'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
FIGURE-SKATING PATRIOTS TAKE OFFENSE
In the words of the famous philosopher Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?”
In the past two weeks I have angered two significant segments of the population: fans of figure skating and fans of our national anthem. And the email love note I received from one particular devotee of BOTH figure skating and “The Star Spangled Banner” was, well, simply heart warming. (Heart warming in the sense that she threatened to rip out my heart and set it on fire.)
Believe me, I was not trying to offend anyone with my observations about Olympic figure skating and our national anthem. When I actively TRY to offend someone, they publish it on the Editorial page.
I was simply offering my opinion that figure skating is not a real sport; it is a dance recital on ice. Not to brag, but I think I am well qualified to comment on whether an activity is a real sport or not. After all, I had a fleeting moment of athletic glory three-and-a-half decades ago when my high school football team won the league championship in the now defunct “Pencil-neck-geek white bread league” (official league motto: “We may be small, but we sure are slow”). And that moment of glory, combined with the subsequent 35 years of gazing at ballgames on TV, more than qualifies me as an expert commentator on all things athletic.
So my humble view of figure skating is simple: it ain’t a real sport. I ask you, in what other sport do the contestants wear make-up, sequined costumes, and cry a lot while hugging stuffed animals and bouquets of flowers? (And the women do this, too!)
I realize figure skating appeals to a lot of people—as do other things I can’t quite comprehend, such as Tupperware parties, craft stores, and “The View.” Hey, different jokes for different folks. I never said we should outlaw figure skating. I only said it’s not a real sport.
Regarding the national anthem, again, I was just offering my opinion: it is a lousy song. Just because I observed that “The Star Spangled Banner” is impossible to sing, has awkward lyrics, never once mentions the United States, and uses the melody of an old English drinking song (yes, the same English who were trying to blow up our flag with their rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air), does not mean I am, as one email suggested, an “anti-American, communist, Iranian mullah maggot.” (I’ve never even been to Iran.)
Don’t forget, my commentary was not all negative. I also proposed that we replace “The Star Spangled Banner” with a song that is much more uplifting, easier to sing, and understandable: “America the Beautiful.” (Ray Charles version only.) See? I’m not just an “ignorant, America-hating weasel journalist with nothing positive to say about nothing.” Every once in a while I do say something positive about nothing.
In the spirit of peace and harmony, I propose the following: we should respect each other’s opinions, remembering that our wonderful nation is a wide and vast land, with 300 million citizens, each with his or her own dreams and desires and goals; we should take pride in our diversity, realizing our many opinions and beliefs are the true source of our national strength; and most of all, we should remember that when we send anonymous emails threatening to remove someone’s heart and set it on fire, the FBI has really fancy computer tools that can track down the original sender.
So, please lighten up on the nasty emails, Mom. I was only joking.
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