Remembering the Olympics
by John Jonelis
“That’s just wrong!” says Loop Lonagan as he grabs his remote control, skips ahead on the DVR, and a major Olympic event flashes by the screen too fast to recognize. We immediately voice our outrage—all of us: Mark T Wayne, William Shakes, Donatas Ludditis, and me.
T.WAYNE – “Go back—go back you idiot!”
ME – “What’d we just miss?”
T.WAYNE – “The entire race—that’s what we missed! Execrable!”
Things are usually more congenial. We like watching the Olympics at Lonagan’s penthouse condo. And we like the 20 ft. OLED Jumbotron, the glass-wall view of the lake, the Swedish waitresses plying us with drinks and food as we wallow in reclining chairs. Who wouldn’t? Every two years we do it—our own private marathon! AND WE WATCH IT ALL. Skipping events is not taken lightly.
Loop records every event on every station and presents it all to us in the most excellent way. He’s a master of the remote! His skill and judgement add immeasurably to our enjoyment! We race past the talking heads. Don’t even stop to hear athlete interviews. Who has time or patience for such drivel? There’s always another sport to watch and no shortage at all! And every one of them is performed with such extraordinary skill! I absolutely love watching the Olympics this way.
Take figure skating for instance. Before Loop created our marathon, I’d watch the event live and quickly overflow with indignation at unfair judging. I’d get rowdy, vocal, and loud—probably turn purple—and spoil my appreciation of the skill displayed on ice. I hate to imagine my effect on other poor souls cursed by close proximity to my fury. Loop eliminates all that. Turns out, I find the sport a whole lot more enjoyable if we just watch the excellent skating and wait till the end to see the lineup of winners.
But this time, he’s taken it upon himself to skip an entire event without so much as asking for a vote.
T.WAYNE – “May I point out, Mr. Lonagan, that your action is entirely outside the realm of polite behavior and unbecoming a host. We agreed to vote. Because of that rule, I sat through a flighty ice dancing competition night after night—certainly not an event worthy of Olympic glory like biathlon or hockey—and I held my tongue (if not my liquor) and filed no complaint! But this—this is inexcusable!”
LUDDITIS – “I agree with Mr. Wayne. Is not right what you do. You must go back.”
LONAGAN – “Wadda you say, Will?”
SHAKES – “Methinks tis sport to race. To aver smacks pie on thy face.”
With the revolt heated and noisy, Loop’s dog Clamps wakes up and quick as a short track skater, snaps food off plates precariously perched on large bellies. I hold my shrimp cocktail high over my head, hoping he doesn’t attack. An 85 lb. Bull Terrier is capable of snapping a 2×4 with his jaws.
LONAGAN – “Clamps! Down! Okay you guys—if that’s what you’se all want. I’m windin’ it back. But yer all gonna be sorry. Just sayin’.”
LUDDITIS – “Is better you do right thing.”
T.WAYNE – “Here, here!”
Lonagan cues up the recording and the first competitors in doubles luge begin their run.
LUDDITIS – (wiping his glasses) “Something not right. I see two stiff bodies—piled like corpses.”
SHAKES – “Tis a foul sled that slides no good.”
ME – “What’s the purpose of the second guy, anyway? Looks to me like the one on the bottom gets his stuffings squeezed out. Kinda awkward.”
T.WAYNE – “Patently vulgar and preposterous! Ought not to be allowed!”
SHAKES – “When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools”
LONAGAN – “I tried t’ spare you guys all that pain. There’s hardly room fer ONE guy on dem little lude sleds. And think about it—they practice like that fer four whole years. Kinda stretches da ‘magination, don’t it? ‘Course, it might be good if just one of ‘em went down holdin’ a greased pig. Er maybe a keg and see who can empty it the fastest.”
LUDDITIS – “I wonder if parents are proud.”
T.WAYNE – “Those men should be taken out and shot!”
LONAGAN – “Okay dat’s unanimous. Let’s see what we got next.”
And while we watch the next sport, I attempt to drive the foul image out of my memory.
With thanks for inspiration from Jeremie Freund.
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