Justin's Life... January 19th - 31st, 1999

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January 19, 1999 - Tuesday


"Does Dr. Kevorkian Help Chronic Victims Of School?"

That's the thought that's been running through my head all today. Well, that and stuff like "Would I sacrifice a kitten's paw to never have to go to school again?" and "Would I sign off a year of my life at the end just to never have to return here?" The answers to those questions are, "Yes, if he was anesthetized" and "Yes." I would sign off more than a couple of my toes never to return here... and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that, to some degree, this place is killing me. My constant stress when here, or when preparing to come here, has to be bad for my health. I mean, I absolutely fucking hate it here.

Take this morning's Anthropology class for example; I went in and sat, looking for a face I knew, for anyone, anywhere, whom I could go sit by. Two hundred plus people entered the auditorium and I remained in my seat, unable to find that face. Instead I remained next to some sorority girl with a cold. It almost had a tragic poetic feel to it. Face after face after face and yet not a single welcoming one. Not a single person to whom I could say "Hello"; to whom I could feel comfortable introducing myself. How is it that I have this Jekyl and Hyde personality where I can bare myself completely to total strangers online, yet I can't find the energy or nerve to introduce myself in real life.

The thoughts of blowing up this entire place came even louder when, during the film on Australian explorers entering New Guinea, the majority of the crowd laughed. They were laughing as these old men told the horror of seeing their family and tribe members being shot and killed by the whitemen. The FUCKERS laughed at someone's sorrow... and not just the oh-aren't-we-macho guys in the back, but three-fourths of the class. How could they laugh at someone talking about someone they knew being killed?

And so, as my next class begins in 22 minutes, I'll sign off for now... but if you happen to read about a major explosion occurring in South Central Los Angeles, you may have a hunch what happened.

January 20, 1999 - Wednesday


Well, I'm in quite the better spirits today. Actually, I was in quite the better spirits after my second class yesterday, but between the two classes was the only time I had to write.

Anyway, here I am again... writing about my life. Glad to be back and hoping that you've stuck around... of course, if you're reading this...

I've got a couple format changes in store, but figured rather than keep you waiting on the aesthetics, I should start and integrate the changes as they occur. So, enough to do about that, and on with my life.

First off, I dropped that Anthropology class. I figured that if the loneliness didn't kill me, the apathy of the class members would. It still amazes me that so many people laughed when the tribesmen were talking about people being killed. I mean, it wasn't any Titanic boo-hoo sadness inspiring moment, for sure... but it wasn't anything humorous.

Anyway, that class is dropped and I'm moving on.

January 24, 1999 - Sunday


A lot's been going on lately and I've been meaning to write about it, but the simple fact of the matter is that I just haven't had time... Well, actually it's not that simple.

See, back in November I went to the hospital for what I thought was an appendicitis. I was poked, x-rayed, and ultrasounded, but Larry and I were to leave for London the next day so the doctor determined that I could go and that it'd probably just fix itself. In other words, it wasn't a bad case, if it even was an appendicitis.

In the time since then, the pain in my lower right side has been on and off, and for the most part, I didn't think about it... until this past week. This past week I've been thinking about it a lot. This past week I've been obsessing about it. This past week I've stayed up to around 2AM each night for fear that when I close my eyes, I won't wake up in the morning. See, a friend of Larry's was diagnosed with cancer about a month or so ago, and even discounting some of my worries because I know I'm psychosomatic, I've still got some sixth sense that something's really wrong with me.

So, that and other odds and ends have been taking most of my mental energy.

Of course, that said, I did spend the entire day Friday working on this:
Justin's Handwriting... The Font

It's one of those aesthetic improvements I was talking about earlier. I figured that seeing my words in my handwriting would be just one more way to get a little more personal. Having said that, I realize that this "feature" my not be great on all machines, especially those with limited resources running Netscape. So, if you want an alternative, here's what to do:

  • Use Internet Explorer (ACK!!!)
    Dynamic Fonts look much better in Netscape than in Internet Explorer, but the better look also takes more machine power. If you want to see the font and your computer is giving you problems viewing it in Netscape, try Internet Explorer if that's an option.

