As reported with merciless pix on TheSmokingGun and with keen analysis by our own intrepid Joel Warner ("New Ski Move Spotted at Vail"), a 48-year-old skier at Vail got depantsed on the chair lift yesterday, dangling upside down for fifteen minutes while rescuers tried to get him down and fellow skiers snapped photos with abandon.
Short of death or severe head injury, this is about the worst kind of skiing accident we offer visitors to our fair state. One minute you're on top of the world, the next your privates are exposed to the elements and subject to inspection by a slope full of strangers.
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And, as if things couldn't get any worse, the whole cheeky incident goes viral faster than a flash of Britney's pikachu.
Not only is the hapless skier the "featured document" on SmokingGun, but his plight has drawn a flood of comments on tmz and become fodder for roundtable jokes about ski bums on Chelsea Lately. Some outlets have even published his name, for no apparent reason other than -- hey, it was available. All of which says something about what the rabid, humiliation-surfing public wants these days: a little song, a little dance, a little ski-lift hanging without pants.
Sixty years ago, Saul Bellow wrote a novel about man's search for meaning in an absurd world. It wasn't a particularly good book, but it did capture a certain sense of postwar frustration with the many embarrassments of life, beneath a heavy glaze of French existentialism. Maybe it's time for our man in Vail to write a sequel. He could use the same title: The Dangling Man. -- Alan Prendergast