By: Jackson Hogen
Published: November 12, 2019
In a stunning upset that has shaken the very foundations of the sports media world, Realskiers.com has been awarded the first Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence. The precise nature of the excellence being recognized is deliberately vague, according to award co-creator David Bertoni, which he claims both reflects the quantum nature of human experience and allows the scope of the Stump-Bertoni Prize to inflate as necessary to cover the extreme, ever-expanding excellence that Realskiers.com fairly reeks of.
The Supreme Prelate masters his turbulent emotions after receiving the Stump-Bertoni Prize. In the unlikely event of an honorarium, Il Pape plans to donate a smidgeon of it to charity.
“I have scrupulously examined all the perishable printed materials I could find in my attic,” intoned S-BP co-creator Gregory Stump at the A-list-only awards ceremony, “and could find no irrefutable evidence of superior writing, nor a greater grasp of underlying principles, nor a more slavish devotion to lyrical exposition about arcana that so few people really care about, at least not among my circle of acquaintances and hangers-on.”
When the applause died down, Stump droned on, the flop-sweat on his brow mingling with his tears of self-appreciation. “Alone among ski media,” he sobbed, “Realskiers.com has shown a flagrant disregard for convention, its reporting frequently deviating into areas where the contributor’s competence is at best in a developmental stage. The daring, the presumption and the sheer unwillingness to obey the rules of grammar or the dictates of logic put Realskiers.com on a pedestal its competitors can only gawk at, as it’s difficult for them to verbalize their feelings.”
The controversies that swirled around the Grand Ballroom of Stump’s lavish log home where the Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence induction ceremony was held focused on the enigmatic careers of the award’s eponyms. Bertoni is said to be something of an éminence grise on the Dark Web where he vends his own cryptocurrency. Now in the twilight of his largely uneventful life, he sits on the boards of multiple charities, including one that provides sign language lessons to ventriloquists.
Stump is another matter entirely. Somehow he has leveraged a brief career as a purveyor of ski porn into a fortune that he has largely hidden or perhaps spent. When not battling persistent narcolepsy, Stump devotes his waking hours to funding the intended cash gift meant to accompany the S-BP4E.
It’s because Stump’s efforts in this regard have been a spectacular disappointment that you now find yourself pissing your life away reading this announcement. When accepting the S-BP4E on behalf of Realskiers.com, editor Jackson Hogen, Inc. (for tax purposes) was clearly swept away on a tide of emotion when he blurted something about the award being very nice – quite the surprise, really – but would have been ever so much more prestigious if it were accompanied by a 6-figure check or perhaps a wad of Bertoni’s cryptocurrency, if that’s the best we can do.
A behind-the-scenes glimpse of Hogen receiving the inaugural Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence from an A-list celebrity (guess who?) playing the part of Napoleon.
In order to maintain the rigorous objectivity that has made the Stump-Bertoni Prize a benchmark award in its first year, Bertoni refuses to meet Stump and the latter vigorously and somewhat profanely denies ever having ever met the former. Given that they’re separated by a broad continent geographically and by a bottomless abyss intellectually, it’s a miracle they can agree on any award recipient, much less one as unexpected, controversial and incorporated as Realskiers.com.
[It’s at moments like this that I’m reminded of the deathless words of Mitt Romney, who said, in response to a heckler at a stump speech, “Corporations are people, too, my friend.”]
As the conference convened to celebrate the annunciation of Realskiers.com as First Recipient of the Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence imploded to a close, speculations congealed around the possibility that Realskiers.com might retain the S-BP4E in perpetuity, or at least for several more years. This despite the fact that the nomination process is most clearly described as “murky,” and final balloting is known to be contentious and time consuming, despite requiring only two votes to be official.
The very impressive Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence medallion. [Shown actual size.]
When the Stump-Bertoni Prize for Excellence was drawing up its first charter, an impasse loomed over whether the organization should have strict rules that were laxly enforced, or almost no rules that were brutally enforced. For reasons that should be obvious to any primate, the Founders chose to have ironclad regulations with no oversight. The result of this coup d’intelligence is the universal understanding that Realskiers.com represents the highest achievement attainable in sports media, with or without chemical assistance.
At the end of the day, the highest and most holy form of appreciation is cash. Remember when, as a kid, you had some relative that always gave you dollar bills, not many, but hey, cash! That feeling never really goes away. If you were truly serious about helping Realskiers.com recapture that feeling of youth’s promise fulfilled, you’d send some of your money to Jackson, as a way of saying, well, whatever you want it to say. You can attach a note.
You have just experienced what we in the fund-raising trade refer to as “the elliptical approach,” terminology that helps disguise our motives. Of course, what we’re really trying to do is suggest a way for you to improve your chances for Salvation by contributing to a worthy cause much, much larger than yourself.
The next time you catch yourself staring off into space, wondering why on earth you came into such and such a room, seize that moment to sign up for a Realskiers.com subscription, without which skiing life itself would not be possible.