Have you seen the movie, "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep? It's about a divorced woman who starts sleeping with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) and ends up falling for (and almost losing) a really great guy (Steve Martin) in the process. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's hilarious. Because honestly... while Sarah Jessica Parker may be the poster child for single girls having sex in the city, Meryl Streep is a champion for divorced, middle-aged women being horrified by it in the burbs.
At any rate, I love romantic comedies, but I especially loved this one. Not only is it well done, but it answers the question that all of us want to know after ending any bad relationship, "Did we do the right thing? Were they a catch or not?" I think it's normal to wonder, I just think it's more important to remember what we say in Appalachia, "Simply because you can catch something doesn't make it good. Loads of people catch Syphilis, that doesn't mean you want it for life."
That said, I genuinely have *no* idea why Southwestern Pennsylvanians have a colloquialism about venereal disease.
However... I do understand why we say, "You can never go home again." Heraclitus said it thousands of years before us. He just said it more eloquently, "No man stands in the same river twice. The man is not the same, and neither is the water." And who am I to argue with him… especially when he’s right. You get older. You get wiser. Hell, you get back fat, but you are not the same person - and neither is anyone else. And just like Meryl Streep, this year my best friend and I painfully discovered that nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
You see, every winter, TB and I take an annual ski trip out West. We're pretty hard-core skiers who have been lucky enough to do some of the best resorts in the world. And this year, we decided to head to Colorado again. Now, even though I went to college out West and spent more than one Spring Break at Keystone, I’d not skied that specific mountain for almost 20 years, and it was interesting to see how much both of us had changed. We’ve both gotten much bigger, we both make more money, and neither of us seems to attract college kids anymore. In other words… we’ve grown up. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At thirty-eight, I no longer party like a rock star, smoke like a chimney, or swear like a sailor… which is good. Unfortunately, I also no longer ski like I’m in a Warren Miller movie or believe that bathing suits are optional. In fact, not only are they required, they’re required to have a skirt.
Anyway... every year on these trips, we try something we've never done before, something to make us believe that we're still young and fun: dogsled racing, ziplining, indoor sky diving, etc. And this year we tried snow biking, a sport which is only popular with people who don’t believe that skiing and snowboarding are lethal enough.
So there we were, at the top of a mountain, signing waivers... when I heard myself say, "Self... how bad could it be?" And instead of saying, "Bad, really-really bad," I heard Mae West instead, "When choosing between two evils, try the one you’ve never tried before." So instead of skiing. We did it. We went snow biking, and we had a BLAST! That said, I will tell you, I stood at the top of a snow-covered mountain... on a bike that had skis for tires... a flag on the back for visability... and a bucket on the handlebars for my gear... and I thought to myself, “Oh sweet Jesus... I'm going to die and go to hell in the handbasket on the front of this damn thing. The irony.”
But that's not the point.
The point is that Meryl Streep's character heard Mae West, too, "Try the guy you've never tried before..." because relationships are like snow biking, and I don't mean that your crotch hurts if you hit a bump. I mean that, if you only do what you know, you can miss out on a having a truly wonderful time.
Talk to you next week.