ISSUE 64

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Dear US Olympic competitors,
 In response to the rapidly diminishing attention span of Americans, the Olympics will feature the introduction of fire pits, a Kodiak grizzly named Franklin straight out of hibernation, and large swathes of Jell-O placed at random intervals in every event. Events will also include drugs, any potential tools or weapons a competitor can smuggle under their shirt, borderline-racist heckling from the crowd, “yo momma” throw downs, and tuberculosis.
 These things are completely safe, having been approved by the NFL health and safety committee, and any injury sustained on the course will be treated immediately after the commercial break.
 Athletes must accessorize themselves with impractical costumes and fluffy hats, while also assuming a personality that accords with their country of origin. The following will be assigned.
 United States: Mad Max. Canada: Mad Max’s brother, Sort-Of-Okay-With-It Max. France: an individual who complains about everything. North Korea: a child vying for his parents’ attention who is ignored until he threatens to burn down the house. The Netherlands: a levee. Australia: The Opera House, a kangaroo, or the Great Barrier Reef—because there are only those three things in Australia. Kenya: Nigeria. Nigeria: Kenya. Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste: someone who may or may not exist. Puerto Rico: Mad Max’s child who was never taught how to swim. 
 Along with the other changes, our previous announcers have been replaced with people in that fun stage between off-their-medication and back-in-rehab, comedians who are not in harassment lawsuits, and people who have no idea what is going on but make it up as they go.
 “And Shaun White does another switch quadruple Mc-Ballerina back butt tap followed by an over-caffeinated kamikaze slum gully,” our newly chosen announcer said as White performed a gentle calf stretch. This is exactly what we look for in a broadcaster.
 Our goal is to create a modern-day gladiator ring, except instead of slaves and prisoners-of-war, we have you, the best young talent from across the world. And no death. Absolutely no death. Our lawyers insisted on us saying that.
 To be honest with you all, these changes are for the ratings. Test viewers have described the new Olympics as “fascinatingly destructive” and “somewhat better than baseball, golf, and Desperate Housewives reruns.” Of course, the terms “jamboree,” “bloodbath,” “hockey,” and “carnage” have been tossed around too. Those are charged, full of action and potential political disagreement, which is good. But really, the adjectives “super,” “righteous,” and “awesome” should be added to any potential description. Otherwise, the whole thing just sounds pedestrian. 
 Essentially, the part of the brain that regulates endorphins should explode out our viewers’ ears, turning them into drooling, dilapidated messes. Then—and only then—can we sell them a Chevy truck. 
 There will be some trepidation, some anxiety maybe, as you athletes deal with the changes. That’s okay. Simply remember you’re the best. You have the insanely muscular form of someone who politely declines steroids.
 You personally represent the future of a human race that barely cares about your sport for two weeks. You can’t be stopped. With all of the hazy medical Hulk experiments done on you, it would be amazing to see someone try.   
 So, when you slam into a five-foot block of Jell-O, you persevere. When your competitor brings a jet pack, you steal it when she’s stretching. When Franklin tackles you and rips off an arm, you haul yourself up like a younger version of Sylvester Stallone and shrug it off—or as much as you can shrug something off when you no longer have a discernible shoulder.  
 Keep in mind the point of the Olympics: nationalism, winning, the US dominating every other country, winning, dominance, winning, and cheating but not getting caught. Without your presence on the medal podium, you are Liechtenstein to us. If you win, however, you will be written into the annals of history—or at least until the next guy.

          
There is a book.
It is cheap.
It is wonderful.
It is at The Trident Bookstore and on Amazon.
   
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