I went snowboarding today at Hunter Mountain and I am exhausted. I was up at 5:00AM and I got home at 9:30PM. I think I spent a total of nine hours on the bus, which happened to breakdown briefly an hour outside of New York. I knew yesterday that today would be rough. It was sixty degrees and raining yesterday, which means that any good snow from our previous storm would be gone. I also knew that the temperature was supposed to drop again today and freeze up all the snow that had melted. And that is exactly what happened. So, most of my day was spent holding my body tense and slowly scraping (anyone who has skied in the Northeast knows that sound, it will reverberate in my dreams tonight) my way down trails over that icy base (bearing the pattern of the snow grooming tracks) on every mountain that I’ve ever skied on.
So, given the fact that I’m about to pass out, I wanted to just leave you with my favorite Spalding Gray monologue that happens to be related to skiing, It’s a Slippery Slope. Years ago, I found the used CD somewhere. I watched Swimming to Cambodia in a solo performance class in college and was blown away. It was, I suppose, a Eureka moment akin to the origin story of every band in Our Band Could Be Your Life who heard The Ramones and said to themselves, “wait, you can, like, do that?” You can sit at a desk and talk and be serious and be funny and be whatever you want to be and people will watch?
His most popular monologues are probably Swimming to Cambodia and Gray’s Anatomy. I love both but It’s a Slippery Slope is by far my favorite. It might be my inner hipster that loves it because I know it and few other people do. But I love it because the stakes are so high for him here. He really does dismantle his life over the course of this monologue and he manages to relate it all to learning to ski. He paints himself as a difficult, self-destructive person and I’m still on his side.
This monologue has been in heavy rotation at certain times in my life and each time I hear it, I feel like I find another little thing to like about it.
Favorite quote from the whole thing: “She says, ‘Spalding, think of it as a white wall of death,’ and I think, ‘Oh, I know how she gets her kicks, she wants me to do a monologue about this and she wants to be in it.'” Enjoy.