Sunday, April 14, 2013
Among the many things I won't accomplish in this lifetime, scaling Mount Everest is one of them. Which makes me sad, but is probably for the best. Reaching the Everest summit would mean death to my sparkling cocktail chatter. Never again could I exit a conversation, any conversation, without dropping, "That reminds me of a funny little story about base camp," or "As my Sherpa always said..."
Bragging seems to be a cultural practice; some countries excel at it -- America being one of them -- while others achieve greatness, quietly. In our family, we kids, the Americans, constructed shrines for our third-place spelling medals, whereas Dad, a Norwegian, and accomplished in so many ways, hid his commemorations in a box in the attic, which we found only after he died.
Sir Edmund Hillary, in spite of the dashing name, was a most self-effacing man; so self-effacing that when he and Norgay reached the top of Everest, he took Norgay's picture, but would not let Norgay take his.
I find it almost inconceivable that someone could do something so magnificent as hike Everest and then not crow about it. Though overt crowing is frowned upon in any culture, the effect can be mitigated with the proper preface: "I'm deeply humbled to announce that, in the fabulous department, others find I am not wanting."
Anyway, I've officially crossed Everest off my to-do list. I'll never have the two basic requirements at the same time: Money and fitness. Everest is really expensive -- sad fact is, I'm only fit when unemployed.
Guess I'll have to be satisfied with racing out-of-shape high school boys up the Echo Mountain Trail. And that does kind of work for me. Because, and I'm most humbled to tell you this, I always beat them to the top.