I love the Olympics, don't get me wrong. But as I've been watching this week, the competitors have been making me feel pretty bad about myself. You understand, right? How can you bare witness to such a shining display of athletic prowess and not feel a little bit lazy and fat? I just see these young swimmers breaking records and realize that comparatively, I've done nothing with my life. I see LeBron James stuff Yao Ming's jump shot on the basketball court, and realize that I should be the one out there, stuffing Yao Ming's jump shot.
"Mom," I've admitted many times over the past few days, "I'm sorry that I didn't train to become a gymnastic gold medalist by the age of 15."
"It's ok," she tells me, "I love you anyway."
We all know, of course, that she is lying.
There is only one person who makes me forget all the self-loathing these games thrust upon my psyche. He holds the number 2 spot on my list of favorite Commack South High School alumni, only falling short to my very own father. Is this person the secret love child of Carol Burnett and the dad from 7th Heaven? No. He is Mr. Robert Quinlan Costas.
I love Bob Costas because he delivers my pre and post event wrap-ups with the same concerned intensity with which he might announce the entire world is being consumed by primordial Amazonian bacteria, but also with the same lackluster calm with which he might lecture me about the importance of flossing.
If I ever met Bob Costas, I would assault him with an endless list of questions. “Has it been difficult to restrain from grabbing Michael Phelps' bulging gluteus muscles while in Beijing?” “Has it been difficult to restrain from punching George Bush square in the face while in Beijing?” and, “Are you constantly high, or are your pupils just naturally the size of dinner plates?”
There’s only one thing about Bob Costas that I would change. And it’s not his hair (how dare you even accuse him of dyeing?! Because I know you secretly do. His locks naturally darken with age, compliments of the tiny Greek follicle gods located in the Mount Olympus that is Bob Costas’ scalp). It’s the fact that I know when Bob Costas is home with his wife and kids, he sounds exactly like Christopher Walken.
Both these guys are natives of Queens, New York, just like my mom and aunts. EVERYONE from Queens talks like Christopher Walken, and even though some lose their accent slowly over time, it always comes back at some point without any warning. Just like herpes. Hell, I spent a week with my family back in June and I still haven’t regained all my syllables. But I don’t fight it. Ya know why? Because the Queens Borough accent is the greatest American dialect.
You know you love it when Christopher Walken babbles a sentence and it sounds worse than a drunk, lobotomized ex-con speaking Italian. And you can clearly tell that Bob Costas is fighting back this same syndrome every second of his newscast. He slips up all the time, letting out a “yest-uh-day” here, or a “may-juh league” there. Don’t hold back, Bobby, embrace your inner cowbell. We love you just the way you are, but we’re waiting to hear the truth.
I don’t know, it might be a pathology. But there’s something about this man that makes me feel oh, so good inside when I’m regretting that I haven’t been practicing the uneven bars since the embryonic stage, like the 12-year-old Chinese Olympians. Surely one of you out there must share my feelings.