Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: An inexperienced skier is caught at the top of a run in desperate need of washroom facilities. Her attempts to unobtrusively relieve herself in the bushes at the side of the run lead to a high-speed, backwards Lady Godiva performance, broken limbs, and an embarrassing encounter in the hospital emergency room.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1996]
The story succeeds as well as it does by provoking an unbidden yet powerfully humorous mental image. One sees in the mind's eye the unfortunate woman skiing bare-assed down the slopes and the man who catches sight of her so disconcerted by what he sees he runs into a tree.
Storytellers regale others with this yarn simply because the picture it provokes is undeniably appealing. Surprisingly, I've yet to encounter a version in which it's told as anything but an urban legend — I would have expected by now to have stumbled across a "joke" version in which there's no pretence about the participants being anything other than fictional. Yet I haven't. In every telling, the mishap is presented as having happened to real people. Likely it works better as a funny story that way.
Barbara "man, was that lady piste!" Mikkelson
Sightings:   In an episode of The John Larroquette Show, the character Carly Watkins (Gigi Rice) explains how she got started in the prostitution business by claiming this incident had happened to her.
Last updated: 27 December 2004
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