Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wax on...wax off...

The great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan said that "form ever follows function." Most people think Frank Lloyd Wright said that, but his forms followed his fashion, not function. Beautiful stuff, Frank's, but functional? Ask anyone who owns one of his places and tries to keep it dry and climate-controlled.

I was at a local ski shop a few days ago and by chance there was a waxing clinic going on, taught by Yuriy Gusev, a local ski coach who runs this great event called Capitol Square Sprints. He had an elaborate waxing set up, a fancy clamping table and a super-cool waxing iron. He wasn't trying to make it rocket science; actually, he was trying to keep it simple. Some of the sycophantic crowd wanted to discuss the intricacies of waxing. ZZzzzZZzzzzzZzzzz....

My waxing set up ain't much of a's a workmate knock-off that Jodie from Turtle Paddleworks left in my basement a few years ago after Canoecopia, and an iron that I bought for a dollar from a garage sale because the "steam burst" button was busted off. Combine that with a $6.00 tackle box full of various waxes, scrapers, and green pads and I've got a total of $20.00 invested, max.

The Toko T-12 waxing iron boasts that "precise digital temperature control and a powerful 1200 watt heating element makes this a favorite by techs on World Cup. Structure grooves in thick heat plate ensures maximum wax distribution on entire ski base." All for a bargain price of $109.95. The optional cover is $18.95, and the holding rack to attach to your waxing table is another $29.95.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not know for my frugality when it comes to gear. If there's a lighter, better, stronger, faster, more expensive outdoor toy, I probably have two of them in my garage. So why am I such a smug, low-tech Luddite, poking fun at the waxing elite who use high-tech stuff?

Because I'm a hypocrite, I guess. Smugness is a Madisonian illness, feeling greener-than-thou because you are reusing your bread bags to scoop dog poop. I succumb once in a while, and I imagine this is one of those cases.

To those of you who use waxing irons, please mock my thirty-two canoe paddles and the canoes that go with them. I would be just fine with an aluminum Grumman, right?

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