Monday, August 6, 2012

Musings on the Olympics, or, I am my own commercial

Do you watch the Olympics? If you answered yes, allow me to high-five you; if you answered no, I am puzzled by you!

Watching the Olympics has inspired me. It has inspired me to sit on the couch and watch more Olympics, and then think about all the ways I am unlike the athletes I see -- tumbling through the air, gliding in the water at superhuman speeds, doing strokes with delicate names like the butterfly but which should actually be called the splash-as-much-as-possible-and-look-insane stroke, but nobody asked me, did they. These athletes are tireless and inspiring and amazing, and I'm fascinated!

But maybe there's a selfish reason for it all. Maybe it's because watching somebody do something amazing makes me feel that much more amazing by proxy -- even though I have nothing whatsoever to do with the amazing-ness.

Don't believe me? Take all those TV commercials.

TV commercials, if you've noticed, played during the Olympics suffer from delusions of grandeur. They feature really deep-voiced narrators talking about "greatness" and "commitment" and "doing your best" and usually there's some slow-mo black-and-white movie playing of a girl on the uneven bars, and you think to yourself, "Wow, this is so inspiring!" and a tear comes to your eye.

Then the actual logo for the brand comes onto the screen and you're like, "Oh. Kellogg's cereal." Because nothing says "world champion" like a crunchy flake of corn.

Point being? Kellogg's think's it's great because it can meditate on greatness.

And you know what? I get it.

Allow me to submit an analogy.

read Us Weekly magazine every time I go on any type of hamster-wheel cardio machine. Why? Because looking at celebrities in skin-tight sheath-dresses weirdly makes me feel better about myself, as opposed to worse. It's counter-intuitive, isn't it? On a subterranean level I genuinely believe Jennifer Aniston's discipline and suffering will somehow get absorbed into me by osmosis, and I will henceforth be able to resist all manner of cheeseburger and creamy pasta dish the minute I step off the elliptical.

See, I don't resent her; I pretend I am her.

And the same goes for the Olympics. Michael Phelps has 22 medals, and so do I. We're a pretty great team, aren't we? Yeah, we work hard.

So it is time I thanked these prodigiously talented athletes for making me -- the girl with the clicker sitting on her ass on the couch, chewing licorice, munching corn chips -- feel like I'm a part of something great, all while doing nothing whatsoever to actualize it.

Isn't this, after all, the true essence of being American? In that case, Olympic Team U.S.A. -- with all their hard work, tireless effort, doing rather than dreaming -- could learn a lot from me.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't been watching the Olympics. *hangs head in shame* Not because they aren't the best thing on TV, I'm just too cheap to pay for cable! If Hulu had the Olympics, I'd be all over it.

    On the other hand, congrats to you and Michael Phelps on all those gold medals, I know you/he has trained very diligently for them.