  • Disable Dynamic Fonts In Netscape
    • Goto the Edit menu and click Preferences...
    • Click the word Fonts under the Appearances menu in the upper left hand corner.
    • On the right hand side, you'll see "Sometimes a document will provide it's own fonts."
    • Below that, click "Use document-specified fonts, but disable Dynamic Fonts"
    Of course, now the font is a little on the large side, but I'll see what I can do about that.

Anyway, I thought you might like it. Let me know what you think.

January 25, 1999 - Monday


At around 10AM this morning, Larry and I headed back to the office of the doctor who'd examined me in October. Once again he pushed on various areas of my lower chest to ask if each place hurt and once again I told him that it did or did not. But when I thought the prodding was over, he asked if I could possibly have a hernia, and I answered that I had had pain there. He responded that he needed to give me a hernia check and a RECTAL exam! Dumbfounded, I dropped my shorts and coughed when told.

Once the coughing was over, with my pants still down around my knees, the doctor got out a rubber glove and some KY Jelly and told me to lean on the table. I did so and the next thing I knew his finger was in my butt. Of course, all I could think was "I can't believe Larry and the doctor are staring at my butt..." and "The doctor's putting his finger up my butt..." and "I am SO glad I just took a shower before coming here."

To tell the whole truth, I'd never had a "physical" before, so had I known that I was going to have to show the wares in the office, I would have been pretty darn nervous. Had I known that he was going to insert his finger you know where, I would have been so nervous that I would have thrown up. As it was, though, I just dropped 'em and he gave a feel and a poke.

When he was done, he had no conclusive answer to what was wrong (well, besides it not being a hernia), but he thought it was a chronic appendicitis and suggested that I have an operation to remove it, with the caveat that it could be something else entirely. Larry asked if he needed additional blood work and/or an ultrasound to be more certain, and he responded that I could have a CT Scan to see what it revealed before going ahead with the operation.

Long story short, Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I have to drink some dye for a CT Scan on Wednesday at 10AM.

January 26, 1999 - Tuesday


You know, a couple days ago, I got e-mail asking/suggesting that I take a more political stance every once in a while. More specifically, the letter suggested that I take about issues like Matthew Shepard. (For the very few of you who don't recognize that name, Matthew Shepard was the young man brutally murdered by two young men for being gay about two months ago.) That letter, and others before it, kinda critiqued me for having not said more about the whole Matthew Shepard event. The letter suggested, well, let me just quote it:

---- In Part ----
ok one last thought. you've mentioned you matured a lot. i'd agree. i can see it in your attitude/analysis of things... and yet i don't really know you. i don't really know how to say this. you know, from time to time, i can get on my soapbox and ramble on for-fucking-ever (like right now). here goes. i'd just like to see you comment once in a while about gay issues in general or events affecting gay people at large. you know... a bit more of the activist thing. gawd, i hope this doesn't piss you off... i value our cyberfriendship too much for that. i can't stand preachy people so i don't want to come off that way. it's just that, well, i think you're in such an influential position especially among younger gay adults that you might be able to influence some to become more actively involved in gay issues. i've deeply admired the way you've repeatedly encouraged those on the fence to come out. you and i know that 98% of them will be better off for it. but there are lots of issues that need our attention. i don't recall you having mentioned the matthew shepard murder [in the newsletter]. you may have and i missed it (of course there was almost an over abundance of publicity). like others, that incident upset me to no fucking end. i know there are lots of other outlets for glb's to get involved but among those in their 20s it just doesn't seem to be a high priority. anyway, just my thoughts.

