Just when you thought it was safe to ...
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 94 19:09:46 PST
Subject: Just when you thought it was safe to ...
Forwarded-by: Martin Jara <Martin_Jara@macmail2.lbl.gov>
Forwarded-by: Karen Warrick
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Peterson)
From: email@example.com (Dave Barry)
Copyright: 1993 by the Miami Herald, R
Subject: Norway's professional bench-icers did their job
LILLEHAMMER, Norway -- In a moment, I will get to the
various Winter Olympic sporting events and how we in the news
media are not allowing them to be overshadowed by Tonya Harding.
But first, I want to tell you about the official opening ceremony,
which was a spectacular and dramatic event that I will remember at
least until my butt thaws out, which won't happen for a long, long
time. Twenty years from now, when I go in for a physical
examination, the doctor will say, "Mr. Barry, you seem to be
perfectly normal, except for the fact that your butt is minus 12
degrees Fahrenheit at the core."
The problem was that the ceremony was held in a stadium
where the spectators sat for three hours on concrete benches
covered with a thick layer of ice. My guess is that the Norwegians
put the ice there on purpose. They probably had professional
bench-icers working all night, because these people LOVE the cold.
Even when it's really, REALLY cold, so cold that we visiting
journalists are afraid to blink for fear that our eyes will freeze
shut and we will be unable to fill out our expense reports, the
Norwegians are walking around outdoors practically naked, happy as
Maybe it's their diet. It consists almost entirely of cold
food, mainly salmon, which seems to show up at every meal in
virtually every form, including ice cream, coffee, cigarettes,
etc. You know how in some hotels, the chambermaids leave you a
piece of chocolate? Well, the other day, the maids in the media
village here left -- I am not making this up -- little packets of
SALMON JERKY. This was in case you woke up at 2 a.m. thinking, as
so many people do, "Whoa, I have not consumed any salmon for SIX
So as you can imagine, after being here for a while, a
person can develop a fearsome case of salmon breath, which is
difficult to get rid of inasmuch as the Norwegians probably use
salmon-flavored toothpaste. Thus, no matter how cold it is,
everybody is happier outdoors.
Everybody was certainly very happy at the opening
ceremony. One highlight, of course, was the arrival, via ski-
jumper, of the Olympic torch, which had spent the past few months
traveling around visiting various historic sites, holding press
conferences, signing endorsement deals, appearing on Letterman,
etc. The torch was impressive, but -- as is so often the case when
you finally see a famous torch in person -- it was not as tall as
I expected. For me, the most dramatic moment in the ceremonies was
when a whole bunch of Norwegians came skiing like lunatics down a
steep hill and, in mid-slope, turned somersaults WHILE CARRYING
FIDDLES. It was amazing. I'd like to see Somersault Fiddle Skiing
become a regular Olympic event. In fact, I think an effort should
be made to involve other instruments; I would pay a lot of money
to see the Piano Ski Jump.
But moving on to the Olympic games themselves: We here in
the U.S. news media are all SICK AND TIRED of the whole Tonya
Harding thing, and we are doing our level best not to let it
overshadow the athletic events. Some of us have even taken the
extreme step of actually talking to athletes other than Nancy
Kerrigan (Yes! There are some!).
"So," we ask these athletes. "What do YOU think of this
Tonya Harding thing?"
Also there has been a major new development on the wolf-
urine front. You may recall that in an earlier column I stated
that, according to reports published in a publication that shall
remain nameless (Sports Illustrated), the Norwegians were putting
wolf urine on the railroad tracks here to repel moose. Well, I
have here a Dallas Morning News report stating that (1) They are
NOT moose, they are elk; and (2) The Norwegians are NOT using wolf
urine to repel them. They are using salmon urine.
No, seriously, they claim they are not using any kind of
urine at all. I will continue to monitor this story and provide
you with updates as warranted. I also plan to look into published
reports here that the cheese slicer was invented by a Norwegian.
Don't thank me: I'm just trying to avoid doing my job.
(C) 1994 THE MIAMI HERALD
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
© 1994 Peter Langston