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  • Ednold

Notes From the Quarantine Area 7/31/21

I don’t know if this is the correct forum to make this announcement, but I guess I need to let everyone know somehow and this seems like as good a way as any: I haven’t been vaccinated and I have now contracted the virus.

This virus has been flaring up every four years, starting several decades ago. About 25 years ago it started showing up every two years, but when it didn’t show up last year I thought I may have outgrown it. But now it’s back again. It’s called Olympic fever, and there is no known cure. I’ve been voluntarily quarantining myself for about a week now and I’ve got at least another week to go before the virus will start to work its way out of my system.

Most of the symptoms of the virus are harmless, but it does keep me up late sometimes and makes it difficult to do many of my normal activities. Many household chores go undone while the virus is in its active state. Some of the symptoms are just strange: I’ve been known to watch kayaking, or judo, or even ping-pong while I’m sick with the virus, things I would never think of doing when healthy. At this moment I’m watching a badminton match on TV. I don’t even know why. It’s a guy from China (or is it a girl? I can’t tell from the looks or the name) against another guy (girl?) from China. It’s not particularly exciting and I don’t even care who wins. It’s a complete waste of time, but I’m powerless against this virus.

I’ve watched a lot of crazy stuff over the past several days and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would really like to win one of those Olympic gold medals. Now, you may think that’s a stupid thing for me to think, but it would be really cool to have one of those and I’m confident that I have what it takes to get one.

I’m fortunate to have a lot of talented people in my family. Name just about any activity and there’s at least one person who’s pretty good at it. But, as far as I know, NONE of them have a gold medal from the Olympics. I could be the first. I would go down in history as our first Olympic gold medalist. So, lately I’ve been looking at all these different sports to decide which one I’d like to dedicate the next three years of my life to, and I think I found it.

Archery looks so easy. You don’t have to be young or fit. You just stand there and pull on a string and aim for the middle of the bullseye. It’s hard to believe this is even a contest. Why doesn’t everyone just shoot the arrow into that spot in the middle every time? I could totally do that! So, I went on Amazon to get me one of those bows and some arrows so I could start practicing right away.

Did you know it costs several thousand dollars to set yourself up with an Olympic grade bow and arrow kit? I didn’t. That is crazy. Ok, maybe archery isn’t my thing, but there are lots of other things I could do. Sailing! Now that’s something an old fat guy could do. Can I sit on my butt and steer a boat while the wind does all the work? You bet I can! But those boats are expensive too, and I’d have to move somewhere next to a lake or an ocean. Maybe something else would be more suitable.

Ok. This is the one. Equestrian! They don’t have to do anything at all! You just sit on the back of a horse and let them do all the work. The horse has to jump over all those walls while you just sit there and hang on so you don’t fall off. One of the competitors this year is Mary Hanna from Australia. She’s 66 years old! Don’t tell me Ednold couldn’t sit on a horse just as well as she can. And you get to wear one of those spiffy horse-riding costumes with a crest on the jacket pocket and that goofy horse-riding hat. This is the sport for me! But I guess I’d have to buy a horse, and I don’t think they’d let me keep it in my tiny backyard, and our lawn isn’t big enough to feed him as much as he would probably eat. And I’d have to find someone with a field with lots of walls in it so I could let him practice jumping. On second thought, the whole equestrian thing seems like a big hassle. But there must be something I could do.

Aha. Here it is. Rowing. Rowing! At first glance, it looks pretty strenuous. Those guys are big and strong, and in really good shape, and half my age. But if you look closer at the biggest boats, there’s one guy who doesn’t do anything. According to my research, that guy is the coxswain (ˈkäks’ (ə)n). He sits in the stern (that’s the back end, for those of you who won’t be getting an Olympic gold medal three years from now) of the shell (please don’t call it a boat!) and uses the rudder to keep the shell going straight while he yells at the other guys to go faster. THIS I can do.

Except that, since the coxswain, or cox, as us rowing aficionados call him, is just dead weight added to the mass that the rest of the team has to move from a standing start at the beginning of the race, teams tend to prefer small people in that position. In fact even on the men's teams some of the coxes are females. Does that not seem quite right to anyone else? Anyway, coxes are like the jockeys of the rowing world; most weigh in at about 130 lbs. The cox’s seat is tiny and there isn’t much legroom. None of these obstacles are insurmountable, however, for someone truly dedicated. I have 3 years to lose about 70 lbs. That’s less than two lbs. each month between now and the next Olympics. That’s just a few less trips to Taco Bell each month. And I am totally committed to making this happen. I can do it!

As for the leg room, sure, it might mean having my legs amputated below the knees, but who wouldn’t make that sacrifice for an Olympic gold medal? And that’s the beautiful, and almost unbelievable, thing about coxswains: If their team earns a medal, they get one too! It’s like if the cheerleaders at the Super Bowl got their name on the trophy when their team won. It’s nuts. But I’m going to make it work in my favor.

The only part that really concerns me is the yelling. I’m not naturally a big yeller. I don’t enjoy yelling at people. But, as I’ve said, I’m committed to this now and will be working hard on my yelling skills these next few years. So if I respond uncharacteristically aggressively to something you do, just keep in mind that I’m in training. I’m just honing my yelling skills. As far as I can tell there are really only four different things I’ll have to yell:

  1. Go faster!!

  2. U-S-A! U-S-A!

  3. Pull harder!!

  4. Are you kidding me? I did not have my legs cut off for you lazy bastards to get me a stupid silver medal! Get this thing moving!!

Three years seems like plenty of time to perfect that skill.

So, all that’s left is to ask that you all support me in reaching this goal of winning Olympic gold. I will probably be pretty grumpy these next few years, what with cutting back on Taco Bell and stuff. And if I end up having to lose parts of my legs to make my dream come true I will be in a really foul mood for quite a while, I would imagine. And even when I’m in a good mood I’ll probably be yelling at everyone around me just for practice. But for the chance to stand on that podium, or at least be propped up against it while all of my legged teammates stand, I promise you it will all be worth it. One more thing: When you have your watch party back here while I’m competing in Paris and the TV cameras are set up in the living room and the whole world’s watching, please make sure you’re wearing pants and try to act normal for a few minutes. I know I have THE best friends and family. Let's just make sure the rest of the world thinks so too.

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