Wrinkles? Well, move to Florida | VailDaily.com

Wrinkles? Well, move to Florida

Old-er, that is.

Everybody else with more wrinkles than Vail has deficit dollars seems to be doing it, so why shouldn’t I?

Recently flying out of town for a long weekend with 4/5th of my family, my oldest preferred to stay home and “study” rather than suffering the humility of walking along a bikini-clad beach with a father wearing a day-glo male thong.

I’m sure his grades will show a vast improvement, as well as his skiing.

During the long drive down to Denver we were passed by a few thousand cars. My 15-year-old says I drive as fast as teachers get pay raises in Eagle County.

At least the kid’s learning something.

The plane lifted off the ground out of DIA, as was planned, and landed smoothly in South Florida with no problems, except maybe for the lady sitting next to my 3-year-old. She was a bit frazzled due to my son’s antics involving seat trays, seat backs, seat monitors, seat air vents, seat lights, extremely loud – but funny – toilets and “call” buttons.

Mom’s can be like that.

The pilots offered a tour of the cockpit to my little heathen afterwards, something I didn’t think they were doing anymore. My wife says they made the offer only after she promised to consider booking United for the return flight.

Although it sounds the same through a shell, the ocean feels much different this time of year. Everything’s cold. Even the sand.

So two of us went to a movie; a weekday matinee in South Florida in mid-January. Except for my 12-year-old, I was the youngest one in the theater.

I am 43.

Can you imagine a crowd of over a hundred people and, during an intensely quiet part of the film, having someone pass gas sounding like an outtake from an Austin Powers movie?

Of course you can.

However, can you imagine not a single person laughing out loud as a response?

Neither could we.

But as we both looked at each other in a quick reaction to make sure an outburst was justifiably acceptable, not another soul blinked, or so much as shuffled an old shoe or snapped a set of false teeth.

Had they not heard it?

Were their respective hearing aids set on “low?”

What caused this mutual respect of geriatric flatulence?

The world may never know, but the silence was deafening up until the point when an apparent former smoker (complete with trailing oxygen tank) erupted into a hacking fit worthy of an RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company executive stuttering in front of a Senate Committee.

We felt surrounded by a full platoon of coughing, burping and flatulence-emitting Vets and their spouses, not knowing whether to stand and salute or lean back and sing the National Anthem in tune with their somewhat rhythmic bodily noises.

Knowing they were part of the reason we had the freedom to watch a South Florida matinee in mid-January, we kept our mouths shut.

The assumed Veterans were black, white, brown, yellow – all suffering from the geriatric syndrome of either too much sun, too few vitamins, just enough sun, or jaundice.

Regardless of their color, I took for granted they were fully qualified Americans; no quotas ever having to be filled to risk life and limb for their country forty or fifty years ago.

They deserved our respect, period.

So I had no problem poking a little innocent fun at their aging antics, but was bouncing off the wall at the prospect of the University of Michigan accepting one student over another based upon race.

But that wasn’t going to bother me while in Florida.

Ok, I lied, it did.

It’s wrong for any employer, whether government or not, to hire based upon race. As long as they are the most qualified for the position, whether it be an airline pilot or a clerk at the drivers license office, I don’t care what color they happen to be.

It is wrong for one of two students with identical qualifications to be chosen over the other due to race. I’d rather have a coin flipped than a race card turned.

These Veterans, and those about to become such, have not fought wars in order for the rest of us to use Affirmative Action when hiring or accepting contracts just to keep the socialist-wannabe’s happy.

We trust that the person flying our plane, teaching our child, building our roads, or making decisions that might affect our lives deserves the right to do so because of hard work, good grades and/or experience, and that race has nothing to do with it.

But I must be strong, and resist letting that bother me while I’m in Florida. I have miles of beach to go, scores of wrinkled Veterans to talk to and learn from, and plenty of other folks hopefully too blind to enjoy my thong.

Not everyone appreciates day-glo.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net

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