing, I thought that sounded rad). Again I hit the slopes in denim (and waffle-longjohns and a hoody) looking more homeless than hip in the chairlift line. Sarah and Jo, newly outfitted, pretended not to know me.

While cautious in most pursuits, I throw myself into sports with an abandon that betrays a total lack of common sense (running cross-country in Chuck Taylors; playing tennis in 110° heat until I get heinous charly horses; etc.).

So it was again at Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area. Perhaps if I stretched, or took breaks, or had an inkling about correct form, the extra runs I took would be fine. But now I’m experiencing back pain that feels out of bounds for a person my age. Comfortable positions are scarce. Sneezing induces white-hot flashes of pain. Watching me grimace to a standing position is hilarious/appalling.

I wouldn’t blame Sarah and Jo for pretending not to know me for a few days.

On the bright side of being an invalid, I received a book in the mail with the following note:

Jan 07 2010

Jake:

Read this novel. Sorry for being so imperative, but I think you, among all my friends, would enjoy reading it as much, or even more, than me. After reading it, please consider passing this copy along to someone…

10 pages in, I’m startled by the accuracy of his prediction (Lethem had me at the dope-addled freelance critic who mines lost episodes of Columbo for cultural clues and retypes New Yorker articles to test their authority apart from the mag’s tyrannical layout). With this gift, I am hobbled but happy. Thanks, Marc.

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4 comments
  1. KP said:

    yes, me next please.

  2. Marc said:

    I’m glad. Before devouring “Chronic City”, my favorite Lethem novel was “The Fortress of Solitude” (Doubleday 2003). Cheap, used, paperback editions of which are available on Amazon.

  3. Jake said:

    ^ I find myself much more comfortable in Lethem’s NYC of the present than the 1970’s Brooklyn of much of “Fortress of Solitude.” That said, FoS is a fine book as well.

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