The simple truth of the matter is that the Matthew Shepard murder didn't "upset me to no fucking end." I didn't lose sleep over it. I didn't cry. I didn't tell everyone that I knew. In fact, I would say that I was more impacted by the death of Princess Diana; at least I remember where I was when I heard that.

Now, before you start throwing stones, you should probably take a step back from the situation and realize just why Matthew Shepard's death had such an impact on you (you in the general, not you in the writer of the e-mail). Why is his death any more upsetting than the murder of a small child, than racially motivated murder, than the murder of someone based on his or her religious beliefs... or the murder of anyone for some arcane reason. Why is it that the gay community goes completely weeping crazy when someone gets murdered for being gay, but could give a big rat's ass when someone gets murdered for any other belief/lifestyle/reason? To me, to care about Matthew Shepard's murder, yet to ignore all the rest, is shallow, unfeeling, and illogical. Tell me why I should be more shocked, hurt, and devastated that he was murdered than say "Jon Benet Ramsey"? Why should I make Matthew Shepard my cause and forget about those innocent children? Because I'm not a parent? Why should I be so self-absorbed as to somehow engulf myself in his murder, yet give the others nothing more than a passing nod?

Matthew Shepard's murder was a tragedy... but so were all the rest. To care for his and ignore the others only further creates the derisiveness that caused it in the first place. Care and compassion are not sexual-orientation-selective.

I am disturbed that people are murdered. I am disturbed that my friend Jim (the red head)'s brother was murdered in Vermont. I am disturbed that not an hour ago, I saw some guy brutally murder someone with a baseball bat on HBO. I am fucking upset that my classmates laughed at people telling the horror of the whiteman murdering their friends and family. I am upset that animals are killed each and every day by the thousands to feed us. Hell, I even get upset when I see a tree get cut down for a movie! Like Small Soldiers, every time I see that movie, I think about the scene where Phil Hartman (now murdered) cuts off part of a tree... for no real reason. There are PLENTY of things that very much upset me, but to be honest, the murder of someone because he's gay doesn't take priority over the murder of most others.

Is that the big gay politically correct thing to say? Absolutely not... but that's the way I feel. And if you asked me, "OK Justin, here's your big decision: Matthew Shepard lives or no one ever gets shown being murdered in media again; which do you choose?" I'd choose the latter. I'd hope to never be in that situation, but I think violence in the media is a FAR more important thing to get upset about. Violence in the media almost definitely contributed to Matthew Shepard's murder and contributed, no doubt, to uncountable others. How is it that we can let our children and ourselves watch people being brutally, painfully murdered in films, yet we give a satirical sexual farce like Orgasmo an NC-17 rating? I find that WAY more worth my mental exhaustion.

And so, that's why I didn't mention Matthew Shepard's murder.

January 29, 1999 - Friday


Ever have one of those weeks where nothing terrible happened, but at the same time, it was really bad? That's been the past week for me.

Like, take today for example: It's only 1:44PM, but I've already been yelled at by a motorcyclist for reading my mail in stalled traffic, I've already had to be aggressive with an Internet company who, how should I say it, "has been more than lacking in their customer appreciation," and I've already picked up a dead rose from the place where I get my mail. It was delivered on Monday, but I didn't know about it... and that seems like the way things have gone all week.

My CT ("cat") scan returned absolutely nothing... so apparently nothing's wrong with me. Yet I have these intermittent pains, so something has to be.

And school is draining me.

And my rare but genuine lovey-dovey moods are met with smart-assedness.

And the list goes on and on.

Oh well, at least I'm supposed to go skiing with David and Jeff at Big Bear today. I've never been there before, but I rented a log cabin, so it should be koool.

Anyway, that's my life as of late.

On a more positive note, though, I did find time to respond to a particularly moving e-mail I got this past week. It read:

Subject: hello

I wanted to say thank you for your web page and letter. After reading it, I realized I have gone through many of your symptoms. I was hoping I could get some advice from you though on a few things:

1.) I think I may be gay, I don't want to be though, I'm 18. Guys' physiques turn me on, but the thought of actual sex with one doesn't exactly thrill me. But, the thought of sex with a women doesn't exactly gross me out. Infact, I have enjoyed seeing some "adult" oriented pictures of men and women together.

