Winning Words

For a real good time, skip the good times


One of my pet peeves is "pet peeves." Is that fair? It's kind of like saying that you are opposed to flavored coffee because it is flavored.

I am opposed to flavored coffee because it is flavored. Coffee has to be black, and strong enough to clean my paint brushes.

We begin to have dislikes at an early age. It probably starts with vegetables. Especially vegetables that have been turned into a pudding, like beets.

I'm not sure what comes next. Being told to go to bed when you want to stay up. Getting dressed up on Sunday morning.

Entertainment options were very limited when I was a kid. I don't know what it would be like to have had a time limit on video games, because we didn't have video games. We had Buffalo Bob Smith.

Now I have more dislikes than likes. I admit it. No es bueno. But I know myself, and what is and isn't beneficial. The Cheyenne Frontier Days would not be beneficial. It would do me harm. This year there is a double feature: Kid Rock and special guest Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on July 25. Tickets are $39. No thank you.

I flew into LaGuardia a few years ago and waited for a cab right next to the Blackhearts' gear. The girl I was with almost passed out, she was so thrilled.

Joan has had quite a career. She had one big hit a long time ago, but she is still rocking. I don't know anything about Kid Rock, except that he is from Michigan, and that he is loyal to Michigan, which is fine with me. I was born in Michigan.

The rodeo part of Frontier Days is something I couldn't watch. I know that, so I know enough to stay away. I helped out at the Highlands Ranch Rodeo a few years ago, and said to myself, "Never again, Smith."

I have said "Never again, Smith," many, many times. It means that I know better. When I was younger, I went where I didn't belong, because I had an open mind. I no longer have an open mind. Chances are if there are people there, I am not there.

Isn't that charming? "Mildred, this here writer is a stiff." It's true. See if you can guess where I would rather be: The Indy 500. A New Year's Eve party. The grand opening of an Ikea. Right here writing.

My ex always wanted to be somewhere. I always wanted to be nowhere. You can probably guess what happened.

She wanted to surprise me - a mistake to begin with - on my 50th birthday.

She had tickets to San Francisco to spend the weekend with my best friend and his wife.

I was very unhappy, and showed it. One detail she left out was money. She had none. I don't know how she afforded the airfare.

I had very little, and I knew my credit card would have had an infarction.

We didn't go, and she refused to see me for weeks.

I can't think of too many things that are worse than surprise parties. Oh, there are hundreds of things in life that are worse, but not when it comes to my perception of a good time.

You might be planning a surprise party right now. Good for you. People, other people, love them. That moment when your boyfriend walks in the door and his friends and marginal friends jump up and say, "Surprise!" and "Speech!" - now you're talking.

I went to one about 25 years ago, and the guest of honor almost walked. She was appalled. Later that night, she and her girlfriend had words. And they weren't words of love.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment