Posts Tagged ‘Umbrellas’

Olympic Outrage: Uniforms, Fries and Umbrellas

Finally- an area of agreement between our dysfunctional political parties. Everybody hates the U.S. Olympic team’s outfits that will be worn for the big opening ceremonies in London. This is because they are made in China and, apparently, because they have berets that look kind of French.

There hasn’t been this much outrage since it was discovered by the Athenians back at the first Games in 700 B.C., that their togas and sandals had actually been made by the Spartans. There was also great angst back then in regard to the new headwear made from olive branches. For everybody, of course, except Caesar, a Roman, who liked the look and adopted it for his own years later.

As for solutions to the made-in-China problem, Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, suggests throwing all the uniforms in a large pile and burning them. While this would be deeply satisfying for many, it seems a waste of expensive material. Can we just give the uniforms to the actual Chinese? Or- perhaps we can quickly make the Chinese team’s uniforms and call it even?

As for the jaunty little hats. Those wacky folks at Fox and Friends, the morning news show famous for its measured response to the great issues facing American society, put on French accents and had a good ol’ time making fun of the look earlier this week, implying the berets were kind of effeminate and something only wusses would wear. Who would don such a thing, for crying out loud? MSNBC answered last night on the Ed Show. Oh, yeah- these guys:

Speaking of things that look French, an even bigger problem in my view is the great French Fry Scandal that has now engulfed the games. As an official sponsor, McDonalds has strong-armed the Olympic committee into giving them the sole right to sell fries. No other vendor can violate this exclusive arrangement. Except for those that sell them along with fish, in which case, they are no longer fries, they are now “chips.”

Official Fries of the Olympics (left) Unofficial but Acceptable Olympic Fries (right)

This is nothing new. A HUGE controversy erupted at the first games regarding the barley, wheat and grape concessions. It turned into a nasty little row between Epemetheus (husband of Pandora of the famous box) and Achilles (of ‘heel’ fame). Epemetheus ended up with the wheat and barley, Achilles with the grapes, but a third vendor, McDonaldoclese ended up making a killing winning the exclusive wild boar and mutton concessions.

And, of course. the biggest outrage of all is the stuff attendees of the London Olympics are not allowed to bring into any of the stadiums or other venues. No bottled water. No large, golf-style umbrellas or oversize hats. No Frisbees, hunting horns, drums, vuvuzelas or whistles.

There were no such restrictions at the first games. Pig bladder water containers were welcome. Daggers were allowed. Even gigantic war horns.

Clearly, times have changed- and not for the better. I am sure the organizers of the first games would have rued the day they allowed their athletic competition to be taken over by exclusive sponsors, corporations and heavy-handed governments.

It’s un-American, I tell you, and I am angered by all of it. Why? Because, as everyone knows, it is mandatory now to be outraged by something at all times and the Olympics last a long time- like a month or so- so this covers my outrage quota through damn near the end of August. Ah, August- a month I’ve always hated.

The Benefits of Umbrellas

Actually, what I’m talking about is the disadvantage of not having an umbrella when you need one. I’m not a driveway-to-parking garage kind of person. I don’t have a car. I walk. And I somehow missed the forecast and left both of my umbrellas and a lovely rain coat…at work.

So I employed several strategies in the face of this morning’s steady rain.

♦ I tried to get it to stop raining. If I had known any rain dances, I would have done a reverse one, but regrettably, none of my Native-American friends have ever taught me any.

Then I had a brief, fruitless conversation with God. He and I have a complicated, occasionally humorous relationship, but I think he had other issues to deal with this morning, because he did absolutely nothing to even slow the pace of the rainfall, much less make it go away.

♦ I asked the concierge at the front desk of my apartment building if anyone had recently left an umbrella in the lost and found. “No, I’m sorry, Mr. Garcia- got nothing. We used to have complimentary umbrellas but nobody returned them.” The bastards, I thought to myself. Here, these selfish little yuppies take a perfectly good communal “complimentary umbrella” program and ruin the whole thing by stealing umbrellas. I’m sure they didn’t think of it as stealing, more like extended borrowing, but nonetheless, their actions over the years had now compounded my predicament.

♦ I tried to make an umbrella magically appear out of nowhere by returning to my apartment and wishing it to be so. This is somewhat similar to my earlier conversation with God only I was trying to conjure up my own, unassisted miracle. It was not totally irrational- sometimes, you know, you have stuff you don’t even realize hanging around in assorted closets. Not this morning.

♦ I pouted for a short period of time. “This would not be happening to me if I was still in New York,” I said quietly to the cats. “They sell umbrellas everywhere in Manhattan. The corner hot dog stand guy sells ‘em, for crying out loud.” There was a drug store like 100 feet from my apartment on the Upper West side; here in DC- forget it, it’s like a half a mile.

♦ I sucked it up, went out onto the street and as I am getting soaked, I’m thinking to myself, “This really isn’t so bad, it’s just a light rain. I’ve seen monsoons. This is nothing like a monsoon.” I duck under an awning at a closed Chinatown restaurant, see my reflection in a window and realize, no, I am really, really wet; my suit is wet and my hair is wet and I look like some kind of rat that snuck off some Liberian container ship at the Port of Baltimore.

♦ Suddenly my cell-phone rings. It’s the concierge. “Mr. Garcia, are you still near the building?” “Ha!” I’m thinking to myself- an umbrella has turned up! No. It just occurred to her that I could have asked her to call me a cab. Yeah, woulda, coulda, shoulda. “Thanks, but I’m too far down the road, buh bye.”

♦ I look enviously at every one else on the street with an umbrella. How could these people all be so well prepared? I start criticizing them in my head. “You know what? They’re all anal retentive. Keeping their little umbrellas stashed neatly by their front doors, probably in actual umbrella stands, next to their friggin’ galoshes.” This feeling is not unlike the time you forgot your #2 pencil and your school books in the 2nd grade and everyone else is prepared and you aren’t.

♦ I ran. This made progress quicker and I was surprised that my usually right bum knee was responding pretty well as I dashed across Massachusetts avenue. Home stretch- just a half a block to go. Puddles be damned! I’m soaked but I see the goal- I’m there! Immediate visit to the men’s room to try to make myself presentable.

♦ It was kind of an emotional reunion as I finally unlocked my office door and turned on the light. There were all my little friends. Primary black Umbrella #1. Principle Back-up, blue Umbrella #2. London Fog raincoat hanging on the back of the door. “Hi, umbrellas! Hi, raincoat…man, I missed you guys!”

Lesson learned. I will never be without an umbrella, a raincoat, or a #2 pencil, ever again. Ever.