Most people thse days know what an oxymoron is, but for hose who don’t, it is two words or phrases that seemingly don’t go together. Things like jumbo shrimp, athletic scholarship, government tax cut, things like that. For me, I think the biggest oxymoron of all is “winter sports.”
I am not talking about basketball or wrestling or NFL playoff football, although I must admit that this year my favorite pro-football team is sounding a bit like an oxymoron.
No, I am talking about those sports where people leave a perfectly good, warm house to travel long and dangerous miles over icy and treacherous roads to arrive at a place where the temperature is sub-zero befoe wind chill so they can fall down on snow and ice.
Honestly, skiing and skating do not make sense. They just don’t. Think about it. When was the last time in the middle of winter you told your spouse you wanted to go outside to get wet, cold and tired and “Oh, by the way. I want to pay someone $55 to let me do it.”
“Yeah, but it’s fun,” my wife once told me.”The swooshing through the trees at break-neck speed. It’s exhilarating.”
Let us analyze “Swooshing” and “through the trees.”
Think about it. These are words that should not come together in one sentence. We won’t even think about analyzine the hyphenated words in “break-neck speed.”
As for “exhilarating,” I am told that facing a firing squad in Iran is rumored to be exhilarating. I’ll pass.
Somehow looking down a mountain cliff with pieces of fiberglass strapped to my feet while my nose becomes a giant icicle is not my idea of “sport.” Fiendish torture maybe, but not sport.
The first time I went skiing was just after I married. My wife thought it would be a nice honeymoon.
“Oh, sweetheart, think how romantic it will be,” she said batting her eyelashes just after I signed the insurance policy.
I suggested skinny dipping with piranaha or playing “chicken” with a semi on Interstate 40, but she wanted the romance of skiing. Just think about it,’ she said, “Cuddling on the chair lift and snuggling in front of a fire in the warming hut.”
I reflected back on the romantic nature of skiing as we dangled 100 feet above jagged rocks just slightly covered with snow as icy gale-force winds tried to make the stalled chair become inverted. I should mention we wore more clothes than explorers approaching the polar ice cap while we tried to remember what our fingers felt like.
I suppose romance is in the eye of the beholder. I also wonder about the romantic nature of such phrases as “Don’t worry about falling, the snow is soft,” or “Boy you look silly with snow up your nose,” and “Watch out for that tree!”
But I must say, after we got off the slop and into the warming hut, there was indeed romance in the air as we paid $10 for a cup of hot chocolate and stood in front of the fireplace with 4,000 other frost-bitten clowns wearing $700 orange and green outfits that would never see the ski slopes again.