Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

Not crazy, just beyond help

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SCENE: The interior of an office. A silver-haired man sits in an over-stuffed club chair, furiously scribbling in a notebook. Another man lies on a chaise that looks like it belongs in Madonna's boudoir. After a moment of silence, the prone man speaks.

 

Max: I'm not quite sure where to start.

Shrink: Mmmmm......

M: It's the Olympics. I'm having trouble coming to grips with it.

S: Post-Olympic depression is a well-documented syndrome.

M: That's not the problem, doc. I had pre-Olympic depression. Well, depression isn't probably the right word. Rage or outrage is probably closer to the point.

S: You weren't a supporter?

M: I'd rather host a convention of the international cocaine cartel. At least they're honest about being crooks... and they don't ask the taxpayers to underwrite their party.

S: So what's the problem?

M: Well, clearly the problem is me.

S: How so?

M: 50,000 Frenchmen can't be wrong, right? Whatever the hell that means. Everyone else seemed to love the Olympics. What I saw as wretched excess, a modern-day Roman circus meant to placate the poor, dumb masses while a slice of the global elite - rich, powerful, ruthless robber barons - partied, networked, and were treated like the royalty they think they are, all at someone else's expense, mind you, everyone else saw as a grand time, a noble cause, the epitome of sport. Clearly it must be my perception that's way off.

S: Why do you think, to paraphrase Sigmund ( moment of reverential silence as Shrink casts eyes upward ) this cigar wasn't just a cigar, that is to say, the Olympics weren't what they seemed to be?

M: That's the interesting point, doc. On the one hand, they were about sport and the unique, reverential place sport holds in society.

S: What does that mean?

M: I'm not certain, to be honest. But sport is, pardon the pun, one field of play where the normal rules of society, at least Canadian society, don't seem to apply.

S: For example?

M: Take the whole Own the Podium program and compare it with, say, education. When government funds education, it tries to level the playing field. While it might make sense to target education dollars at society's smartest kids, the ones who might go on to invent great things, cure cancer, figure out how they get the caramel in Caramilk bars, stuff like that, as opposed to funding programs for kids whose highest life achievement might be tying their own shoes, we don't go there. We spend the dough on the special needs kids because it's the right thing to do.

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