2.) I'm a senior in h.s. about to graduate in a very rural-hickish area that is strictly opposed to "this kind of thing" There have been past gays who've been came out, and the jokes and abuse they put up with was horrible. Beginning my freshman year, people thought I was gay, and walking to school EVERYDAY! I had to face this group of 7-8 boys throwing snowballs or rocks at my neck and face from point-blank. What was I to do. 1 : 8 doesn't exactly favor me. But anyway, you see, I rarely feel anything for guys, but there is this exception. He is the quarter-back, star b-ball player, and a track star. He has never taken part in bashing me, Infact, in any situation, he has been nice to me. But he has only been nice when he wanted something like an assignment. I REALLY like him. How would/or even should I go about approaching him? I've thought about an anonymous letter, and asking him to leave a sign on his car, or locker, or wear a green shirt to school on a certain day if he's interested. But he also has a girlfriend----so do I. I'm so confused.

Thanks for your time.

It was unsigned and sent from an anonymous e-mail account, but I knew it was genuine, so I wrote back:


1.) That's normal... the part about the physical features of a guy turning you on, but not exactly being too keen on the idea of sex with a guy. And it's that way for several reasons; most importantly, "because that's what you've been told since you were born".

Now, I may be a little overaware of what society does because I'm a communication major (and most of my classes revolve around how communication shapes us. *grin*) But think about it, from day one, you've been told that sex between two guys is bad... and from day one, you've also heard the women in your lives, on talk shows, in movies, etc. etc. talk about how guy's bodies look really good.

So, from day one, you've heard, and consequently made a part of yourself, the idea that sex between guys is bad and appreciation of a guy's body is ok, especially for women. In other words, you've been told that sex between guys is bad, probably to a worse degree than even things like murder, and all that talk consequently makes you think that way. It's subconscious, but that's the way it works (trust me, I'm in year four of studying this kinda stuff)... and on the other hand, you've heard people (almost exclusively women) talk about how guy's bodies are nice, and no one ever reprimanded them for it, and no one ever talked about how horrible it was that a guy thought another guy's body was nice. In some areas, like sports (i.e. wrestling, bodybuilding, football), appreciation for another guy's body is even the norm.

So, you think sex between two guys is majorly bad and an appreciation of a guy's physique is ok. I'm 23 and have been fully out since I left for college, at your age, and I still have those thoughts. They're not easy to get rid of. I mean, I know you can identify with me here; I'd much prefer to look at pictures of naked guys alone, or simply caressing, than to look at a picture of two guys having sex. Part of me KNOWS that that's because that the way I've been brought up, but that's the way it is nevertheless. I do, on the other hand, know that the feeling of a guy wrapped up around me or me wrapped up around him is pretty much near perfect. It just feels so right that you know no matter what anyone could possibly say, it IS right.

Answer me this question, when you last saw some "adult" oriented pictures of men and women together and enjoyed it, did you actively seek out the guy's member? It's ok, dude. It's perfectly fine. Trust me. I know, I'm living proof. I'm pretty much perfectly normal and I just happen to be gay. I like masculine things, I'm not limp wristed, and I don't wear dresses... and I've met more than a couple of gay guys who are active mechanics, even. Take David, for example, he's about as masculine as they come, is currently raising his truck bed, and he's gay. I mean, look, does he look like a gay guy? http://www.koool.com/life/details/david.jpg And while the most visible of the gay guys may be the feminine, there are LOTS of other masculine gay guys out there. They just don't catch your attention... because they're normal.

