Eight Reasons Why I’m Glad I’m Not an Olympic Athlete

My kids are busy somersaulting into walls and begging for diving lessons, but after watching several hours of the Olympic games, I’m grateful genetics,  general aptitude, and a truly astonishing lack of coordination channeled me into a life of letters.

My reasons, in no particular order:

1. Camera operators don’t often follow female librarians or writers around at that peculiarly low angle.*

2. If a word mistakenly appears an inch too far to the left after printing, it won’t invalidate the article, destroy the book or tank my career.**

3. If an article or story doesn’t make the cut, I don’t have to wait four years before trying again.

4. My working wardrobes contain a distinct lack of Lycra and spandex—and offer far fewer wedgies, I’d imagine.

5. There’s no age limit for storytelling, and the upper age limit for librarianship is remarkably elastic.

6. Stress eating won’t put me out of either job.***

7. Under normal circumstances, I won’t suffer any broken bones either writing or performing acts of librarianship, however complicated, unless I drop something on my foot.^

8. I receive rejections in the privacy of my own home and not on International television where a billion people will witness my collapse as I sob hopelessly into the back fur of my struggling coach cat for a few heartbroken moments until I can gather myself together and be stoic and philosophical and happy for that person who turned a crappy fanfiction story into gold and a movie deal.   The footage of my reaction also won’t be replayed multiple times on ESPN—or even PBS—the next time I submit a query.

Anyone else have one or two to add?

While you’re thinking, here’s Livingston Taylor—brother of James and musical genius in his own right—imagining his own version of the Olympics:



*They don’t often follow male gymnasts and swimmers around at that angle either, I’ve noticed.  Darn it.

**I’ll admit, it gets dicier if I give out incorrect information, but as long as I apologize and correct myself, most library patrons are far more forgiving than judges—or commentators, who will apparently mention that one time you tripped in your kindergarten ballet recital and haven’t you come a long way since then, but I guess we’ll see in a moment won’t we, for the rest of your life.

***I should say, normal stress eating, by which I mean my normal, as I lost my amateur status in that event a long time ago.

^Don’t ask me about carpal tunnel, repetitive stress injuries, weakening eyesight, gritted teeth,  or certain pains in my relatively stationary derriere.