The Kids Had It Right

You know how sometimes little kids, after opening a nicely wrapped gift given to them, will ignore the actual gift and instead play with the cardboard box it came in, for hours on end? After seeing this on uncrate.com, I totally understand where they’re coming from.

Honestly, The A-team was a great TV show of my youth, but all of the feel-good, retro nostalgia and ironic reverence of Mr. T pales in comparison to how freaking cool this box is. How are you not supposed to make a “VROOM!” sound every time you open this thing? It would be exhausting. But so worth it.

A-Team cardboard van

Never judge a fan by his jersey

One of the best things about watching the Olympics is seizing the opportunity to become an instant fan of a sport that merits your attention for only 2 days every 4 years. That’s a level of fan commitment that even the most disinterested sports fan (read: me) can get behind. Compare that to baseball fans, for instance, who need to sit through some 162 ass-numbing games per season, and all the sacrifice that goes with that (the junk food intake, the sacrificed human relationships, the mental cataloguing of useless trivia), and suddenly becoming a biathlon or skeleton fan for a couple of days seems very appealing.

But even for the more obscure sports, there exist super-fans, even if they don‘t necessarily wear their passion on their sleeves. Take the guy who sat next to me and my dad during the Vancouver Olympic Women’s Fgure Skating Semi-final. Sporting a ball cap, a Habs jersey, a beard affixed to a leathery face, and a gruff voice bellowing out a fine, Joual accent, he looked and sounded like your typical French Canadian long-haul truck driver.

So with his atypical appearance (at least for a figure skating spectator), it was all the more surprising that this guy proceeded to wax poetic on the beauty of “le patinage artistique” for the better part of 10 minutes, educating us on all the minutiae; from the scoring system, to the estimated cost of the outfits, to why the triple axle was no longer sufficient for medal contention. My dad and I just sat there in total amazement. The guy new literally everything there was to know about figure skating. It was not unlike listening to your flamboyantly gay hairdresser tell you how excited he was to undertake his upcoming weekend project of installing a four barrel Holley carburetor in his classic ‘69 Camaro – you know, so the big-block motor he installed the previous weekend could breathe better.

I can’t say I became a bigger fan of figure skating on that night, but I definitely realized then and there that a Habs jersey can be worn pretty much anywhere.

Delicious Irony

Do not tell my Jewish grandmother, but I’ve just had  Matzah ball soup, and it was truly the best i’d ever had – by a Brooklyn mile.

The kicker is it was in quite possibly the WASP-iest place on earth: the Brewhouse in Whistler, B.C.

It was as delicious as it was confusing, sort of the gastro-cultural equivalent of perhaps catching this guy here, throwing down a 1080 McTwist in Whistler’s nearby halfpipe.

Shtetl Stoke

Word Show goes to the Olympics

My Dad invited me to join him for a trip to Vancouver to watch the tail end of the Olympic games. Sure, one might say, that sounds like an amazing opportunity and a splendid father-son trip. Fact is, joining him out West not an easy decision. There was a lot of important work to be done back home in Montreal. Besides my laundry piling up, there was the matter of my hyper-stressful day job, which involves helping rurally located, plus-sized clothing shoppers ensure they are receiving the best possible customer service experience – all I‘m saying is air traffic controllers and hostage negotiators should spend a day in my shoes.

I had also been putting off teaching myself the entire Lynyrd Skynyrd song catalogue on my acoustic guitar, and felt that the time had come to pick up my dusty “axe” and make good on this commitment. Bode Miller might have been lying in agonizing wait for 4 years for his elusive gold medal, but I would not watch him compete until I had mastered the guitar solo on “Free Bird.”

Finally, I had just purchased my first set of cross country skis, and before Pops presented me with the offer to join him in Vancouver, I had every intention of using the days of late February to break in my skis, perfect a decent waxing technique, work on my upper-body form, etc., etc.

Sure, one might argue, cross country skiing is an enjoyable hobby, but it pales in comparison to watching Olympic-level cross country skiers battling out on the world stage. For most people, yeah, I guess so. Not for this guy. So it was with a heavy heart that I begrudgingly accepted the offer to go see the Olympics.

Of course, I’m kidding. The Olympics were incredible. That they were in our home country and in beautiful Vancouver made it a truly unforgettable experience. On top of that, we were invited there as VIP guests of a big Canadian company, who had pulled out all the stops for us, putting us up in a swank hotel, feeding us food and drink at every turn, and affording us special access to meet various athletes, celebrities, luminaries of Canadian business, and, of course, tickets to see the events themselves.

Indeed, what I learned about corporate-sponsored events is this: if viewing a concert given by a c-list Canadian pop star is merely bearable, then viewing said concert whilst downing free cocktails and edible-by-hand lamb chops, all served by pretty waitresses who are forced to banter with you, makes the concert amazing. Really amazing. But more on that later.

The next few days, I’ll be describing to you the highlights of what I saw, who I met, what I ate, and where I went. If at any time you find this dull and not entertaining, feel free to log out and not read anything I write ever again – honestly, I won’t be upset: I saw the Gold medal hockey game and watched Canada win in overtime – I’m not going to be upset about anything for a long, long time.

Stay tuned, amigos.