2.) I know exactly what you mean. There was this guy who was in the class (senior/junior) before mine. I was terrified that I would be associated with Joey... because everyone made fun of him and we all knew that was how gay guys were, effeminate and a sissy, like him. I knew that I wasn't like that, but I figured that we'd be like two black kids in an all white school. I'd immediately be associated with him, if not semi-forced to socialize with him. But I DID NOT want that. I'm sure Joey put up with a horrendous amount of crap. I'm sure every day he went home and hated himself a little more... but it would have hurt me so badly to be associated with him. I couldn't even risk it.

Ironically, my freshman year was also met with talk that I was gay. In particular, there were these two seniors in one of my classes who constantly ridiculed me. In much the same way that I didn't want to be associated with Joey, I didn't want to be associated with them. They were gay. They were weird. They didn't fit in... and the only thing specific I remember them saying to me was that I should band with them, because we were in the same boat. I can picture their faces and the setting in which I heard that as clearly as though it were last week. So, yeah, I had that he's a freshman and he's gay thing, too. And during the entire four years of high school there was talk about who was gay and who wasn't. Brandon was gay. Jarrod was gay. George was gay. Shane was gay. The list went on and on... and off.

So, while I didn't have to combat snowballs, I did get a dose of pain inducing ridicule from a few people... and the reason it hurt was because I thought I really was like them. I thought there were no normal gay people in the world. I thought they all were horrible people and I knew I had nothing in common with them, but I knew I would be associated with them. So, yeah, I know EXACTLY where you're coming from, and all I can tell you is that you'll be amazed looking back, even this fall, when you enter college. You'll be amazed at how different an atmosphere it is... and you'll be amazed to hear the stories of who got married and who came out, all within the time you graduated in May to the time you go home for Christmas vacation.

That said, I can almost guarantee you that the object of your affection is not gay. My all around great guy was named Aaron... he was the sweetest guy, about 6'3" and very attractive. I mean, there were a couple of other guys I lusted over, like David, but David was a bad boy, Christian Slater type, and he had a lot of girlfriends. Aaron had a girlfriend here and there, but there was a wholesomeness about him, that you just knew he would never be doing anything like having sex with a girl. And so, like you, I figured that maybe, just maybe, he might like guys, too, but because he grew up in Kentucky (like me), there was no way that he was going to let that fact be known.

I, too, thought of various ways that I could see if Aaron and David were interested. My straight friend Scott, to whom I was out and who is now married with two children, encouraged me to somehow let David know that I thought he was attractive... I never did, but writing it here now, it's amazing how vividly I remember those thoughts of five years ago. We were in senior English and David was in the class as well. He was SOOOO cute and had such a bad boy smile. You would melt. *grin*

But, neither David or Aaron turned out to be gay, and I don't think they ever were. But I completely understand where you're coming from. He's not like the other guys; he seems to care a little more; he seems to be so much nicer... but nice straight guys exist, too.

Now, on the subject of you having a girlfriend and the guy you like having one as well, I don't know what to tell you except to say that it's a danger to think that he might be dating a girl in the same way that you are. As much as I'd really like to tell you that there's a high probability that he's gay, I can't. Unless you have some super mega clue, like he's talked about appreciating guy's physiques with you, it's probably a lot of wishful thinking.

Now please, don't be downhearted. You're e-mail seems like it's from a REALLY intelligent guy, one who I'm almost certain is going off to college in some big far off city. When you get there, you'll be amazed at how free you are to be whomever you want. I became "Justin" from "Clay" (my middle name) and I pretty much told everyone that I met that I was gay within the first day or so of meeting them. I didn't introduce myself that way, but somehow we got around to the subject and I told the truth. I know it seems hard to imagine a place like that now, but trust me, it exists.

So, what I'd like from you now is you're name. It doesn't have to be your whole name, but your honest to goodness real first name. I've bared myself here for you, now you do me the courtesy of knowing at least the name of the person I'm talking to. And, I'll be honest, by telling me you're name, you're making that first step to accepting yourself. It's not "admitting that you gay" but it is admitting to me and to yourself that it's definitely a possibility.

