Monday, October 3, 2011

Taking it up a level

I wrote this for Trailsedge and then quickly decided it was the best thing I've ever written. It's not. But- it was so much fun to write I had to share it here on my blog. Technically it's "The Ten Levels of Rock Climbing", but I like to think it's much broader than that. I call it "The Ten Levels of Whatever You are Involved in at the Moment." So next time you hear someone talking about themselves all obnoxious, saying they're "taking it up a notch" or "going to the next level", put a copy of this on their desk. Consider it a road map. You are so helpful and thoughtful.

The Ten  Levels of Whatever You are Involved in at the Moment

I work in a climbing gym, and every day I overhear some dude telling his buddies that he’s taking his climbing “to the next level.” It’s lead me to wonder- just how many levels are there?

Level One
At the first level, you harbor a terrible secret. Ninety two percent of the time you’re climbing you’d rather be at a water park, but you can’t afford it! So pack some butter horns and a full bottle of Jergins Skin Lotion- you’re going cragging. Take one last look at the kitty poster in your dining room- Hang in there! You’re gonna need to remember that when you’re twenty feet high on top rope. But don’t get too scared, your back-up belayer is back up belayed.

Level Two
When faced with a committed move, channel your totem spirit: the otter. Sleek, cute, paw-holding, Internet sensation otter. Due to an extreme cotton allergy, you never wear a T-shirt and you drive a compact, hybrid, American-made bicycle. (Your “other” car is a Toyoda Highlander.) You celebrate another flashed 5.9 by shouting at the top of your lungs “Ladies and Gentlemen….TAYLOR SWIFT!”

Level Three
You’re still mourning the death of pop King Michael Jackson and you don’t have a job, which means any day is a good day to climb. Bring along some matchsticks and gasoline as a snack and get psyched up with a good head to toe screaming fit. Your frequent and uncomfortable references about ‘deflowering’ the rock is decreasing your popularity by the day. Pay close attention to the lunar cycle because at a full moon you grow talons and wings.

Level Four
You’ve replaced your hands with custom-made iron and leather appendages. Every time you take a whipper, you loudly declare the moon landing to be a farce. You love bikinis, star charts and pie.

Level Five
At the fifth level, every rumor ever said about you instantly becomes true. Your closest friends are ghosts. You frequently appear in public wearing a parrot on your shoulder- not be confused with your totem spirit, which is an over-sized, long extinct mammal. You sleep comfortably each night in the back of your truck on a bed of smashed glass and floor wax. Bruce Springsteen really is your boss. Like, actually your boss.

Level Six  Your typical expedition is a fifteen year orbit around the sun. Your friends just can’t keep track of you! Your sweat is 85% kombucha, you wear a headband, and you love to rap about famous Spaniards. To celebrate a tough day of crushing, you make wide loops around base camp and tell all the lady climbers that you “like to mate after battle.” 

Level Seven You’re a serious climber, but you still have an appetite for fun. On summer days, you enjoy taking an afternoon voodoo break and chugging some margarita mix. Your favorite climbing partners are the parents of the balloon boy, and you’ve been struck by lightning thirteen times.

Level Eight
You make smarmy references that people battling depression “should just spend more time outside.” Also, you enjoy yoga.

Level Nine
Warlock. You don’t climb, you mangle. You collect hospital ID bracelets, which is a lot weirder than it sounds seeing as you yourself have never been to the hospital. Although you speak sixteen languages, you haven’t spoken to another human since you moved to Moab four years ago. You’re a purist free-soloer and Chris Sharma once valet parked your car just for the thrill of it. Your totem spirit is an owl-robot hybrid that will evolve in the year 2976. 

Level Ten
From a “strictly medical” standpoint, you’re dead.

(Bonus Level: The level in which one owns these Ariat Rodeobaby boots. So kicky and fun. That would be the best level EVER.)


Anonymous said...

I want to climb with the balloon boy parents.

Rod said...

Funny! But shouldn't one level involve sprinkling chalk on your granola, goatsmilk yogurt, and blueberries? Keep 'em coming, M.!

dig this chick said...

Fucking funny, Melina. Wish you could have explored the Bitterroot this fall...would have had fun chatting all this up in person. It'll happen.

kirida said...

I want to climb at Stefan's level. But really I'm before whatever level one is.

Melina said...

Lucky for you, Mona, stefon is below level one as well. He's negative....kind of like Ace is high but also low kinda thing?