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.


18 thoughts on “Eight Reasons Why I’m Glad I’m Not an Olympic Athlete

  1. 9. Writing is subjective, so if someone doesn’t like my stuff I can scoff at them and send an anonymous copy of some crappy bestselling fanfic. No empirical evidence, like stop watches or goal posts.

        • Ah—the Hemingway/Fitzgerald/Thompson/Hammett School of Literary Coping Strategies! 🙂

          (I agree with your drug classification system, though cat videos do seem to make me a more productive blogger, if that’s considered writing . . . )

    • I liked the whole thing–the revealing of the map and the forging of the rings was visually stunning and the music frankly rocked.

      I was disappointed there weren’t more literary quotes sprinkled throughout after that single one from Shakespeare. I was hoping for Dickens, maybe, until I realized he wasn’t exactly in favor of the Industrial Revolution . . . But the hospital scene made up for it. My kids were beside themselves when Mary Poppins came in to save the day! I know how everyone feels about the movie, but I considered this homage to the books.

      I could have done with a little less of the electronic age, but that’s not entirely my demographic—but I would like to ask this: If that young man had her phone, how was he calling her to tell her he had it?

      But the lighting of the torch was amazing.

      • I wondered how it played outside of UK. I’ve been here 12 years and I didn’t get all of the references.

        I loved the Mary Poppins bit, and the Queen and James Bond and Mr Bean but my favorite was when they showed the Champagne Bankers as the helicopter went past.

        My son and my husband had the same thought re the phone. I decided that he called a number in her contacts – a friend who then passed the phone to her ???

        • Rowan Atkinson was marvelous. My whole family loves him.

          I could have done without the Queen’s skydive, but all the corgis made me think of you! 🙂

        • I was joking. My daughter was beside herself about the corgis.

          I loved Daniel Craig’s reaction to the Queen. ( I don’t think they would’ve included the dive if HRH hadn’t approved. I’ll check with her next time I’m there for tea.)

  2. So fantastic!

    Husband- “I wonder how they got the Queen to be involved?”
    Me- “Madame Queen? Would you be interested in being involved in the opening ceremonies?”
    “Absolutely not.”
    “It’s with Daniel Craig.”
    “What time do we start?”


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