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Action Line returns, none the wiser

Tom Sluis

So, you’re back?

Yep: 16 years was a sufficient sabbatical from writing Action Line.

Well, what in the holy heck were you doing?

The usual. Playing musical chairs with jobs. Paying bills. Worrying about the future. Helping raise two little Action Lines. Trying to keep the monkey mind at bay. Sometimes just floating in the hot tub at night with my first-world problems, staring at the void and wondering, “When does Ska come out with its Mexican Logger?”

Wow, I can’t believe Mike Smedley kept at it for 16 years. Speaking of which, Mike deserves a huge thanks for bringing some levity to our lives. His impact on Durango with Snowdown and “Action Line” cannot be understated when it comes to defining the Durangotang culture. I love you, man (sniff).

So fret not, Action Line is back! Older, fatter and grayer than ever! And still suffering from issues relating to personal space, socially inappropriate conversations and a general lack of psychological filters.

Great! What’s up with those New Mexicans?

(Editor’s note: No. Nooo! NOOOOOOOOO!)

What a great question, but first, what about the Bayfieldians? Or the Cortezans, Doloreans, Mancoosians or Ignacioids?

And specifically, what about the Durangotangs? With their “We don’t need fluoride in the water! Hey, we’re out of free-range kale! Why is everyone so infatuated with me? What do you mean someone stole all the money from the city and now we can’t plow the snow?”

I thought about crank-calling a few people in New Mexico and asking what’s what, but it’s pretty obvious what they would say. “I don’t know, man,” they would say. “We just head north, maybe go skiing or rafting, check out a restaurant, and pretty much just spend lots of money in your expensive town like everyone else.”

I asked Kris Oyler, CEO of Peak Food & Beverage, which owns Steamworks, El Moro Tavern and Bird’s, if we should be nice to people who are not from Durango. He said yes.

“We have a great deal of folks from the Aztec and Farmington areas who are regulars nearly every weekend, particularly at Steamworks,” Oyler said. “Without them, our tourism economy would be far less vibrant and our company would far less successful. We welcome and embrace our New Mexico neighbors.”

We have to be “nice”? And we have to “welcome” and “embrace” people, too? Fine. I will hug the next person who arrives in Durango with the Zia sun symbol on their license plate. Probably have to chase them down the street. “Come back, I have to embrace you! ... I LOVE YOU!” (You’re welcome, Durango Area Tourism Office.)

So here we are. The last time I was driving the Action Line crazy train, the Four Corners was all about chemtrails and the black helicopters sent by the United Nations. Our state representative, Mark Larson, would call and leave me “WHAZZZZZUPPPPP!” messages.

More recently, my wife and I went to a local Gong Show/vaudeville performance where the drunken audience pelted the bad performers with marshmallows. “Oh, (forget) this,” one comedian said before storming off. “You guys (are very frustrating).”

It kind of gave me a warm fuzzy knowing we have not strayed too far from the path. Everyone is still making fun of everyone else, and no one has a monopoly on idiocy.

Speaking of which, until next week, Action Line will be warding off COVID-19 by injecting himself with sunlight and fairy dust, and howling at the moon.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Send your best “How many Durangoans does it take to screw in a light bulb” jokes.

Tom Sluis

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