Wrong Side of the Mountain |
by John Gosselink
| Alfred. E.
about you, but I'm being eaten up with Olympic fever. I've spent a good two, maybe
three, minutes voluntarily watching the Winter Olympics, most of which time I
was frantically searching the couch cushions for the remote.|
Have I gotten
older and crankier or have the Olympics gotten weirder? As I remember them from
watching as a kid, the cold Olympics had cool events with guys with really skinny
skies flying off huge ramps and not dying, down hillers doing 80 down the side
of a mountain, wiping out, and making that neat cartoon "growing snow ball" thing,
and ugly, big hipped figure skaters knee-capping the pretty ones. Now that was
some good watching.
What little I've seen of this year's Olympics (where
are they being held? Turin, Torino, Toledo, Tallahasse maybe?) has either confused
me or made me feel uncomfortable. Have you seen the event where two guys in skin
tight body suits lay on top of each other and fly down a bobsled track on an unseen
sled? At least I hope there's a sled under there.
This raises all kinds
of questions. First, how does one decide he might be good at laying on another
guy and sliding down a mountain? Do they take turns being on the bottom? Are their
particular skill sets which determine top or bottom? Is it possible to watch this
event without making a joke referencing a recently Oscar nominated movie about
really friendly cowboys and then chuckling uncomfortably?
all these new snow board events competed in by what looks like kids from our skateboard
park. There's a lot of unnatural flipping, unkempt hair, and "attitude." Lots
and lots of "attitude." I don't even know what this "attitude" is, poor hygiene
maybe, but the announcers use that word a lot. I prefer screaming at these kids
to get off the sidewalk to watching them 360 granny kick on the half pipe.
I have no idea what that last phrase even means.
gotten the impression they're making up events as they go. It feels like an old
Judy Garland / Mickey Rooney movie in which the neighborhood kids have to put
on a show to save the old firehouse.
"Hey kids, gather up! Let's put on
a sporting event and charge admission! And not those boring old events. Hugo,
Sparky, Frankie, and Blue, you all ski down the hill bumping and pushing Ben-Hur
chariot race style. Suzy and Chuck, do that figure skating thing you do, but we'll
call it 'ice dancing.' And wear something sparkly. Billy and Jo-Jo, ski slowly
around a pasture, stopping occasionally to shoot at something for no apparent
reason. The rest of you, just lay on top of each other or something. Hooray, we
can do it if we believe in ourselves!!"
If we're going to make up events,
why not have some that Southerners can relate to. How about the "drive on icy
roads with Texans" mile. Since none of us know how to drive correctly on ice -
"Ma, is it turn into or turn away from a slide? Ah forget it, I'll just punch
it and hope for the best. Hey, who put that embankment there?"- this combination
destruction derby / Miracle mile will test contestants' reflexes and will to survive.
This is surely a ratings getter.
We could also have "last second pipe
wrap" dash in which participants simulate driving home from work and hearing that
the first hard freeze of the winter is going to hit that night. The contestant
than has 21 minutes before nightfall to run around all hurley-gurley trying to
find insulation tubes, old towels, anything he can find to wrap as many exposed
pipes he can. The losers have to stay up all night listening to 14 faucets drip
and imagining they hear pipes bursting.
For our more creative athletes,
we could have the "pathetic attempt to persuade yourself a light icing is a snow
fall" biathlon. In the first event, the athlete would try to persuade a parent
/ school administrator / employer type authority figure that a blizzard has hit
the area and that school / work should be canceled. Then, in order to continue
this charade, the athlete must attempt to make a snow man with a couple of handfuls
of dirty ice scraped from the corner of the driveway. Contestants will be penalized
if they make "snowballs" to throw at each other since, since this "snow" is mostly
just ice and gravel, which would hurt.
I know these are a stretch, but
if we're going to weird up the Olympics, let's really weird them up. With one
appendum. Though it's weird, I'm still of the mind that the less events in which
we have people laying on top of each other, the better.