It's All Downhill for the Lynx
As the 2010 Winter Games nears its end, one stinging question still hangs over Vancouver like an out-of-date slab of back bacon: Where are all the animal competitors?
Before you think I've finally fallen for one of PETAs latest crackpot marketing ploys*, let me assure you that I'm merely referring to the scandalous refusal of the International Olympic Committee to allow willing animal competitors to participate in the Games. Who wouldn't want to see penguins in the skeleton competition? They're so clever, they wouldn't even need sleds. What about polar bears in the skating events? They're at home on the ice and let's see how physical those short track skaters are with a hungry Ursus maritimus gliding alongside them. Finally, how about lynx in the alpine skiing events? "Lynx?" you sniff, inbetween goblets of Château Margaux and toast points slathered in sevruga caviar. Yes, lynx, you effette snobs.
As it turns out, the lynx are highly interested in the downhill event. A lynx was spotted checking out the downhill course the week prior to the start of the Olympics. Luckily, I was able to contact his agent and set up a phone interview.**
Earl: Thanks for agreeing to this interview... um, I didn't catch your name.
Earl: Lynx the Lynx?
Lynx: Yes, that's right, but you can just call me Lynx.
Earl: Isn't it a bit strange to be named Lynx?
Lynx: Nah, we're all called Lynx. Simplifies things.
Earl: Well, okay! So ...Lynx.
Earl: What were you doing on the course the Wednesday before the games?
Lynx: I was checking out the turns in the middle part of the course.
Earl: Because... ?
Lynx: Well, I wanted to see how steep the gradients were going into each turn and whether or not they'd be drastically affected by any sudden wet snows or temperature changes. With an El Nino effect, it's pretty unlikely we'll see consistent, packed snow throughout the games.
Earl: Fascinating. (Cautiously) And ...this was ...because?
Lynx: (Patiently) Because I didn't want to fall down on my short-tailed butt when I was skiing in the competition. Man, you're slow on the uptake for a biped.
Earl: You were planning on skiing in the competition?
Lynx: Did I stutter? Yes, you goof. I was entered for Canada. Downhill and Super-G.
Earl: I thought the Canadian team was decided upon and was, well... human.
Lynx: I was the first alternate.
Earl: Okaaaaay. So, why did you run off the course so erratically when you were spotted?
Lynx: Element of surprise, mister opposable thumbs, element of surprise. If the Austrians, Yanks, and Germans knew I was in the competition, they'd start digging up mountain goats, pumas, bears, ducks, yak, koalas, and screech owls, and then where would the advantage be?
Earl: What exactly is the advantage of being a lynx in alpine skiing?
Lynx: I handle the jumping easily, and I can dig those claws in on the tight turns.
Earl: Shouldn't you be digging the skis in, instead?
Lynx: You're a real know-it-all for a comedy blogger. I mean my top claws. Helps me get around the gates.
Earl: Fine. So you never did get to compete.
Lynx: Nah, everyone was healthy. I thought about savaging someone so they'd have to let me ski, but my conscience would bother me too much. I took the Olympic Oath, you know.
Earl: Really? I didn't see you at the Opening Ceremonies.
Lynx: Well, I couldn't just march in with the rest of the team. No, I was disguised in a moose costume.
Earl: A moose? You're not that big.
Lynx: I had lifts on.
Lynx: Really big lifts.
Earl: So, what's the future for non-human participation in the Olympics?
Lynx: I figure by mid-century all the major sporting nations will have at least 50% of their athletes from various parts of the animal kingdom.
Earl: What makes you so confident?
Lynx: Well, we've threatened to eat the federation officials if they don't agree.
Earl: Now, that's negotiation leverage.
Lynx: No, we're just really hungry all the time. We may eat them anyway.
Earl: Remind me to stay out of the sporting business.
Lynx: Stay out of the sporting business.
Earl: OK, I will.
* For one thing, PETA would never let the fragile little dears near anything that smacks of competition, lest they be "exploited." For another, I'm contemplating this while digesting the tasty 1/3 lb. burger I cooked earlier this evening.
** For my own safety, of course. Given my diet, I frequently smell like bacon or burgers, and there are many members of the lynx community who couldn't resist taking a nibble out of me.