Every couple of years, I always wish I had time to watch the Olympics, but I just don’t. That’s why I usually end up apologizing to my boss that some stuff didn’t get done because I was watching the Olympics. I checked out the opening ceremonies, which were riveting, because I love the pageantry. I don’t know exactly what pageantry is, but I love it.
My favorite is the “Parade of Nations.” People walked into the arena from every country in the world, which was already amazing because not every country is within walking distance. There were oddly dressed people on large tricycles leading each country’s team in; people that looked like they would have been asked to leave if it were any place other than Rio. I felt like a character in “Alice in Wonderland,” only I had eaten the wrong dosages of things. Sometimes it looked like a group of people had wandered in looking for Pokemon Go. Other times it looked like Pokemon had already gone.
The athletes were videotaping everyone in the audience, and everyone in the audience was videotaping the athletes. There wasn’t anyone in the arena with more than one eye showing. Which is sad because if you think about it, this is basically the cream of the crop of the human race; just about everyone on the floor of the arena has achieved great feats through their body and skills. Hardly anyone was there because of their great personality.
Some countries were so small, they only had a couple of athletes, maybe a ping-pong player and a guy who is really good at playing the trombone, which is not a recognized Olympic event, at least not yet. I don’t want to seem like more of an ignoramus than usual, but there are so many countries that you just flat-out forget are even out there.
Djibouti, for instance. The harder I try to pronounce it correctly, the harder I get slapped in the face. This might be a case of people assuming things about me that are primarily true. The Luxembourg team promenaded through the arena. That’s a place where you always feel like you overpaid for something, but I can’t put my finger on it.
Spain entered, wearing Panama hats that made them look like they just came from somebody’s 50th birthday party. Chinese Taipei was there, a country smart enough to include their blood type right in the name. You never know when there might be some kind of mishap with the javelin throw or something.
Samoa, where they make great Girl Scout cookies, by the way. Micronesia was represented. You have to root for their country to grow so you can at least see it. Kazakhstan had a team. I tried to use Kazakhstan in Scrabble once but it wasn’t in the Scrabble dictionary and I lost my turn, so I am rooting against them, obviously. France strolled in wearing some slightly goofy-looking outfits. Those bon vivants looked like tourists for once.
The president of the Olympic Committee gave a speech. I was watching it on television in a bar, and my Spanish language lip-reading isn’t as good as it could be, but it was obvious to me that he was quoting from a Michelle Obama speech from 1998.
There wasn’t one person there who didn’t look like they were having the time of their life, and that alone was refreshing. I heard all these stories that Brazil was in shambles, and the corruption, and the Zika virus, and the pickpockets, and the doping scandals, and the blah-ba-di-blah-ba-di-blah. As each delegation walked in, and no one said the word “Trump” even once, I realized that Rio might not be so bad after all.
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