20 July 2012 – 8:20 PM – in my home office
Me [mask of dread etched across my face as I stare at my monitor]: Oh, nooooo…
Rhiannon: What’s your problem now?
Me: The Olympics start in 1 week. What a debacle! As dreary as they are corrupt, I think I’d rather watch the Euro Cup or the Tour de France.
Rhiannon: The what or the what?
Me: Precisely! The only thing pleasing in terms of the latter is that an Englishman will conquer France on a bicycle. Historically, it’s been mildly more difficult than that. Once we even had to send a tank with more than one guy in it. That was just disgraceful.
Rhiannon: Ugh, I’m not even going to ask. Getting back to the point – what’s your beef with the Olympics?
Me: Seriously? How interesting is it to watch how far someone can throw a heavy metal ball through the air? Or see how far someone can leap over a sandpit? I mean, wouldn’t it be much more interesting if long jumpers had to hurl themselves over an ever-increasing moat teeming with deadly electric eels with the last surviving competitor earning the right to beat Sebastian Coe to death with the Olympic Torch? THAT would produce far more athleticism from the competitors than performance-enhancing drugs.
Rhiannon: Performance-enhancing drugs?
Me: Of course! That’s the other thing. The Olympics aren’t fair. The competitors are supposed to be amateurs but if it means a ratings boost then professionals are allowed. The women travel to “The Games” in economy class while the men have their toenails pared in business class. And as for drugs – yes, half of them are on performance-enhancing drugs while the other half must settle for 58th place because they were dumb enough to reject the needle. I say they should all be permitted to pump themselves up to the eyeballs full of drugs so that at least it’s an even playing field, so to speak.
Rhiannon: Are you actually saying that drugs are good?!
Me: Of course they’re good! They dull the pain of life’s steady, withering toll. And they’re yummy too. Once when I was high I –
Rhiannon [outraged]: That goes against everything I’ve ever been taught!!!
Me: Well, they don’t exactly teach you the good stuff in school, do they? You must know that by now!
Rhiannon: You are so busted for saying these things to me!!! Getting back to the point – AGAIN – don’t you have anything good to say about the Olympics? Everyone else I know is so excited about it!
Me: Well, I confess I like the gymnastics. They’re quite remarkable.
Rhiannon [pondering this for a moment and then eying me suspiciously]: You just like watching underage Asian girls doing the splits.
Me [taking my own moment to ponder]: Well, I suppose they are kind of a gateway drug.
21 July 2012 – 1:15 PM – at a local resto
Me [contentedly]: Ah, the perfect summer lunch: bagel, lox, cream cheese, capers – all lightly drizzled in lemon juice.
Rhiannon [biting into hers]: Mmmmmmm!
Me [biting into mine]: Mmmmmmm!
Me: [half an hour later, my eyes popping out of my head at the size of the bill]: What the…?! There must be some mistake! How could this be so expensive?!
Waitress [curtly]: It was smoked salmon, sir.
Me: Well, was it a Super Salmon? Did it leap tall streams in a single bound? Was it only brought to our table after miffed grizzly bears downed it with sticks of kryptonite and your staff captured it before they could?! Is there now a crime wave sweeping the west coast?!
Me: Or perhaps it was a Kobe salmon that was fed Sapporo beer, had its gills massaged daily and was finally harvested by a nubile Ama diver. I did notice that the slices were impeccably marbled. If you factor in the cost of importing it all the way from Japan then maybe –
Waitress [to Rhiannon]: Is there something wrong with him?
Rhiannon [embarrassed]: You have no idea and, after the conversation I had with him yesterday, he’s probably bombed on steroids too.
Me: No wait! Wait! Let me guess! This salmon was the true last of the Romanovs. It wasn’t Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna who survived the execution – it was the fish! It only survived the bullets because it was wearing so much heavy jewelry!
Me: And as for charging $5 for Rhiannon’s glass of milk – I mean, what was it? The breast milk of angels?! Rhiannon… I… Hey, where did she go?
Waitress [dryly and turning to walk away]: Your daughter is at the cash paying with your Master Card. She said she’s going to leave me a $10 tip. Thanks!
Me: Gaaaa!!! Rhiannon!!! Get back here you little Judas!!!
22 July 2012 – 10:05 AM – back balcony
Rhiannon [yawning after getting out of bed following a late night out on a river cruise]: I still hate your new glasses.
Me: Good morning to you too!
Rhiannon: You look ridiculous from the nose up.
Me [resentfully]: I’ll have you know that at least half of my friends think that my new glasses are a great improvement upon my old pair.
Rhiannon: And the other half?
Me [grumpily]: Those former friends say something along the lines of “you look ridiculous from the nose up”.
Rhiannon: Ha! See?!
Me [sourly]: I would emphasize former friends. My remaining true friends say my new glasses emphasize the focus of my face on my eyes and, don’t forget, the eyes are the windows to the soul…
Rhiannon: Exactly! And in your case, just how scary is THAT?! And the fact that you spent scary money in order to highlight something so scary is just scary!!!
Rhiannon: Much darkness in you I do see.
Me: Oh, dear Lord. Don’t go all Yoda on me!
Rhiannon: Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Don’t be afraid, Daddy.
Me [reaching for my iPhone]: That does it.
Rhiannon: What are you doing?
Me: Calling the Optometrist’s.
Me: I’m ordering contacts.