Watching Is Better Than Doing

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

You might be surprised to learn I am not a Winter Olympic kind of athlete. I know I look like someone who just stepped off the podium at St. Moritz after winning the Giant Salmon (or whatever they call the ski race with all the sticks on it) and I have that wind-blown look of a man who just made a perfect landing at the bottom of a Zhangjiakou ski jump, alas I am not. In fact I look more like a man who just climbed out of bed after a horrendous nightmare, which I just did as a matter of fact.

I am more of an indoor athlete, well I’m not even that really; I’m closer to a couch potato and a lazy one at that and so I sit and poet all day long. Hence:

The Song of the Great Indoors

(With apologies to Wilson MacDonald. Come to think of it, Wilson passed on to his reward many years ago and could probably care less)

Chicken, am I when the first snow falls

Chicken, am I till the ice departs

The fare for which my spirit calls

Is a single malt and a mincemeat tart

A nice warm blanket will be my cloak

And the flipping wind is a nasty joke

I’m high on booze and ready to go

But not outside in the ice and snow,

I’ll ride this chair with a dauntless dare

That only a cowardly wimp can know.

The bravest ski has a cautious heart

And moves like a tortoise at the start

But when it tastes the tang of the air

Don’t ask me I won’t be there

The day is gloomy, the curtains half-drawn

And the light is stunted as at the dawn

I look up the hill as he waves adieu

I stare right back for a moment or two

The slim wood quickens. The air takes fire

Holy Moses he’s hit a wire

Swifter and swifter down he shoots

His hat’s caught fire, he’s lost his boots

The lean cold birches as he goes by

Are like blurred etchings against the sky.

Down he streaks like a fallen star

Haley’s comet or a flaming car

A bat from hell he drops like a rock

I hope there’s a steel cup in his jock

Swifter and swifter goes his flight

He went by me at the speed of light

“Help!” he screams as he whistles by

I’d like to help but I’d switched to rye

My feet are numb. My head is number

I’d call for aid but I forgot the number

Was it 9-1-1 or somewhere near?

It’s either help or dial-a beer

Too late now, he’s miles away

The only thing to do is pray

And hope they find him in the spring

He’s no good now without his thing

He left it hanging on that wire

The one that set his hair on fire

I know his wife and she’ll be pissed

His girlfriend too, yes he’ll be missed

Because the jerk was on the slopes

Skiing down with other dopes

He should be lying home in bed

Instead where is he, likely dead.

And so my friends when winter’s blowing

Not to a hill will I be going

The only ice is in my glass

The only wind comes out my bottom

(I couldn’t think of anything that rhymes with ‘glass’)

Norse, am I? Oh no not me.

Unless the temp is ninety-three

And Sven and I are on a beach

With a cold one in our reach

Give me summer all year long

The toasty indoors is my song

I’m in once winter’s wind starts blowing

As for skiing, I ain’t going.

I’m tired even thinking about it. I think I will lie down for a while.

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