How to get free alcohol from drunk guys on the ski slope

On Thursday night, I went out for dinner with a few of my high school friends. Ethan declined the privilege of joining us, claiming he needed to finish cleaning our apartment (which tells you how eager he was to meet some of my friends). That left him on his own for dinner, and in spite of the fact that I was gone for a few hours, he still hadn’t gotten around to nuking and eating his soup by the time I got home.

Alas, while the nuking certainly took place, the eating never came to pass. While I sat on the couch and read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Ethan opened the microwave door and started to remove his dinner. Then there was a yelp and a loud splashing sound. I ran over to the kitchen.

Ethan stood in a rapidly expanding puddle of Safeway clam chowder. Soup smeared his glasses. He wiped at his nose and winced. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he missed the gobs hanging from his hair. In fact, I’m such an awful person that I couldn’t say anything at all. I merely grabbed the paper towels and began to sop up soup so he wouldn’t see how hard I was biting my lip to avoid laughing at the sorry sight he made.

I wiped up the floor while Ethan removed clam chowder from his person. As I put the last of the paper towels in the garbage can, Ethan yelled from the bathroom, “What’s it mean if my nose is oozing pus?”

Tossing the last of the paper towels didn’t mean I was finished with the job; it merely meant we had run out of paper towels. I grabbed the Kroger Value-brand napkins we’d bought for a party in August. They’re not particularly known for their absorbency, so I dropped about 50 on the floor surrounding the puddle. “I think that indicates a second-degree burn,” I shouted back, grimacing as I picked up rapidly dissolving napkin parts.

“Great,” he groaned.

About a hundred or so napkins later, I finally finished the job and started getting ready for bed. I deliberately keep my schedule clear on Fridays to go skiing, and I wasn’t about to go crying over spilt soup in lieu of partaking in plenty of Coloradans’ personal brand of masochism.

My alarm went off at the lazy hour of 9 a.m. the next morning (the snow is not yet worth hitting the slopes when the lifts open, and we’ve got better things to do with our time, like sleeping). I turned to Ethan and asked, “So…you still want to go skiing?”

He raised his head and glared at me. I wasn’t noticing the glare, however, since his nose was truly breathtaking. About half of it was covered in a yellowish, pus-like substance, with the surrounding skin an enraged fuchsia. I scrambled to the bathroom to avoid laughing or vomiting within earshot.

Amazingly enough, he did still want to go skiing. Sunburn being a huge concern at 10,000 feet above sea level, we spent most of breakfast discussing how he could avoid getting up to a third-degree burn.

“That scab’s just not hard enough for you to put sunscreen on it without smearing it all over your nose,” I declared loudly over oatmeal in Starbucks. Several of the other patrons left in disgust.

Ethan poked thoughtfully at a yellow raisin that came included in the packet of oatmeal parts and accessories. “Do we still have gauze in the car?”

I brightened. “Yeah! We do!”

That matter resolved, we left to make our way up to A-Basin, probably costing the King Soopers’ Starbucks a few dollars in revenue.

At the parking lot, I applied sunscreen to my face. Ethan bandaged his. The result had me openly chortling to the point where I couldn’t let it slide without documenting it for posterity.

He patiently waited while I snapped two photos. He even acceded when I asked, between gasps for air, “Can I put this on Facebook?” He made no such concession to my using the photo for this blog, so if these posts ever make me rich and famous, the picture will probably be hotly contested property between our divorce lawyers.

He got a few looks in the lift line, some of which I worked to my advantage. When the made-up, hairstyled blonde next to us on our second ride up started talking about the time some liquid wound up in her eye, I started shaking from laughter and glanced at Ethan, biting my lip as tears streamed under my goggles.

He obviously hadn’t caught the real source of my laughter and snapped, “I know it looks ridiculous, all right?”

I heartily agreed, vowing silently to tell him the real source of my amusement later.

It wasn’t until our water break that he was able to seize the opportunity of having a really weird injury. Bandaged hands, wrists, feet, and knees are nothing on the slopes, but a bandaged face? We set our gear down on a table. The guys next to us, already about two sheets to the wind, couldn’t stop gawking. I went in to use the bathroom. When I came back, Ethan was animatedly telling his story: “I spilled some boiling-hot soup–”

I cut him off. “Aliens. He was fighting aliens. One of ’em spurted acid on his face.”

One of the dudes howled. “I like her story better, man!” His buddy agreed.

Ethan and I drank our water. The guys went to the bar inside to get even more liquored up. The table on the other side of us now took notice.

“What happened to your face?” one of the women exclaimed. Before Ethan could explain about the soup, I jumped in: “He’s so ugly under that bandage, I’m not allowed to let him out in public without it.”

They roared appreciatively. When they settled down, Ethan explained the real circumstances. I pretended to roll my eyes in disgust.

“Man, you gotta stick to the story!” The other table agreed with me.

The drunk guys came back and stood at the end of our table. “Man,” one said, pointing to Ethan, “you gotta come take a shot with us.”

His companion nodded solemnly, if not soberly, in agreement, adding, “It’s already paid for, dude.”

Ethan’s eyes lit up. “Okay!” And he happily traipsed off (as much as anyone can traipse off in ski boots) to the bar.

“I thought you didn’t take shots,” I said when he returned with a huge grin on his face.

“Normally, no. But it was Jack Daniel’s!”

He returned to the slopes a much happier man. “The pain was totally not worth it, though,” he insisted as I grumbled about the lack of free shots I’d received that day.

I did notice, however, that his skiing seemed greatly improved, so perhaps putting in a down payment on pain had its advantages.

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