At the Olympic Games, every two years, beautiful fit young people gather to do amazing things with their bodies that are just not achievable by us older, non-athletic types. Yes, of course I’m talking about the sex, but it also applies to the events.
It makes you think, doesn’t it? I know that many a time and oft I’ve asked myself whether, with years of training, I could have stood on a balance beam without falling off. Or learned to throw a javelin in the back yard without impaling the family poodle or sending the javelin over the fence.
Which, since the Boitano family lived next door, might have got Brian Boitano interested in a totally different Olympic sport. So it’s just as well I spent those years reading.
Could I have swum competitively for my country?
No. Soft contact lenses didn’t exist when I was young and you weren’t supposed to wear hard lenses underwater. I can hear the commentary now. “And here comes Rhiannon Paine in lane three – lane four — lane five — my God, she’s knocked out the Soviet swimmer Finsandgillsyeva! That’s not just a penalty, it’s a diplomatic incident!”
This year, to make myself feel better about all the things I can’t do, I decided to create my own personal Olympics. My events had to be difficult, which ruled out Post Inane Comments on Twitter and Eat Plenty of Chocolate, and yet achievable. Let’s see how I did!
First event: Maintain Weight Loss Miraculously Achieved in Britain
Gear: Sheer will power
The contest: My English friends did feed me, honestly. Two chaps I’d just met in Scotland even bought me a cup of tea. Yet somehow, without even trying, I lost six pounds on my recent visit: one pound per week. Could I keep this weight off at home in California for at least the duration of the Olympics?
Result: GOLD MEDAL! Though I have to admit, I wasn’t really trying. I even ate some ice cream. And tortilla chips. I don’t understand it. Hopefully I haven’t got a thyroid problem or something.
Even if I have, I’m not giving the medal back.
Second event: Cut Mats Out of Cat’s Fur Without Her Noticing and Biting Me to the Point of Drawing Blood
Gear: Small curved scissors inherited from my aunt
The contest: My cat has defective fur that gets gnarly mats in it. I tried to make the shelter take her back, but they said “defective fur” is “not a thing” and “we can’t even” and “like, whatever.”
They’re very young, the women who work at the shelter.
So every few days, I try to lull Luna into a state of purring somnolence by brushing her and crooning clever little songs with lyrics about her that I’ve made up, and then sneak the scissors into her fur and cut out the mats.
Have I mentioned that the scissors, being inherited from my aunt, are rather dull?
Result: Bronze. No bites, but Luna is not mat-free. There’s this pesky one on her belly …
Do they make sedatives for cats?
The event: E-mail Appropriate “Submission Packages” to Literary Agents
Individual events: Write Book, Write Synopsis, Research Agents, Write Query Letters, Build Engaging Social Media Presence
The contest: Agents who handle “cozy” mysteries need to know that I’ve written a lovely one called Fall Crush. There seems to be no way of informing them of this fact short of going through the “submissions” process.
Result: This was my hardest event. What are a few cat bites compared to the sting of another rejection letter? So I decided to encourage myself by watching some of the Olympics first. I told myself that when my teams stopped winning, I’d stop watching.
My teams were the U.S.A. and Great Britain.
Okay, I failed to show up for this event.
I also failed to show up for For God’s Sake Learn How to Cook Something New, Clean All Those Old Emails Out of Your Queue, and Start Learning Welsh.
Overall, I’m happy with my achievements. I didn’t train at all, so I haven’t wasted any time. My weight-loss-maintenance is not a personal best – I maintained much lower weights in my twenties – but back then, I counted calories, and now I’m making calories count!
No, I don’t know what that means either. It sounds like one of those advertising or political slogans that’s initially persuasive but then, later, you go, “What … ?”
Anyway. No world records broken, but it’s not about winning. It’s about something else. Not losing. I’m pretty sure it’s not about losing. But something else.
Do you have any idea what it’s about? Tell me in the comments.
Dousing the flame now.