A writer’s job is to take a look at the issues, and try to see them in a whole new way or from a completely different, radical perspective. This can be done through A) lots of in-depth research or B) the regular use of hard drugs.
Because a single aspirin can make me too loopy to write, I have to rely on research. Since I like to write about global issues, this means that I am forced — forced, I say — to travel to exotic locations around the world, especially those regions that have warm, sunny beaches populated by scantily clad people.
What I’m trying to say here is that I am gearing up to investigate the dynamic interaction of nation states in a 21st century context. It will only look like I am sitting in front of the TV watching my favorite winter Olympic sports, which only coincidentally feature lots of well-built humans in skin tight athletic wear.
As I know many of you are also concerned about serious problems like, um, the position of the individual in a collectivist society, I have created this handy guide to the Olympics, (which I will call Chandra’s Handy Guide to the Olympics) so you can do research too. This completely unbiased glossary (Go Canada!) will explain some of the sporting events you will see.
Alpine Skiing: In this event, athletes strap thin, waxed boards onto their feet so they can hurl themselves down a mountain at Mach 1. A gold medal is awarded to the person with the fewest number of broken bones. It is called alpine skiing because most race courses are bordered by trees, i.e., ‘He lost control and it was all pine after that.’
Bobsleigh: Competitors throw themselves into a box that has no visible steering or braking system and race down a track covered in ice. In many ways, this sport is like the morning commute in Alberta or Minnesota. It is called Bobsleigh because Petesleigh would be a silly name.
Curling: In an ice rink, one player will shoot a large piece of granite toward a target. (Canada Rules!) His teammates will frantically sweep the ice in front of the granite as it slides, because as everyone knows, you have to make ice slippery. It’s called curling because the sport was invented in Scotland, and thrifty Scots believe that calling it ‘Sliding a large piece of granite toward a target’ would be spending too many words.
Figure Skating: An amazing sport wherein people stick metal blades to their shoes and do crazy maneuvers like the Triple Lutz and the Platter Lift. These are not to be confused with the moves I do on the ice, which are known as the Triple Klutz and the Splatter Lift. The sport got its name when someone observed the first known skater and said, ‘He’s voluntarily jumping off the ice and trying to land?! Go figure!’
Ice Hockey: A sport at which Canadians will kick winter Olympic butt. As for its name, only Americans call it ‘ice hockey,’ perhaps because they don’t want it confused with, say, meadow hockey or sand dune hockey.
Nordic Combined: This is either Swedish pornography or a cross-country skiing event. As the participants all wear those skin tight body suits, I’ll let you be the judge.
Skeleton: Athletes who must have experienced head injuries at some point in their career (see ‘all pine,’ above) lie belly down and head first on a sled and race down a mountain. It’s called skeleton because the player who arrives at the bottom of the mountain with one intact, wins.
Snow Boarding: Many people believe this sport was also invented by the Scots because A) it uses only one ski instead of two and B) has moves with names like ‘Air to Fakie’ which sounds like a line out of a Robbie Burns poem. However it also has American moves (McTwist, Pop Tart) and British moves (Roast Beef Air), which makes it a truly international sport. Nevertheless, Canadians will kick winter Olympic butt here too, and anyone who says otherwise is just blowing (or inhaling) smoke.
Oh, and in case you have any doubt as to what team I support: Rah! Rah! Ca-na-da!