Hope to hear from you soon,


He responded back with his name and to tell me that he didn't want to be gay.

First of all thank you for the response!

God damnit!!!! I do NOT WANT TO BE GAY!!! I WOULD DIE TO BE STRAIGHT, I LOOK FOR EVEN THE SLIGHTEST GLIMMER OF STRAIGHTNESS AND I HANG ON TO IT WITH EVERYTHING I'VE GOT, BUT IT DOESN'T WORK!!!! I DONT' WANT TO BE GAY! I CAN'T. MY MOM AND DAD WOULD RIDICULE ME---YOU SHOULD HEAR THE GAY JOKES THEY TELL, MY GRANDPARENS WOULD DISOWN ME---I'M SURE ABOUT THAT! although my sister would take it okay. ALL DAY TODAY I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOUR RESPONSE. My name is _ _ _ _. (You and I know that there's no way that anyone he would ever know would connect his name to him from reading it here, but I've gotta respect his mindset.)

It is a definite possibility. I wish there was a way of 'converting.' You're absolutely right about being filled with propaganda against homosexuals. All day today I would pass the "object of my affection," and look for some spark to exist; none was there. It was so cool,the other day in the computer lab, he asked for my help in english and I had to go right by him, it was so hard not to keep my hands from shaking; like they are now....from finally admitting to another human my feelings. I don't want that life. I want a white house with a picket fence, a wife, and kids. But how. With guys having sex, i really don't care about the moral issue, it's just the thought of having anal sex. I consider that almost disgusting, yet I have fanasized about him this way before. As for the adult oriented material, yes, you're right again, I have to see 'all' of the guy for it to turn me on. Why me? Why would God choose me to be gay? Why would he want me to suffer? I've heard talk of how homosexuality is a 'chemical imbalance,' or recently in [somewhere] (i'm from somewhere rural here though) they had a group claim in the state newspaper that they could convert gays. More than likely, they gay person suffered from a lack of a father and fatherly guidance. Maybe that's it. My dad is gone an awful lot, and my dad loves sports, I love RENT. He loves to hunt, I like chemistry. This is all just spuradic thought of finally being able to tall another human being about myself. Does it even make any sense? With college, you're right again, I wanted to apply to Washington U in D.C., or NYU; but my mom convinced me it was too far away. Now i'm either going to a somewhat big city; not quite a million, but a small college, or a medium in a large city....the Twin Cities.

I've been so worried and have been thinking constantly about my life and who i am. I can't sleep, it feels like I have an ulcer, and I'm constantly worrying and trying to figure a way out as to how to get over 'it.' Typing this is like a paradox, I can't trust my supposed good friends with this, but i can trust a stranger and it ends up feeling like 2 different realities merging, crashing head on. Questions are randomly coming to my head and i'm asking you, a total stranger!!! Also,i'm a very strict Roman Catholic and very active in our church, I've been bombarded with gay, okay, gaysex=hell. I also think to myself, maybe this danny thing is just a phase. I'll grow out of it. A few months ago...in aug. there was this guy i new pretty well, hot as hell....water skiier. I almost grew obsesses about him. But in the end, i ended up being friends and am longer attracted to him.

in 7 months i'll be in a bigger city. We'll see i guess. Also, maybe a fact is, I have No guy friends, they are all girls. I speak to some guys and am friends with them, but we don't hang out; i'm against drinking, sex, and drugs. Also, are guy-curriculum is strictly sports; and i'm what some would describe as going through a transition from preppy to alternative.

Thank you so much for your time!!!

I also apologize for the informal structure of this letter along with the ramblings, you are the first person I've ever talked to about it.

Thank you, I would tell you how much it means to me, but I have this feeling you know.

_ _ _ _

I've yet to write back, but I will.

