This past weekend I attended two separate parties, both of which were disturbing in very different ways.
Saturday night I went to an annual beach party that my sister and her friend throw each year, only this time it was at a house rather than the beach on account of the rain. Good work, Seattle! Way to represent with the bullshit 60 degrees in mid-August. One couple of questionable origin brought their young son. They did not bring any toys or books or a sippy cup filled with whatever neglectful parents feed their children. They just walked through the door and set him loose in a houseful of adults with no particular means of keeping a five year old entertained. That’s probably why, when we arrived, he had the squeaker from a dog toy in his mouth and was running circles in the wet grass. His parents, you ask? They arrived drunk, I was told, and the mother was in the backyard smoking pot with her friend. She spent the next five hours ignoring her little boy when he would ask her for something to drink or eat and talking loudly about how stupid her boss is. I offered to play a game of Life with the little kid to keep him occupied. He didn’t know how to play, but I was desperate to do something to stop him from sitting on the living room floor with his hands over his ears, rocking back and forth. We played until his father decided it was finally time to leave and drive his son home, drunk.
On Friday, my family gathered at my parents house to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics while we ate Chinese food. Moo Shu Pork for the win! The only word I can come up with to best describe this gathering was chaos. Maybe retarded is another one. Do you know which event my family would rock every year? Talkolympics. I’m not a shusher by nature because my wife forbids it. Yes, she’s a librarian, but she has no amazing shushing action like that Nancy Pearl action figure. She only has a burning glare that will sear your brain. As I said, I’m not generally a shusher, but imagine my surprise to hear angry bursts of shush coming from my mouth as my mother talked through the performance of one of my favorite singers of all time, Sarah Brightman. I had to take a mental step back to check myself because, at first, I wasn’t sure it was me. It sounded like the obnoxious shushes were coming from somewhere else, from someone I’ve never heard before, but sure enough, I could feel my lips puckered just so, the strong shush wind blowing through my teeth.
The rest of the ceremony was a blur of performances overrun by our constant chatter and then more chatter about how chatty we were. This morning on the drive to work, my sister and I were discussing the controversy over China’s last-minute replacement of a girl in the ceremony. If you haven’t heard about it, some young girl with buck teeth and chubby cheeks was singing behind the scenes while they passed off a cuter girl in front of the cameras who was merely lip-synching. People are up in arms about how focused everyone is on looks, on how a cute seven-year old trumps a talented seven-year old. I don’t think it was fair, but I do understand what they were going for. The Chinese wanted to make sure that the world thought their little kids were nothing but adorable and not in need of orthodontia. If they showed ugly kids on the world’s largest International stage, all of humanity, especially barren Americans, would know the truth: not all Chinese babies grow to have straight teeth. If this closely guarded secret got out, who would adopt all those surplus babies? As we discussed the poor buck-toothed girl’s apparent hideousness, I mentioned that I had no idea there was even a little girl on the ceremony, let alone one who was singing. I’ll bet we missed it completely when my mother couldn’t stop talking about how the United States deserved more respect than seating George Bush in the bleachers with all those other useless world leaders instead of on a throne in the middle of a field filled with angels and rainbows. She doesn’t even like that man but she does love her country more than anyone else can possibly imagine, even though she’s actually from Germany.
I did manage to eek out a few sentences from the television coverage and the totally ridiculous and nonsensical ramblings of Matt Lauer and Bob Costas. Speaking of the commentary and that bastard Bob Costas, did anyone else find what they were saying to be completely unintelligible? I mean, Bob Costas being unintelligible I can understand, but Matt Lauer? Matt Lauer the newsman from the Today show? Matt Lauer from Where In The World Is Matt Lauer? Here is a direct quote from Mr. Lauer during the parade of athletes “Next is the Central African Republic, a Republic in Central Africa” My God, I’m so glad he said that. I would never have known! And from Bob Costas, “Here comes Vietnam. They don’t have a chance at a medal in these games, but they are gold medalists in the Math Olympics.” Poor Vietnam, called out on American television as nothing more than a nation of mathletes. Despite NBC’s best efforts to sound ignorant and drunk, I did learn that there were roughly 14,000 performers and after hearing that statistic, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them replaced someone else who fucked up in practice over the years as the show was being produced. China has an abysmal human rights record, everyone knows that. If they’re working to host he Olympics and put on the most expensive and fantastic display for billions of viewers the world over to see how fucking amazing they are, you bet that there is no room for a drummer who misses a beat. My one nagging thought throughout was: Oh, his timing was off! He’s going to be donated to BodyWorld! I’m sorry. There goes my chance to acquire a Chinese visa.