Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tune My Skis

A slow day. In walks a smiling couple with a couple of scabrous planks.

"Do you tune skis here?" the man asked.

I said we do.

"These could use some wax, and the edges are really rusty,"the woman said.

Two little scaly strips of dark orange flanked the rough, gray-black, abraded base of each ski.

Not one to turn down a little income when a little is all we're getting, I checked them in for surgery. But I ask you: if a person had lost a quart of blood, would sticking a couple of tablespoons of it back into him make that much of a difference?

Waste your money if you will. Tune your skis once a year, or once every two, three or five years. But why were they fine to ski on all that time, and now, suddenly, you're looking for a better quality experience?

It doesn't have to make sense.

Most skis that get abused this way will not instantly turn into World Cup Nordic rocket ships just because they finally got a little love. Poor touring skis are born to be abused. The ski companies know it. I did truly unspeakable things to my first set of touring skis. From time to time I go into the crawl space, where their battered, bindingless carcasses lie, and apologize to them one more time.

"Go and sin no more," they whisper in a thin, ghostly voice. "Let us have suffered so your future skis will not."

I have to admit I still have a couple of beater pairs that I take out in all conditions. But at least their wounds are from valiant battles against rocks, stumps and thin cover in the wild woods, not rookie road crossings and scrapes along the roadside gravel in Maryland slush storms. I know better than to tease them with spa treatments of wax at five-year intervals.

Humans love their good intentions. I know I've made good starts at a number of things and then been drawn away by the physical limits of real life. So what the heck. If there's time, I'll do what can be done for these accident victims. Here's your two tablespoons of blood and a sticky bandage across that gash. Best of luck out there.

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