10 More Things to Worry About

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 by IAIN MACMILLAN in Fall 2020 issue

Hunkered down at the cottage during the summer I was bitten by a bat. In the neck. While I slept. Dodging all the vampire jokes on one of my seven trips to the hospital in Parry Sound for rabies inoculations, I was thinking that at least I’m not worrying so much about “The Covids,” as I heard it called more than once in town.

As you probably already know, one of the curious symptoms of The Covids is a sudden loss of taste and smell; another seems to be a loss of sense of humour.

Letters to the editor (and in 2020 I mean emails and social media rants) have long been cherished here at Ski Canada. Just our mentions last issue of that little pandemic thingy going around, let alone us offering some advice leading into our special winter ahead, resulted in several readers writing us “How dare you!?” notes.

A deliciously ironic photo of a neighbourhood sidewalk offering a free pair of skis—and accompanying crutches—which we titled “Yard Sale,” was sent by one reader but apparently irked others.

The most-widely read and discussed note about our last issue was from Rick in Alberta, who told us we should stop “spreading more fear of this entire covid event…and prolonging our recovery.” He’d “had enough of this ‘world-ending’ virus that never showed up.” Evidently we were then tossed into the bin with a warning not to talk about Covid anymore. Gold, just gold.

Managing Editor Anne has said to me more than once over our many years working together, “Not everyone shares your sense of humour, Iain.” Okay, fair enough, but at least someone does. And that’s Art Director Norm, whose hilarious zingers are infamous. When the three of us write the caption for our back-of-the-book humour page Caught & Shot, it’s a free-for-all, mostly unprintable, yuck-fest.

After I hang up on a Caught & Shot caption-writing phone call, my home peanut gallery will say, “You, Norm and Anne sound like you’re giggling at the high school cafeteria at lunch…like you can’t wait to walk home together and push each other in the bushes.”

Thankfully political correctness hasn’t fully hit the never-too-serious ski industry. The naughtiest jokes still come from the lips of female mountain guides. Indeed, it can be difficult for them to find a taboo subject sometimes. I can’t think of another world where the influence of importance is strongest in those who can laugh hardest at themselves. Like the best skiers I know who are also the first to wear the most ridiculous clothes and colours, and try moves they know will result in spectacular failure.

And so, as we tenuously make plans to ski this winter, my worry of getting bonked on the head again by a zealous safety-bar-closer on the chairlift has morphed into this: My Top 10 List of Things to Worry About Besides Covid-19.

•    No doubt bat rabies, giardia, West Nile, herpes, locusts and flooding are already on your worry list, but last month’s news of a confirmed case of bubonic plague in Tahoe will definitely keep you up at night.

•    What happens if the Kielburger bros surface at your hill and convince the impressionable young ski team to stop training and dig wells instead? Now, that’s a worry.

•    Doing something embarrassing in public (and hoping no one noticed) just isn’t possible today with everyone’s phone finger ready to press “record.” Who doesn’t worry about being recognized by 10- to 14-year-old girls around the world after your chairlift-boarding gaff goes viral on TikTok?

   Ski Canada’s stylebook switched usage several years ago from the Oxford English “titbit” to American-preferred “tidbit,” for instance, but we know of more than one heli-ski operator that’s quietly changed some of their more roguish run names fearing the unlikely scenario of having to refer to them in court one day. I hope the rewriting of history stops there.

•    Now, what happens if you win a Governor General’s award? Imagine the aerosols and water droplets flying as Her Excellency pins it to your chest! I’d definitely want six metres, not six feet.

•    I thought I was too old to fear cougars but I’m told social distancing has been hard on the species, and as Norm suspects, “their prey now includes older skiers.”

•    With hot tubs and accommodation literally “on-slope,” who isn’t questioning the safety of Tesla’s foray into self-driving snowcats?

•    Ricin and Novichok: Is that “no friends on a powder day”—or “no enemies”?

•    With rumours swirling of Harry and Meghan’s plans to return to Canada, imagine the schmozzle if Jessica Mulroney blocks the singles line waiting to get on the chair with the duke and what’s-her-face.

•     And my biggest worry? The possible cancellation of Season 6 of The Real Housewives of Lethbridge, of course. We’ll never find out if Doreen’s new breasts survive the weekend at the Macdonalds, her cousins in Fernie! 

from the archives

Iain MacMillan
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