How to make a cold splash
VAIL – Like licking frost on a pole and getting your tongue stuck, there are some lessons you need to learn for yourself.After a week-long psyche-up period last year, my dreams of Pond Skimming stardom were dashed with the loss of a ski.It wasn’t so much that I fell in the pond, which at that point was quite welcomed considering I was wearing a plastic-wrap suit under sweltering skies. It was more that I didn’t make it to the other end of the pond with my costume intact. Anyone can dress up for Halloween, but it takes some endurance and the full package to bring home the most candy. What does this mean? You need to show off what your momma gave you while avoiding the water like an pedodendrophiliac avoids old bushes.Looking back at the past 35.5 winners of the World Pond Skimming Championships, all of the winners in non-leap year events have either made it across without incident or sustained sports hernias and were given sympathy crowns. As fun as a hernia sounds, I think my path to glory will come in 100 feet of levitation.I know that I can’t walk on water and neither could the guy who dressed as Jesus last year. Swim floaties are a great option, but using those to win would be like when Saddam Hussein won an election by 100 percent.If I wanted to have a chance, I needed to do it the old-fashioned way.RetreatRecently, I went on a week-long Pond Skimming camp at Macacastan Hut, hidden deep in the Gore Range.Through lessons in selective memory and self-homogenization, I cultivated the feng shui that only a world-class skimmer possesses. Now, I can slog through sub-zero water (they added salt to achieve this realistic situation) for hours on end. I can launch off 60-foot kickers blindfolded and switch and land on one foot. I can also drink four cans of PBR and not become sick – the sign of a true champion.All the practice in the world won’t cut it, however, without the big-game experience. Last year, I got a taste of the big show. But hoping to squeeze in some more high-pressure situations, I flew to Afghanistan for the World Goat-Head Polo Championships. That didn’t help – I think it scarred me more than anything.You’re a ladyThe element of surprise is powerful tool, if used correctly. Since I can’t properly operate an ergonomically-correct keyboard, I think I’ll leave the whole surprise bit out of the equation.In a Vail Daily exclusive, you – the reader – get a first-hand look at my costume. (Warning: the following description is graphic and may not be suitable for those with pre-existing heart conditions, those under the age of 14 or anyone operating a mini backhoe.)Following an exhaustive brainstorming session that included sure-hit ideas like a marmot-clam hybrid, Dom DeLuise (as himself in Cannonball Run II), and a baked potato with chives and bacon bits, I hired a famous costume consultant. He acted in the movie “Bedtime for Bonzo.” Anyway, while we were dining together, this genius threw a great idea at me – a banana. It hit me in the face, but the message was loud and clear. I should dress up as the Chiquita Banana lady.Since 1944, when Miss Chiquita was created by artist Dik Browne, the character has always been a woman. But there’s a time when tradition must be trumped by crossdressing. After all, what’s funnier than a guy dressed up as a woman?Step one: Pick out a dress. With the help of a pair of corporate shoppers, I found a lovely rouge Vera Wang dress size … (a true lady never tells!). Step two: Find fake fruit, jewelry and a hat that will hold the fruit. Step three: Distract the cashier when he scans the dress. Step four: Don’t forget daily medications. Oops, missed that one. Step five: Put on lipstick, even if the event isn’t for the Pond Skimming champs.Big showThe best way not to fail is to have exceedingly low standards. I’m aiming for no catastrophic wardrobe malfunctions. If I win, I’ll donate all the money to the Michael Brown’s FEMA retirement fund. If I lose, I’ll be “justly” compensated by Pete Rose. And if I fall in the water, I hope the life guard is Wendy Peffercorn from Sandlot. The worst case scenario, it’s yet another chance for me to wear a dress.Staff Writer Ian Cropp likes his lipstick to match his dress and can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.