In my latest piece, Skiers Don’t Kill Skiers, I made some picky remarks on snowboarders. I did that for several reasons. As I finished writing, I reread the paper and became terrified. The article ended with a worldwide handshake, full of confidence and faith in mankind. “This is not me!” I barely uttered a word. I did not write down such moronic morals back in the communist Hungary, where enthusiastic optimism had been officially expected and supported. Before my newborn piece drowned in the envisioned bright future I created, I had to find a better ending. Adding a sentence that mentions snowboarders as questionable human beings saved the article and my reputation: I am not a saint, either. Just one of the dirty, chauvinist, narrow sighted pigs. A WnASnPLOMS (white, non-Anglo-Saxon, non-Protestant, liberal, old, male skier) of his own clan. Have your pigeonhole with your label and stay in there!
Everybody belongs to somewhere and I am not an exception. Should you be proud of it, you are partial and biased. Should you not be, you are a traitor. Even worse, I am always hesitating in the middle, as uncle Kohn did when the Nazis occupied his small Belgian hometown. For those who have not heard the story, here it is. The Germans herded the bi-national population together in the marketplace and gave the command: “Flemish to the right, Walloon to the left!” Only the old Jew stayed in the middle and asked: “And how about us, true Belgians?”
The lingering thought that I have not been fair with the snowboarders could not leave me alone. How dare I judge something I have not tried? The scandal around the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” came to my mind. A Hungarian archbishop demanded the immediate ban of the film. However, the eminent churchman refused to tell whether he’d seen it. If he had and his soul had not been doomed, how could he restrict other people from the experience? If he had not, how could he form an opinion about it?
I decided to learn how the world looks from the other view, from the top of a snowboard. I can ski, I can surf, so, nothing can surprise me. One foggy morning I rented a board, which had the sign “Original Sin” and headed to the bunny slope. I faced sideways as I saw boarders live and pharaohs in ancient Egyptian drawings. (No wonder the latter ones’ empire disappeared.) The result was horrible. I am not sure if God exists but that day He surely made me get down on my knees more times than ever before. Skis are forgiving. A snowboard is not. Whenever I made a little mistake, the next second my face was smacked to the ground. “See what you’ve done?” The evil board cynically asked me from above. “I don’t, my eyes are full of snow!” I tried to answer it. Sometimes I fell right under the lift and skiers riding above me – my fellow pack members – smiled and clapped their skis to pour chunks of snow on me. It was humiliating.
Forgive me, snowboarders. I will never again say that snowboarding is not a sport, it is a matter of IQ. A single digit. I will never laugh at the remark of ski patrollers: “It’s not true that snowboarders are not useful people. We can fill up trenches with them.”
My perspectives have definitely changed. I almost like you, dudes. Yes, I do like you with your disgusting blue-pink-purple hair, filthy long coats, stupid ear rings in your noses and with your attitude. The problem is not with you. It is I who is losing his hair and there is not much left to dye. It is I who is afraid of the boss, of what he would say if I showed up in the office with rings hanging everywhere. I envy you, snowboarders, because you have something I do not and can not. It is your age.