Trying to show my good side

Derek Franz
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado


The words caught me off guard.

I had just buckled the chin strap on my helmet and was leaving to get my snowboard when our photog, Kara, asked me to sign a legal waiver.

Like many Colorado natives would, I grabbed a pen to sign away “life, blood and bone, yadda yadda will not sue …” when I realized this form was unfamiliar.

“… Hereby grants permission for [named company] to use [x’s] name, face, likeness or soul for any reason or purpose, etc., that might in someway profit, in any way, said company.”

Whoa. The pen quivered in my hand. I’ve competed in big-air events, but I suddenly feared what I was about to sign up for, and hesitated. But the logos were already covering my body. I had sold out, and it made me feel even trashier that I’d done it for little more than a burger and a beer.

The words of Derek Zoolander already echoed in my brain: “Model … idiot.”

At first it was annoying because we couldn’t ride more than 100 yards at a time. Kara would stop us in the middle of a good run and then ski down to set up for the shot, which was always on my bad side (Hello ” I’m regular, not goofy-footed). Plus it was getting really warm and we couldn’t take our jackets off because those were part of the contract. All the while I had to watch little grommets sideslip over virgin corduroy snow that would’ve been mine to slash into clean, even arcs.

But then I found something else. I got to throw snowballs and hang out with friends I normally wouldn’t see until the bottom of a run. That alone made for a unique day for a guy who has spent most of his life chasing after the concept of “rad” (often confused with “sad”).

Then, of course, there was the burger and the beer at the end of it all. I even got to sit next to a pretty girl as we shamelessly glorified alcohol consumption for the camera. (“I dare say, Liz, I’m having such a magnificent life experience drinking Coors Light in my Obermeyer jacket! Aren’t you?”)

I’d forgotten about that moment last spring until my co-worker tossed a Sunlight brochure onto my desk the other day.

“You’re famous, ya know.”

What? I opened the pamphlet and there I was, faking it, sort of. (Naturally, Kara got my bad side, which makes my nose look big.) Just like I am now.

Modeling has its aspects of vanity just like writing does. I wanted to type something insightful for print on this Christmas Day. But my mind is too clouded with all the traveling ahead of me, and the shopping, and the broken car, and my sick pet frog that isn’t eating.

I wish I could say life is merry and bright and flawless, filled with family and love. In between all that, however, is a lot of lonely driving on icy roads. If you’re not honest with yourself about where you want to go, you’ll never get there.

So, this is where I admit that I’m a first-class wannabe, wishing he was a writer with ideas and inspiration that might stir the goodness that often settles in the bottom of the human spirit.

As much as I love to pose as the wise, humble author, sipping coffee at cafes with a spiral notebook, I am a poser.

If I stumble into anything worth reading, it’s only because I’ve managed to be honest with myself.

I don’t think there is such thing as a writer, because, when I’m doing it right, writing feels like taking a dump. How can I “be” that all the time? No … I’m a model. Perhaps a model idiot, or a model citizen, or whatever hat I happen to be wearing, but I’m trying to be a model for honesty. And if I’m lucky, my good side will be the one showing through more often.

Call me “big nose” one more time, though, and I’ll wallop you!

Derek Franz watches too much Monty Python, which he blames for his twisted humor. He can be reached at 384-9113 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.