Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Olympic Controversy

Colin, my 14 year old son, does not like the Olympics.  How is this possible?   Some of my fondest memories revolve around the Olympics. They signify strength, determination and patriotism.  I just can't believe that something I really look forward to holds no interest from my own child.

One of my earliest memories is sitting at my Nana’s house watching the compulsories for Ice Dancing.  We watched couples do the same exact routine, even making the same marks in the ice.  I was fascinated that people from all over the world learned the exact same dance, right down to the exact position on the ice.  Apparently they don’t do that anymore because it does not make compelling television for the average viewer. 

Who doesn't remember the Miracle on Ice?  It was on a Sunday.  I remember because we prayed for the team at church.  Some friends came to our house afterward to watch the game.  Nine people were jammed into a room that could comfortably fit four.  I didn't know anything about hockey, but I had never felt more patriotic in my young life.    

It is not so much the sports that draws me to the games, but the human interest stories.  It is the sacrifices the families made so the kids could excel.  How much work must be put into making it to the games?  What motivates some kids to want this when other kids are not interested at all?  How do I motivate my child to be so passionate about life?  How do parents watch as their kids fling themselves off a hill wearing only skis just to see how far they can go?  What made someone think that was a good idea in the first place.   How come each sport is more dangerous that the previous one?


Colin thinks that once you have seen one person do the half-pipe, you have seen it all.  He refuses to believe that Ice Dancing is a sport.  (I am sure the mothers of Meryl Davis and Charlie White will beg to differ.) He has no interest in the human interest stories.  Because he has never had to pay for a lesson or drive someone to and from, he can’t appreciate the struggle to allow your kids to reach for their dreams.  Maybe this is just another one of those things he will enjoy as he gets older.  I am really starting to look forward to 2022.  That might give him just enough time to catch up.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Symmetry and the Subway Sandwich Artists

I don’t deny that the older I get the worse my idiosyncrasies get.  I still won’t eat ketchup or mustard. Mayonnaise?  Forget about it.  My food issues are well documented, but my other issue is that things need to be symmetrical.  Balance is very important in both appearance and weight.  For instance, there is a house in my neighborhood that is a colonial, but it has more windows on the right than the left.  Every single time we walk by it, I have to tell Dave how much it bothers me.  After 12 years, it is really starting to bother him, too.  If you are wearing a shirt with a pattern and it doesn't match up at the buttons, don't be surprised when I look over your shoulder when talking to you, because looking at it straight on will set me teeth on edge.  When you combine my food issues with symmetry issues, things get a little crazy. 

I order a veggie delight sandwich with double American cheese.  The American cheese comes in triangles. Triangles. Do you see where this is going?  I ask you, if you are trying to cover the bread, why would you arrange the cheese in a mountain formation instead of inverting every other triangle to make rectangles?  Am I the only one that thinks this should be basic common sense?   When you combine that with the fact that I like double cheese, half my sandwich is quadruple cheesy where the cheese overlaps, whereas the other half has no cheese at all. My kids won’t let me say anything; I already embarrass them enough. 

On top of the double cheese, I ask for a little bit of spinach, tomatoes that are ripe and don’t have a big hole in the middle (indicative of the removal of a hard, white, tasteless core), and one piece of onion to cover the entire length of the sandwich. (I don’t want to have onion breath the rest of the day.)  And to finish it off, just a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.  They already think I am crazy, and I am sure they would have spit on it if they didn’t make it right in front of me.  I know they want to roll their eyes when they see me coming, and I have seen them race to the back so they don’t have to deal with me. Could it really be a coincidence that all the supplies are empty and need refilling just as I walk in.  Why not just ask them to turn the triangle over, you ask? Apparently vocalizing that request is just too much for my children to bare.  

For now, at least I have all the ingredients, albeit disorganized.  I guess I will have to be content with reconstructing my sandwich the way Euclid, the father of geometry, would have intended.  Not only do I get cheese in every bite, but I can be relaxed while eating it.

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