Wednesday, September 03, 2008
It started out like any other weekend night.
In the wide world of second job possibilities, I have one of the coolest. There I was, safe in the confines of my DJ booth, preparing to rock the house for yet another night of mayhem, merriment, and mind-numbingly loud music down in the District. It was Ya Maka My Weekend, so we had a festival-sized crowd milling about in the club. It was showtime. I put my headphones on and quickly flipped for the perfect CD to open the night. That's when it happened.
Suddenly, about a hundred people started cheering wildly.
My God, I thought to myself, it's finally happened. I have a fanbase. I have become such a Mega Fantastic Awesome DJ that a crowd of loyal devotees had developed -- a crowd waiting, yearning, and needing only one thing: the mighty presence of legendary Superstar DJ Shane Brown. And frankly, it was about time. I had officially Arrived. Look out, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Stand aside, Whats-Her-Name-Who's-Apparantly-Dating-Lindsay-Lohan. There's a new celebrity DJ on the block, and the kids are going nuts. They're even chanting my name.
Oh, wait -- no, they're not. They're chanting "USA! USA! USA!" And why is no one on the dance floor?
Bummer. It turns out that the crowd wasn't cheering for me. It turns out that the crowd was cheering for Michael Phelps, who was on our TV sets above the bar -- and as usual, he was swimming very, very fast. Hmpf. Does Michael Phelps know the beats per minute of the entire Top 40 chart by heart? I don't think so. Can Michael Phelps stylishly and dangerously mix a 140 bpm Ludacris song into a 70 bpm Lil Wayne song? Hardly. But Michael Phelps can swim. Very, very fast.
I'm kinda digging the weird nationalistic fervor that's sprung up around these Olympics. It's amazing that one kid in a swimming pool can cause an entire nation to walk prouder and high-five strangers. It's especially weird that it's due to a sport that, apart from one week every four years, no one appears to care a bit about.
Let's be honest: Swimming's cool, but when was the last time you were at a swim meet? When did you last see amateur competitive swimming in primetime? Yet right now, even the most anti-social and elitist of cynics can't help but be gobsmacked by Michael Phelps' performance in these games. I can't even swim and I still spent a week glued to the tube.
I've decided, though, that the Olympics aren't as much fun when we don't have an evil nemesis to defeat. Back in the Cold War days, no matter the rest of the world, we only cared about two teams: the USA vs. the USSR. The American athletes were always wholesome and virtuous, and the Soviet athletes were always soulless and sinister. If you don't believe me, go rent Rocky IV.
These days, the only sinister Communist regime to defeat is China themselves, and it's hard to root against them because (a) the Chinese have been so nice and welcoming at these games, and (b) you just can't hate wee Chinese gymnasts who appear to be 8 years old. I don't want to defeat them, I want to give them Care Bears.
So in these turbulent times, how do we keep this newfound burst of American pride rolling? I propose we simply force Michael Phelps to swim EVERY week on TV. Better yet, let's stick him in every primetime show. Nielsen ratings don't lie; Phelps is our biggest TV star of the year. So imagine the success we could have with CSI: Phelps. A murdered body is discovered, the police have no leads, all looks hopeless... then Michael Phelps walks in, takes off his headphones, does an eagle stretch, and goes, "THAT guy did it!" before sauntering off while his mom cries and a team of forensic pathologists chant "USA! USA!" Ratings gold, I tell you.
In all honesty, working late nights at the club has caused me to discover my new favorite Olympic event of all time: team handball. I certainly hope all of you stayed up until 2 a.m. to watch coverage of this thoroughly insane sport. I've seen a couple matches now, and I'm only beginning to understand its subtle nuances.
As far as I can tell, it works like this: First, teams interested in playing handball must first break into a sporting goods manufacturer and steal soccer balls from the womb when they are undersized and deflated. This is your new handball. The objective then appears simple: Run into your opponents at breakneck speed while whipping the ball as hard as you can at the heads of any of your teammates. Should your teammate NOT be decapitated, they can then catch the ball and carry on running and flailing it at those teammates who have yet to be bodychecked to the floor by your opponent.
Occasionally, you will throw the ball at your teammate's head and miss, accidentally landing the ball in a tiny net. This is called a "goal" and is possibly more important but certainly less fun than the ball-throwing and body-checking. Seriously, I have watched Ultimate Fighting events less violent than two minutes of a team handball match. Naturally, this makes the game completely awesome, even though I honestly had no clue what was happening half the time.
I bet Michael Phelps would kick butt at it. USA! USA!