January 31, 1999 - Sunday


This weekend was pretty darn koool; just three guys hanging out in a log cabin, acting like big kids. :-)

The trip began Friday night when David came to the house and I drove him to the car rental place. Due to the snow and mountains, we needed a 4x4 and chains for the tires, and through a phone call or two, David found an Explorer for rent at $70/day. So, anyway, we went to the rental place, picked it up, then I drove back to the house while David picked up Jeff.

Once we were all back at the house, we finished packing the Explorer, which reeked of suntan lotion, and began our trek eastward.

Two hours later, we arrived in Big Bear Lake, California and drove around trying to find the key holding place. Once we did find the small one room building, I went inside and found the smell of musty dog and an older lady watching Politically Incorrect. I signed the papers, got the key, and we headed on towards the cabin.

When we found it, it wasn't in the middle of nowhere like I'd anticipated, but it was much nicer inside than I'd expected. It was like we were the three bears invading Goldilocks perfectly arranged cabin. I mean, it had books, magazines, and everything else you'd find in someone's weekend house, like toilet paper and condiments in the refrigerator.

By this time, it was late, though (about 2AM), so the three of us piled in the bed and fell asleep.:-(

The next morning I woke freezing cold and shivering. Apparently, David had mistakenly turned the heat down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit before we went to bed. So I got out of the bed, turned up the heat, and asked Jeff, who'd left in the middle of the night for the twin bed, if he wanted to return. He did and the three of us fell back asleep for about three more hours.

When we woke for the second time at around 10:30AM, we slowly got out of bed, got dressed, and Jeff suggested that we go get something to eat. Thinking it in the back of my head but not really thinking about it until around 11AM, I told the guys, who'd never been skiing before, that the lifts closed at 4:30PM. Consequently realizing that we really didn't have time to go eat and rent skis and go skiing before the lifts shutdown, we made a few phone calls to see about night skiing. Luck would have it that Snow Summit was open until 9PM.

So, we went to the IHOP, had breakfast/lunch, headed back to cabin, went to Von's (Grocery) for various odds and ends (like Vodka), then headed back to the cabin once more. Completely decked out in our ski gear, we headed on to Snow Summit, parked the car, then went through the process of buying lift tickets and renting skis.

Knowing the ski rental procedure frontwards and backwards, I had a koool sense of knowledge as I told the guys what to do and kept laughing when Jeff wouldn't stop complaining about the ordeal of trying on boots, taking them off to measure them for the skis, picking up poles, getting lockers, etc. etc..

Anyway, we got the skis, visited the restroom (which was so outdated that it had trough urinals (which we used singularly)), then headed to the beginner lift. After waiting in line for what seemed like an eternity, we got on the lift and made it to the top of the run, about 200 yards away.

Amazingly, neither Jeff nor David fell when getting off the lift... but before they even got past the initial plateau, they witnessed a girl screaming in bloody terror as she flew down the bunny slope completely out of control; not the best sight for those trying something for the first time.

So anyway, I gave David and Jeff the initial ski instructions of making a wedge and shifting weight from foot to foot then down the hill we headed. Ten seconds into it, David was down, but he had a smile on his face, got back up, and continued on. Jeff, on the other hand, was skiing like an old pro... well, like a third day skiier in no time.

We skiied the bunny slope twice, each time with the guys improving and each time with me giving them further instructions on how to stop and turn, and to tell the truth, I was really enjoying being the instructor. For once, I was the best in a sport. Sure, it was their first day, but still, I had superior knowledge IN A SPORT! I could ski fast, plow snow, etc. etc. and it was really nice not to feel like the sports inept one.

Anyway, we moved on to a slightly steeper slope and from it, on to the "All-Mountain Lift" where we began our descent down the entire mountain. The guys did great, though they were complaining more than a little about being too hot. I, on the other hand, was complaining about my toes freezing and when we got to the bottom of the mountain, said that I had to revive them somehow.

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© 1999 Justin Clouse


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