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xmag.com : October 2000 : The Gospel According to Viva Las Vegas

The Gospel according to Viva Las Vegas - "the laziest gal downtown"

I was at a bar the other night, a tony place downtown that mixes the people who do theater with the people who pay to see it. It's a place where you can eavesdrop on lots of animated conversations and see girls light up stogies after 10PM. However, this time it was different. Everyone, the well-dressed big-diamond folk, the computer geek foursomes, the hot and heavy kids, even the lushes had totally contorted their bodies trying to glimpse the boob tube. What on earth was going on? Earthquake in San Fran? School shooting? Maybe some genius assassinated the V.P. and murdered G.W.?
Nope. The Olympics.

Of course! Still, I was surprised by how engrossed these folks really seemed. What's so amazing about a doped up sinewy length of she-male running from nowhere to nowhere? And in Australia? Who cares?!

I Hate the Olympics

I'll never understand it. It's not like there's any life-or-death drama to it, like gladiators or bull fights. It's a silly contest to see who's lucky stars sided with their obsessive-compulsive disorders on a given day. I'd prefer a Little League game down the street, quite frankly. But you people, you seem to like it. Is it the pomp and circumstance? The alleged fostering of peace amongst nations? The excuse for virulent nationalism? Or just the gold-silver-bronze may-the-best-man-get-the-most-endorsements glory of it all?
These Olympians, they spend every minute of every day in their self-obsessed little routines, eating, breathing, sleeping for one purpose only.....themselves. Talk about ego-mania. Sure, they couch it in laudable language, like, "I wanna be a role model for children everywhere...I wanna bring home the gold for AMERICA." Bullshit. Try "I wanna think about nothing but my body and its needs and its optimum condition so I won't have to think about anything else." It's addiction, baby. Coached by mantras of "Focus, focus, focus!"
My dad breeds Olympians. I was up for the crown of thorns for a while in high school. It wasn't that I wanted to devote my life to skiing, it just took over. And wasted four years of my life. Then it took over my brother's life, and now it's got baby brother seeing the doctor for MRI's cuz his pelvic bone's been fucked up by too much running. He's 18! You fuckin' need a healthy pelvic bone at age 18!
I do think it's laudable to be an athlete, and to do it to the best of your ability, but not to the detriment of every other aspect of your life! It's too self-obsessed. Too focused. The definition of unhealthy. I'd approve of the Olympics much more if Olympians actually worked real jobs, had healthy families AND managed to be incredibly strong, graceful, and FAST.
The mother of my ex-boyfriend, who raised a couple Olympic-caliber athletes, described the pressure like this.
"It's insane. It's all-the-time. You could be at the top of your game, and then sleep wrong on your wrist, get a cold at the wrong time, or have the real world come knocking and you're out for six months, four years, or forever! It's a ton of pressure."
Meanwhile, her son, my ex-, has moved to Bend, where he skies, runs, or bikes for eight or more hours a day. In his spare time he goes door-to-door begging for money so he can continue to lead his busy life of self-obsessed insanity. He likes it, and it looks like he might make the 2002 team, but I know sometimes he regrets it, and wonders what else he could have done with the last four years of his life. But of course, in a corporate world, gold medals and Wheaties box covers are the pinnacle of achievement, and worth laying waste to thousands of young lives.
I just don't get it.



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