Poetry Solves Climbing Turf Wars
At the BRC last night, I observed something uncommon for visits to Boulder climbing gyms: I didn’t find myself hating my fellow human. Granted, it was a snowy and cold Sunday night, so “nobody” was there. Jenna, who comes from North Dakota, surely home to the nicest people on earth, leaned over and whispered to me, people seem like, you know, everyday people here tonight, in all shapes and sizes and nobody’s being mean to each other – I looked around and replied, “What, like normal people?”
Lets be honest, Boulder doesn’t get accused of being overly grounded in reality. And not in that oldschool funk way, either, like the T-shirts that say “Keep Boulder Weird” – Boulder hasn’t been authentically weird in about 20 years. It’s home to the Beautiful People. For sure it’s a great place, I love it, and some of my favorite people in the world live there. Yes, that was a disclaimer, just so some axe-body-spray wearin’ douche doesn’t dub me a “hatta” (how do you spell the too-cool version of “hater” anyway?). If you find yourself making that snooty “ugght!” face while reading this and talking on your cell phone inside your SUV, clad with a “Live Simply So That Others May Simply Live” sticker, and going “That is soooo not Bouldaire!” then, well, um, yes, actually it is.
I know, looks like someone has a case of the Mondays.
(Side note: while searching for that clip, I found a real one of some Russian dude going off in his cubicle — the good part starts about 40 seconds in, this absolutely rules!)
Soon I’ll be back home in Estes, the cultural third-world of the Front Range, where the men are men and the sheep are scared, and, damn, I’m appreciative – we’ve all got it pretty freakin’ good. Certainly so if you’ve got enough disposable time to read my blog.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere, really, it just made me think about turf wars, and I’ve read of how the arts can help expand people’s awareness, give them purpose, and help counter cultural strife. Venezuelan composer Jose Antonio Abreu founded “El Sistema,” a miraculous youth orchestra system that’s transformed the lives of thousands of kids so impoverished that we could hardly imagine it from our comfortable lives. If you’ve never watched a TED talk, you’re missing out. Click here for Abreu’s.
It made me think about the 2004 East Coast – West Coast tension in the old climbingboulder.com turf wars (RIP cb.com, which dissolved into the far more civilized, far less entertaining, far more useful mountainproject.com). There was some genuine hatin’ goin’ on between Boulder and Estes climbers, or at least their internet personas, which are never real people. God bless the Internet, home to the great unwashed (obviously). I don’t recall how this one started — I wasn’t involved, for once — but there was some Internet arguing over something woefully unimportant, and somebody posted this, titled to a handful of Estes climbers, including me:
“Surely you, the bitter half of the Estes Park climbing community, have better stuff to do then continue your circle jerk here. Maybe not.”
Someone else added:
“it is what they live for….the little wankers.”
“Well shit, I hadn’t even joined in the slagging and I got lumped in with those deadbeats. I’ll join now, though — since I’m getting flogged just the same I might as well get my money’s worth. BTW, you seriously overestimate the demands on our time up here — at least those guys. I’m quite busy, myself.”
And so I wrote a poem. Looking back, I’d like to think it was the start of the kinder, gentler mp.com. Another case of the arts helping humanity.
OK, maybe not.
I just re-read it. It’s really really bad (keep that in mind while reading the “highlights” below). It went on and on and on – like for three pages – so I just excerpted the best parts below. I must say that the Prana-pants-safety-dance part has a nice ring to it.
Now then, off to the climbing gym…
2004 Poem excerpts:
Now riddle me this, what is it you do,
That there you sit,
Surfing the web and huffing glue,
How important you must be,
Watching cb.com incessantly.
Deadbeat losers, bums, vagrant-types,
Not making money like the archetype,
Business deal swingin’,
Call your broker,
Pay for a smoker,
You’re no fool but
people in Estes, they’re so uncool.
It’s so real and enlightened,
But that bum on Pearl,
He has me frightened.
Why don’t he just get a job?
Let’s ban homeless people,
They’re worthless knobs.
We’re all one, it’s equality,
Just keep those vagrants away from me.
Save the earth, water your grass,
You scratched my car, you worthless ass.
But what do I know, I live in Estes Park.
A circle-jerk redneck, I ain’t so smart.
How ya like my shitty poetry,
Are you getting annoyed, a bit fussy?
Your panties in a knot, wadded up tight?
“PLEASE stop soon!”–if you’re lucky, I just might.
Okay, okay, but lest you forget,
I’m not quite finished yet.
I know, I know, I’m so uncool,
What a jerk, a certified tool.
A web-surfing loser, unlike you.
A bad American I must be,
Slagging you relentlessly.
No 401k, no Bouldite attitude,
No 9-to-5, bicep or lower back tattoo,
Just this useless tome of platitudes.
But please o please do forgive me,
I live in Estes, with no TV.
Call me pathetic, call me lame,
I kinda like this little game.
I can’t watch Survivor, or Captain Kangaroo.
But don’t tell me I’ve nothing to do.