The Inconsequential Games, Melbourne 2006
Apparently there are only 40 sleeps to go until the commencement of the Commonwealth Games.
Are you as excited about it as I am? Really? My instinctive reaction is a very strong conviction that I would rather suck a bird turd that suffer sitting through any televised session of the piss-weak, itching-to-be-important, so-far-off-the-sports-map-it's-within-the-gravitational-pull-of-Neptune Commonwealth Games. The event has about as much attraction as a traditional Amish book and clothing emporium would to Paris Hilton.
You may think I am being rather mean, but already we have had to endure over a week of swimming trials televised live on channel nine. They always feature the tiresome old trout Laurie Lawrence shooting spit into the microphone as he overdoses on pointless local glory: "And it's gold gold GOLD for Australia!!" Despite his deranged zeal, the swimmers themselves don't seem too excited about their 'big wins' - they know what it is, a trial, not an Olympic gold medal. One doesn't normally receive accolades and prizes for what is, quite honestly, a glorified training session.
Unfortunately the stupidly blind adoration is not limited to Lawrie. Kym Dillon, Adelaide's sports reporter on channel nine is on in the background right now and has also overdosed on unnecessary niceties: "The swimming trials' Golden Girl, Leisel Jones, has...." What? Dared to eat a home brand cereal instead of Uncle Toby's golden Os? Been caught snorting cocaine? Farted audibly in the lifts?
Of course she hasn't. It would be all sickeningly positive, wouldn't it? He probably went on to gush that she's dating Jude Law/invented the cure for cancer/been invited to open the British parliament/asked by the Louvre to scratch a pair of sunnies on to the Mona Lisa. And 'Golden Girl'? It's a swimming TRIAL, you overhyped, easily-pleased, intelligence-insulting, backwater, braindead, dung-loving manure merchant!
Sorry, the vein in my temple started to throb rather alarmingly back there...... Even Grant Hackett, the muesli bar muncher and blender-spruiker who occasionally swims has decided not to participate in the games. To be fair, the main reason given is that he'll be recovering from shoulder surgery, but even he told ABC radio this morning that he had deliberately scheduled it for the period of the gag-reflex games. "It's not like it's important to anyone outside of Australia or anything. I'd rather be fit and ready for the world events next year so I can race against teams that actually have a ranking in the swimming world. Also, it's worth knocking back an Adidas endorsement to not be spat on by Laurie Lawrence just as I get out of the pool." Well, he said something along those lines anyway, minus a dash of creative embellishment.
Apparently, 71 countries belong* to the Commonwealth. The most populated countries attending are India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and England. Note that there is no 'United Kingdom' - they always pedantically choose to split themselves up into Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. These divisions are not helpful because it results in reducing the competitive threat of a country already known worldwide as the 'Nation Most Likely to Break Own Toes with Shot Put' to several piddling little teams that would barely trouble the hurdling skills of the Happy Valley Over 75s Bowling club.
As for India, Bangladesh and Nigeria, goodness gracious me - what a glittering array of countries known the world over for their incredibly strong swimmers! We mere peasants are gleefully awaiting the exciting and closely fought competitions they will provide. Forty more sleeps remember....... Oh yes, there's been heaps of stirring occasions that I can recall when a proud Patel has thrashed his way to victory in the butterfly; a nubile young Nigerian stunned us all with her sensational synchronised swimming and a brave Bangladeshi had enough food in him to win the marathon and still have time for a victory lap before the second guy shuffled by.
So, while the nauseating ten days of Commonwealth Games are on, I will be studiously avoiding channel nine, the sports news sections of channels ten and seven and completely destroying the front four and back five pages of the paper. Just like I do now really.
Instead, in my house there will be aged cabernets to sip whilst watching good quality DVDs (Police Academy 20 year special edition, Better Off Dead and Death to Smoochy) and listening to music (Bang a Boomerang, Abba; Graham Parsons Project and Styx). If these don't rock my jollies then there's always dog poo pickups in the back yard, de-pilling Sapphire's polar fleece jacket and working out just what I can do with the packet of grey lentils with the expiry date of 1997. If really desperate, I might even tape Bert Newton's new TV show.
*Not 'belong' exactly. All are relics of the 'Great British Empire' from a time when wooden boats were the stealth bombers of advanced travel, Queen Victoria was considered a slender beauty and the Poms' good teeth, strong physiques and attention to personal cleanliness were universally admired. These days, the only requirement of commonwealth member nations is to attend the commonwealth games, even if their GDP is a dead prawn and a coconut.