Just the other day someone asked me if I’d ever gone to jail. The question struck me as offensive, but the telling thing was that it took me a while to answer — I actually had to think about it first. The fact is that I’ve come close and probably should’ve been arrested at times for my own good, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
Then someone else asked me if I was the one who threw eggs at the political headquarters on the corner of 8th and Main. He said that there was even money riding on it. To think that someone had the gall to implicate that I was the culprit of that petty act of vandalism reported in the paper.
Now that was an insult. The fact is, the work was that of amateurs. Had I in fact been responsible, there would’ve been much more thought put into it than just buying a dozen eggs and throwing them at an old house at night. It struck as a waste of a perfectly good Denver omelet.
Last time I threw eggs I got busted by the Aspen police — rather the eggs got busted in my parka when the police officer who knew I was carrying them padded me down, laughing as he felt them break.
Aspen is know for its creativity. Does anyone remember the “Inhale to the Chief” banner that was flown from a 150-foot tall pine tree next to the Castle Creek Bridge for President Bill Clinton’s motorcade to feast their eyes upon as they first arrived? I wonder if he actually ever saw that. Getting the banner up into that tree struck me as a monumental task in itself, and the play on words was brilliant.
When I was growing up in the West End I thought it would be a good idea to light a firecracker on my neighbor’s doorstep then ring the doorbell and run. So you can only imagine the surprised look on my face when my doorbell rang moments later and the neighbor was standing there with the remnants of the firecracker in his hand. He casually urged me to come in and visit next time, perhaps have some lemonade and not leave so hastily.
After reading the Monkey Wrench Gang in sixth grade at the Aspen Country Day School, my hoodlum buddy and I were convinced we could bring all of the construction in the West End to an abrupt halt. So next time you hear anyone complaining about vacant second monster homes, you know exactly who to blame.
The vandalism we’re now seeing in town is politically motivated. It seems that it’s becoming more common in the past couple of election cycles, and they are becoming increasingly hateful. It speaks to the climate change of our town’s mind-set. All of the political signs you see are a relatively new thing.
It reminds me of an incident that happened during the last presidential election I was inextricably linked to. There was a large political sign in a field next to Catherine Store that had drawn criticism in certain circles. One circle seemed to think the sign was too square for their tastes and they just so happened to be driving by the sign at night with a sledge hammer conveniently in the back of their vehicle.
The hit man and his henchmen stopped under cover of the night, ceremoniously passed the weapon and beat the thing beyond recognition, then jumped back into their car and sped home. There was one problem: one of the vandals dropped their iPod at the scene of the crime and they were busted royally. The sheriff caught up with them the very next day.
I have been on both the giving and receiving end of acts of vandalism, and it doesn’t feel very good. It’s unsettling to think that someone premeditated an act of destruction of defacing of your personal property to get a point across that they don’t particularly care for you or what you represent. Can any real good come from civil disobedience, vandalism’s non-violent stepchild? I read the whole book by Thoreau and didn’t understand a single word.
I’m not proud to admit having vandalized things in my youth. What kid hasn’t? If you believe in the law of physics that states every action has an equal and opposite reaction, then apply it to karma and vandalism. I have done penance and time for my crimes.
The real beauty of Aspen lies in our ability to agree to disagree, and leave it at that. Who do I think is responsible for a lot of the politically motivated vandalism? I have my suspicions. But if you for one second think it was me, I will gladly agree to take a politically funded lie detector test. If I had in fact vandalized the headquarters in question, the tools of the twisted prankster trade probably would’ve included a live donkey and a blow-up doll.
Reach Lorenzo at email@example.com.