What Olympic sports do you enjoy watching the most?

Link to audio.

This is another story that goes all the way back to my very first girlfriend ever. Her name is Meagan (I called her Nutmeag.), and she’s so Canadian there’s probably a moose in her driveway right now. The way we met is mildly interesting. My 11th grade best friend was friends with her, but I didn’t know Meag at all. I just knew of her.

My senior year of high school, she ended up in my English class. Her desk was diagonal to mine, and I cannot tell you how many hours I spent staring at the back of her head, wondering if she liked me.

I had to wonder because Dr. Hudel Steed, our English teacher, laid down the law. This class is going to be hard as shit, get someone’s number. I had an opening on the first day of school to meet her, so I knocked over three desks to get to her. Why wouldn’t I? My best friend had vouched for her character. She was already in.

I also didn’t know what kind of gift I was opening when I walked through my front door and the phone was already ringing that afternoon. She was desperate to ask a pointed question that she thought was veiled, and I knew it even then. She wanted to know if it was safe to come out to me, and the question was “why do you wear pride rings?” I could sense where she was going and said, “I’m gay. Do you have a problem with that?” She said, “no, I’m a Melissa Etheridge fan.” From that day forward, my life was never the same in too many ways to enumerate. Our first kiss rendered me absolutely helpless, the way a first kiss is supposed to feel. It was Princess Diaries all up in that shit.

Therefore, I love Canadian everything…. Including Roots, a clothing brand that offered to make the kit. One of the pieces was a pork pie hat, which Roots sold separately to customers. I bought it, and brought it with me on a cruise to Mexico years and years later.

The hat was for cold weather, but it was Spring Break in Enseñada. The Pacific Ocean is cold even when temperatures are three digits. I was standing on the deck looking down at the pool when a woman came up to me and pointed at some swimmers. She said, “see all those people down there? We’ve been wondering what kind of athlete you are for 20 minutes.”

So, of course I turned around and yelled “I’m a SKIIER!”

I also learned that while Meagan might not think my impression of her is dead on, no one noticed I wasn’t actually Canadian. I could have spoken in my own accent, but I didn’t. I played that character for all it was worth and oh my God that’s why Tony and Jonna Mendez are my favorite authors…. It’s all coming together now. THAT’s why I love the Argo script so much…. “Canadians don’t pronounce the second t.” “No one will know that.” “If you are caught, they will find someone who knows that.” OMFG. I wanted to know if my cover as Meag would hold up when when my constructive criticism thus far had been “it’s good you’re still trying.” For the record, it’s “Turrono,” frequently spoken so fast it sounds like “Tron-o.”

I just learned things that were deeper than mere mimicry, like when Canadians tend to say “eh” and when they don’t. It’s not just being able to imitate someone, but to understand the things that have informed why they do them. To understand how to say “house” and “mouse” like I was born in Alberta while also understanding that it is annoying as fuck when people ask if “y’all have Christmas on the same day.”

But what do I know? I’m just a dumb athlete. 😛


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