My wife Kara and I were both greatly not-at-all anticipating the start of the Winter Olympics this year. We just don’t catch Biathlon Fever like the Norwegians do, although we hear that Avian Biathlon Fever might be pretty big soon.
Regardless, we’ve found ourselves oddly drawn to the hodgepodge of eclectic sports that make up the Winter Games. It’s actually kind of fun to watch the events at the end of the day, pretending that the whole world hasn’t known the results for several hours, and trying to forget that we already heard the winners announced on the radio during the drive home. It’s entertainment enough just to watch Bob Costas drag out every event until the three minutes before the 11:00 news comes on.
The other night, Kara flicked on the TV and said, “Oh, look, figure skating’s on!” She said this with genuine enthusiasm, the same way I might say, “The doctor said I’m not allowed to shovel snow anymore! Here, let me show you where we keep the shovels.”
But her enthusiasm faded quickly. “Wait, never mind. It’s just ice dancing,” she announced.
We were soon to find out that ice dancing is just like figure skating, but with all the exciting parts removed — nary a triple salchow to be found. If we were taking the SATs right now, we might even say figure skating : ice dancing :: kinda cool : pretty lame.
After a few minutes of watching the compulsory dance, in which every pair of skaters performed the exact same dance to the exact same music, Kara said, “It’s like watching the Nutcracker, but boring.” Actually, they should spice up ice dancing by having the skaters perform while wearing huge Nutcracker or Buzz Lightyear costumes; this would also help the skaters practice up for their post-Olympic Ice Capade careers.
We did finally realize why the ice dancing competition was getting so much air time, though: the female skater on the American team was really, really hot.
“Wow, she’s really hot.” Kara said. Then she turned to me and asked, “Isn’t she?”
Sensing a trap, I replied, “You’re hotter.”
Then I looked over at Kara. She had just applied what she calls a “deep-pore cleansing mask” to her face, which sounds like fancy stuff, but to me is indistinguishable from spackle. She looked like, and I mean this in the most flattering way possible, a damaged wall that Bob Vila has just prepped for a coat of Dry-Lock. Or maybe a little bit like Skeletor from the old He-Man cartoons.
“Well, maybe you’re not hotter right this second,” I clarified, “but usually you are.” With that comment, I dropped out of medal contention altogether.
What’s most striking about the Olympics is the staggering number of commercials. The Olympic coverage seems to cut to commercial about every three minutes, at which time the TV volume magically cranks up so loud that pictures start falling off the wall.
“These commercials sure are loud!” Kara yelled to me, pinned sideways to the wall by the amplitude of the sound waves.
“What? I can’t hear you!” I replied, the Visa commercial making my face ripple like James Bond’s when he was stuck in the G-force simulator.
If they want more people to watch those ads, they don’t need to crank up the volume. They just need to add some quality new events, like Olympic Snowball Fight. That would be awesome.
Perhaps they haven’t done it because Olympic Snowball Fight would probably end the same way every other snowball fight ends; somebody would make a watermelon-sized snowboulder and drop it on somebody else’s head, and then Olympic Snowball Fight would turn into Olympic Regular Fight. Still, that would be fun to watch, too.
You can do a synchronized triple axle/double toe loop with Mike Todd online at firstname.lastname@example.org.