The tube of ski wax remover flaunted the words “Environmentally Friendly” on its label. It sure smelled lemony fresh. Knowing I would not be harming the environment, I hurried home from the sports store to get my skis ready for the upcoming season. A quick spritz on the rag, a little elbow grease, a few rubs……nothing. The wax on the ski base stared back up at me, unchanged, as if to say, “Sorry, but I’m fine right here.” I reread the directions, poured a more generous shot onto the rag, and scrubbed the ski the way a high-schooler scrubs a beer stain he’s left on the upholstery of his dad’s Vista Cruiser. After ten minutes the rag showed only the slightest hint of a wax-colored stain where it contacted the ski.
Exasperated, I searched for another option and opened up the case of ski gear I inherited from my dad. The case had not been opened since the seventies–that era when a young EPA was only beginning to crawl from its primordial stew; when industry laughed and danced in its toxic bliss; when officials were still trying to find a way to put out that river that caught fire in Ohio.
The back of this tube had words like “Hexafluoroacetone” and “Trimethyoxysilane.” Yellow warning triangles peppered the back of the package. I saw the typical “Corrosive” sign: the one that pictures a vile of liquid spilling over some poor sap’s hand as it devours his fingers like alien blood eating through a spaceship hull. Another sign seemed a bit less clear but appeared to show a baby with two heads, presumably because its father didn’t wear a full hazmat suit when using the product.
I quickly removed the cap, took a short whiff and spent the next ten seconds convinced that someone attached my head to one of those machines used to test car suspensions. With stinging eyes and bleeding gums I passed the rag over the wax. One pass was enough. The wax beaded up, jumped off the skis, and screamed, “DEAR GOD! HELP ME!” as it fell to the floor.
In six seconds the job was done. The bases gleamed like new. I quickly rinsed the rag out in the sink but immediately wondered if that would be a problem. Over the next few weeks I noticed several trees in the neighborhood reaching down and scooping up small dogs. I still wonder if the two had anything to do with each other.
This week’s recommendation:
Bonterra 2009, Chardonnay ($12.99): With wine, eco-friendly does NOT mean a lesser product. All of Bonterra’s wines are made with certified organic grapes. This Chardonnay is delicious and tastes of green apple and pear–which is pretty much the exact opposite of Trimethyoxysilane and Hexafluoroacetone.