CRESTED BUTTE — Several weeks ago, I saw a short news blurb that Budweiser was going to paint a Colorado town blue so it could film a TV party-ad there. Bud rented Crested Butte for a lot of money – one story reported a quarter-million and another reported a half-million dollars, whatever – so it could paint the main street and a bunch of other stuff the color of a robin’s egg, then film a commercial for its “Whatever” ad campaign. I’m not sure what “Whatever” was in reference to, but it could have been in response to the local residents’ complaints about 1. the very idea, and 2. the inevitable hangover. I don’t know about you, but I can’t IMAGINE why people would not be jumping up and down with excitement about having their main street, light poles, sidewalks, fences and even some businesses painted robin egg blue. But, whatever. The town was painted. Some of the residents screamed in horror. A thousand or so partiers were imported. And from the “woo-hoo-look-at-us-having-a-great-time” TV ads, you would think they had a rip-roaring fun
Blue Whatever party. Whatever could go wrong? Blue’s not so bad I suppose. At least you can look at it. Just imagine a town – like La Veta or Walsenburg, for instance – painted magenta, or red. Blue was probably a good background color when someone dropped their cell phone during the party, or their wallet, reading glasses, and spare change. They were probably easy to find against the blue. Also, the public works crew could easily find and clean the spots where partiers who were too lazy to look for a porta-john urinated – you know, like on the fuel pumps at the gas station – because all those spots would have turned green. You don’t think so? Well, I’m pretty sure that happened, because here’s the deal: The company that was supposed to use paint actually used something more along the lines of blue-colored drywall mud or milk of magnesia or some other water soluble blue-tinted gunk. And when it rained, the blue “paint” started running off the main drag onto the side streets, where people’s cars were parked so they wouldn’t get blue paint on them. I’m a little foggy on the exact words, but the old saying “something something a blue streak” comes to mind. I’ll bet the only people who weren’t crying the blues were the ones with cars that were already robin-egg blue. There aren’t a lot of those around these days – although it was a popular color for the Chevy Vega back in the 1970s. [Do not ask how I know this.] Well, once the blue stuff got out of control, Crested Butte public works had to get to work scraping it up, causing even more noise than the original party did, with the unexpected addition of putting a ton of blue dust in the air. Not quite the rocky mountain vacation some people had planned on, causing them to “something something a blue streak.” But Whatever. Well, the original plan for after the party was to repaint the main street, aka Elk Avenue, back to normal, drab “pavement color” – something by the way that I have never seen on those color swatches at the hardware store – at a cost of $20,000. However, with the extended clean-up and all, it turned out that total was more like $70,000. Now, that would buy a lot of beer. And that, my friends, is how EVERYONE in Crested Butte ended up with a hangover from the Blue Whatever party.