Sunday, January 22, 2006

A little from Column A, a little from Column B

First, the immediate: I am happy to see the Seattle Seahawks go to the Super Bowl. One reason is that Lofa Tatupu always reminds me of the Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment suit.

I attended my first baby shower today. The men in attendance were lured with beer and the promise of no gift-opening session. Both promises were fulfilled, gloriously. At one point, several of us discussed a proposition that would ensure high ratings for the Olympics: having an Average Joe or Jane compete in every event. This would a) provide an automatic rooting interest, but more importantly, would b) demonstrate a baseline level of skill that would allow viewers to more fully appreciate the competition. Hurdles would be enjoyable to watch. So would the shot put, or the pole vault, or the luge. The biggest gain from such a plan would be in the low-prestige sports like curling or table tennis: the folks at home would go from saying "Hey, that takes no athletic ability; I could do that" to saying "My sweet Lord, that Bambang Suboko is a demigod with the shuttlecock." So of course we spent over an hour going through every sport we could think of, imagining out loud how we ourselves would do; this sounds tedious and annoying, but please recall that we were at a baby shower. Nearly drowning in the butterfly relay, laboriously climbing over each hurdle, having my time halved in the 100m dash; all these images seemed disproportionately funny to me at the time.

Lastly: being as I am in the midst of a Joan Didion mini-marathon (more like a 10k), I am beginning to regard everyone, including myself, as unconscious exemplars of worldviews that are deeply strange, unexamined, troubling, moving. Because I do not wish to wear these glasses all the time, you may imagine my relief upon discovering that viewing televised sports whilst drinking beer acts as a strong counterweight to critical observation and introspection.