Thus Always to Traitors (Lauren Hoaglund)

This is the story of a betrayal so infamous, so diabolical, so preposterous, it is sure to live on through all generations. At least in my family. If you shudder at the thought of such monstrous treachery, turn back now and scroll down to read an article about a movie review or the recent senior thesis presentations. But if your heart longs to know the struggles of a poor, crippled, middle child trying to escape the grasps of her jealous and spiteful cousins and sisters, read on. You’ve been warned.

Every year my family and I go to Crested Butte, Colorado for a ski trip with our three cousins, aunt, and grandparents. And every year we have two slopes that all six grandchildren treat as race courses. At the end of the week long trip, we tally up our points from our daily competitions and declare the winner for that year.

As some of you may know, I injured my knee last year and had surgery to fix it this past May, which I had assumed would essentially destroy my hopes of winning so much as a single race. So as I went down the first course, knee brace and all, I had very low expectations. Against all odds, I dominated. And not just once. Every day on every slope, I was placing first and sending my cousins and sisters into a jealous rage.

Later in the week we were competing in a relay race in which my team was, of course, winning routinely.  As we neared the last race of the day, I suspected mischief from my competitors and thus sought the help of fellow teammates to keep me safe from malevolent family members. Unbeknownst to me, one of my teammates, my cousin John Pender (yes, that’s two first names, never a good sign), had allied himself with my sister Maddie and other cousin Jacob, who had long been envious of my winning streak. As we stood on the line, I gave John Pender who was on my left a confident head nod, thinking he had my back. Then as Maddie finally reached the end of her count down, I plunged my ski poles into the snow to propel myself forward.

As I did so, Jacob and John Pender unbuckled my skis, causing me to launch myself face first into the snow. I scrambled on the ground, wildly grabbing for my enemies’ ski, but to no avail. They were down the hill, and I was cleaning up the yardsale. My flawless winning record was ruined. I marched back to the start, reattached my skis, and began plotting my revenge.

As we got to the top of the next hill, my cousins and sisters still chuckled at their dastardly behavior. I smiled innocently, appearing to go along with the joke. Then quietly and quickly, I unclipped the left ski from John Pender’s boot, scooped it up, tucked it under my arm, and proceeded to ski down the mountain, throwing it into a nearby snowbank at the bottom.

It would be nearly impossible to describe the sublime pleasure of watching my wicked cousin wabble, swoop, and fall in a repeating pattern of clumsiness all the way down the slope.

Ah well. . . thus always to traitors.

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