Robert Downey, Jr.
You may feel a bit envious that I got to meet Robert Downey, Jr. when he skied into my back in Park City, Utah, but there’s really no need to be jealous. Robert Downey, Jr. skis into everyone. It is not possible for Robert Downey, Jr. to go down a ski slope without smashing into a half-dozen or more innocent people. If you ski, you’ve been hit by Robert Downey, Jr. But he’s just so charming when he picks you up, it almost makes you forget the bruises, so it’s not all bad.
Anne Hathaway once skied into my back in Park City, Utah. At least I think she did, since she’s so skinny and light. I was skiing down the Wild Banshee run and what felt like a feather lightly tickled my back and sent a tiny and not unpleasant shiver up my spine. I stopped and turned around to see Anne Hathaway splayed out flat in the snow, her arms and legs bent at unnatural angles. Weirdly she instantly arose from the snow, as if pulled up by marionette strings, and waved and skied past me as she continued down the run. I saw her later in the snack bar eating an Impossible burger with a straw.
Yes, I kid you not, the greatest alpine skier of all time, Mikaela Shiffrin, once skied into my back in Park City, Utah – at 220 mph. Thank goodness it was the day that, for some reason I don’t remember now, I decided to ski with a full-sized mattress strapped to my back. Even so, I flew off the mountain and soared over a small group of trees before landing on the roof of the hot chocolate stand. Thank goodness I landed on my back where the mattress was strapped. I never saw Mikaela at all, I never heard her coming, and I was flying toward the hot chocolate stand before I even knew anything had happened. But later that day in the lift line I heard several people talking about how Mikaela Shiffrin smashed into a guy with a mattress strapped on his back and I thought: what are the odds there was more than one guy wearing a mattress in Park City that day?
I want to state for the record that Britney Spears did not and has not ever skied into my back. Like many people who grew up in the South, Britney has never even seen snow. I’ve invited Britney skiing several times, but she has never answered any of my emails. During her guardianship I mailed her snowballs from Utah on several different occasions, always accompanied by a very nice note. Some really nice people from the FBI have visited my home and asked me about this several times, and have assured me that Britney has read my notes but is just too busy to reply.
I know it sounds incredible that Mick Jagger skied into my back in Park City, Utah. Who knew Mick could even still walk, let alone ski? He actually yelled out something right before impact that sounded like Tarzan screaming in the jungle. He then kind of hip checked me with one of his extraordinarily pointy hips (drawing blood, actually), then skied about 10 yards past me, made a quick turn that threw up a lot of snow, and just disappeared. Like totally disappeared. Even his ski tracks just stopped right at that point. I stayed there for over 10 minutes, poking down into the snow with my poles and slowly skiing back and forth, but I never found him. Later that day I saw him signing autographs in the bar, so I guess he was okay.
For obvious reasons, I am not allowed to write or talk about this incident. All I’ll say is that she is a very nice woman and that up close she smells like a candle.
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Vince LiCata has published humor in the scientific journal Nature (yes, the same journal where Watson & Crick published the structure of DNA several decades earlier) as well as in McSweeneys, MonkeyBicycle, the Potomac, The Science Creative Quarterly, Fiction Southeast, plus a few and sundry other lovely places.