Ball slappers

While I was studying filmmaking in Calgary, I answered an ad in the newspaper for actors.  They were looking for downhill skiers for a commercial.  We use to fly down Suicide Hill as kids so I figured that man made hill, Calgary Olympic Park, would be a cakewalk. 

I filled in the application and under skill, I checked expert.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to put novice, whatever that means.  They liked the photo I’d sent in and they called me for my shoe size and preferred ski size.  I said the shortest ones you have, not knowing that you actually go faster with shorter skis.  

I arrived at the shoot and was fitted in a downhill racing suit and one of them space age aero-dynamic helmets.  They had a camera rigged on a guy-wire that ran from the top of the hill to the bottom, to follow the skier.  I took the gondola to the top of the hill.  When I got up there, I must admit my knees got weak looking down at the run.  I’d already pawned all my jeans and was basically living on chicken neck broth.  You could get a ten pound bag of chicken necks in Chinatown for two bucks.   The hundred and fifty bucks they offered was going to come in handy when I run out of grub.

I was fourth in line at the top of the hill when the director called action.  The first guy did the sign of the cross and jumped off.  By the time I blinked, he was just a dot at the bottom of the hill.   The second guy wasn’t so lucky.  He wiped out about half way down.  I lost count at sixteen tumbles.  It reminded me of a cartoon the way he was flipping through the air.  After seeing that, the third guy quit. I was weak from hunger and I sure as heck wasn’t going to let a little fear come between me and two double quarter pounders with cheese.

The director called action and I froze.  “Action” he yelled in my ear.  Then he pushed me.  Well let me tell you Suicide Hill had nothing on a double black diamond run on an Olympic sanctioned ski-hill.  I didn’t want to but I couldn’t help but scream.  I don’t know how the hell I made it to the first corner without wiping out but I did.  But instead of turning, I went straight.  They had recently re-planted that part of the hill and the little saplings were just the right height to ball-slap me on the way down.  I was seeing dots from the pounding on my sack.  I crossed right over to the next run and was going so fast I couldn’t close my mouth because the air pressure kept it open and my cheeks were actually flapping.

I was headed straight for the parking lot.  I didn’t want to die and I knew if I didn’t turn I would.  I closed my eyes and leaned left.  I hit the snowbank on the side of the highway so hard my skis came off.  The G-force pushed the skin from my eyelids back and all I saw was a truck with a sign that said, “Hay for sale.”  By then I was airborne with my arms at my sides.  I knew I was dead meat.  The moment I hit, my entire life flashed before my eyes.  The next thing I knew, it was dark. 

My legs were free from the knees down but I couldn’t move my arms, or turn my head.  I was waiting for the voice of the Lord when I realized I had straw in my mouth.  Then I could feel someone tugging on my legs.  It was then I realized I’d hit the bail of hay and was stuck inside.  They eventually had to unroll the bail to free me.  I didn’t make it on the commercial but at least I got paid.  It still hurts when I walk but I’m eating good this week.   


About inuvik61

Filmmaker, apprentice bluesman. columnist, father, husband, master, and champion to all those who missed their boats.
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2 Responses to Ball slappers

  1. harold harry says:

    any pics?

  2. inuvik61 says:

    You don’t believe me?

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