By now you’ve seen the reports: otherwise totally chill and perfectly man-bunned California surfers slap-fighting each other in the lineup. The lashing out appears not to be simple “surf rage” but rather a symptom of an infection that epidemiologists have identified as Mad Dude Disease, so-named because it appears to only infect males. Now scientists believe the contagion recently jumped species into Lake Tahoe skiers. Originally misdiagnosed as a lesser anxiety disorder known as the Powder Panic, Mad Dude is now endemic. Powder skiers exhibit the same symptoms as California surfers, but with less acoustic guitar and up-talking.
The current Mad Dude theory is that a parasitic worm burrows into the brain’s hedonistic cortex where it feeds off of endorphins and, when endorphin-starved, results in extreme irritability. In the ski community, Mad Dude Disease is ascribed with a range of incidents: dustups in ski area parking lots; wrecked cars on the nation’s interstates; Americans acting like the French in lift lines…Mad Dude.
In one legendary case, a famed Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skier pulled a snowboarder backward off balance after she refused to make way for him on the bootpack up Teton Pass. He turtled her. Mad Dude. Last winter, as a few hundred Snowbird skiers waited for patrol to finish their avalanche control work and drop the rope to Mineral Basin, two common Joes ducked the rope. Chaos ensued as the crowd rushed the line, trampling the rope and shredding the bowl. The resort justifiably dealt with them harshly—they could have triggered a slide on a patroller—but a defense of temporary insanity is justified. MDD surely had the fiends. Only an autopsy of the brain will reveal the parasite.
And now, Mad Dude has jumped species once again, this time to mountain bikers originally misdiagnosed with Loam Disease.
That guy feverishly ringing his bike bell and steadfastly refusing to brake as he scatters hikers in zip-off pants and floppy sun hats? He’s sick. A few summers ago, in a mountain bike race in Breckenridge, an un-expecting contestant got it much worse. A chasing racer called out to pass on a downhill, and, obeying the race organizer’s “no dickheads” edict, the slower rider pulled over. But an unseen and unheard second rider was just behind him, frothing at the mouth with MDD. He never called out, and, as the courteous cyclist reentered the course, delivered a direct blow to his left pedal, sending the slower rider and his bike flying down a ravine. The fast guy didn’t even stop. Yes, the dirt was super-tacky that day and you could really lay the bike over, but this isn’t just a “brown powder day” concern. It’s a disease, man.
While scientists are currently working on a vaccine, there is currently no cure. Therefore, the CDC is currently asking all Mad Dude sufferers—surfers, skiers, mountain bikers—to “chill the fuck out.” Pull over, eat a pocket waffle, and let that young couple out for their first mountain bike ride together clear your favorite downhill. Mr. Surf King, please don’t hold that kid underwater. Hey Frenchie, I know it’s a powder day, but step on my skis again and I’ll shove a pole up your ass. Sorry, I’m sick, too.
Just don’t expect such constraint if you get in my way the next time it dumps. You don’t want to be friends with me on a powder day. I’m a mad dude.