Somebody once bought me a shoe-stretcher for Christmas.
Obviously it was someone who absolutely hated me, because nobody in their right mind would want a shoe-stretcher for Christmas.
In case you’re unfamiliar with a shoe-stretcher, it’s an object that resembles a clockwork wooden foot – think of a slightly more useful and animated Sarah Jessica Parker.
The purpose of the shoe-stretcher is to make shoes more comfortable. You pop the wooden foot into your shoe, turn the handle, and the leather gives a little. Keep cranking, and it gives and gives and gives.
In many ways a shoe-stretcher is very much like the Olympics. When I made a vow to do a daily blog about something I have no interest in, no knowledge about, and have no plans to watch, I realised that I may have made a rod for my own back. But the truth is, this is a doddle. Every time I think I’ve come to the end of stupid things to laugh at, the Olympics provides.
Like a shoe-stretcher, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s only £8,999,999,985.99 more expensive.
If you’re looking for examples of stupid stuff to inspire a sarcastic blog, how about the fact that the Three Day Event is taking place over four days? It reminds me of the time I took my Renault Avantime to be cleaned at a hand car-wash. The Avantime was a big car, which is the only explanation I can come up with for what happened. I asked for the £5 wash, and the guy shouted to his boss:
Guy: How much for the £5 wash?
Or how about the fencing, where somebody lost by a very small amount and decided the best way to solve that problem was to sit down for an hour and cry. Nice one, love. Bound to work, that is. The judges award points based on sympathy, as any fule no.
I think it would be easier to judge who won at fencing if they took the little nipple off the end of the foil, made them do it naked, and the winner was the one with a pulse at the end. Now that I’d watch.
There was also an event called the Synchronised Diving. To the untrained eye – i.e. mine – Synchronised Diving looks very much like a lot of arsing about. I’m sure it’s very clever and fiendishly hard to do, and all that. But what we have here, basically, is two grown men elaborately falling into a pond. That’s what they do for a living. They wake up, shave every inch of themselves, do 4000 press-ups, and then spend all day practicing falling off a plank.
Actually, one of the grown men is barely a grown man at all, he’s Tom Daley; and for some reason police arrested somebody who was a bit mean to him on Twitter. But Tom is still in school, where every single person is incredibly mean to everybody else all of the time. At my school we had The Goz Pit, which is just what it sounds like: there were stairs down to the subterranean boiler room, surrounded by high iron railings. It was very hard to climb out on your own, but very easy to be thrown in by half a dozen lads.
If you did something to offend other boys, like having a lazy eye or a pretentious name, you were thrown into this pit. And once in there, everybody in the school gathered at the top and gozzed on you, whether they knew you or not. After 5 minutes down The Goz Pit you looked like a plasterer’s radio.
Then there was bog-cramming, in which you hurled smaller, feebler boys over the top of the toilet cubicle until about 40 of them were in there, and small children at the bottom of the pile died in a shallow puddle of ancient urine.
It didn’t even have to be organised torture, you could do it all on your own. In the second year we were given Gideon Bibles, which were intended to improve us and keep our souls on the straight and narrow. We would jam a pencil down the spine of the book to make it nice and rigid and painful, and then smite first years on the head with them. It was called Fag-Bashing, and became a proper sport, with rules and scoring and medical teams on the sidelines. During one particularly busy morning break, I broke 4 skulls and 6 commandments. Thanks Gideon!
Why isn’t that an Olympic sport? The Brits would be good at that.
Compared with Fag Bashing and The Goz Pit, doing a mean tweet is the digital equivalent to chalking a cock on the back of Tom Daley’s blazer. I’m sure Tom is doing just fine, and just wishes we’d all shut the fuck up about it.
Anyway, we came fourth at falling into a swimming pool. Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it? All that money, all that effort, all the energy and planning and time that our wonderful government has put into the Olympics, and we’re not even best at falling over and getting wet. Definitely worth the effort, that was. Definitely.
Meantime, in Germany, they’ve got a functioning manufacturing base.
Germany is winning medals as well as conquering Europe in an orgy of what can only be described as “doing things properly”. But God knows how they’ve got the energy to compete. I’m fairly convinced we should do a doping test on the whole of Germany, because it shouldn’t be possible to make the Huf-Haus, the BMW 5 series and Heidi Klum, and still find time to beat Britain at equine events. Let’s face it, pretty much everyone in the world must assume that Britain is peerless at being posh on a horse. Germany beating us at that is like them thrashing Hugh Grant at “stammering with charm”.
You might not know people who have horses, because they live in that other Britain, the Britain that George Osborne thinks is normal. They mainly come from Chalfont St Giles and Chipping Sodbury and Sodding Typical, and when you cut them they bleed blue blood, mop it up with £50 notes, and hurl them into one of their many solid gold fireplaces. All those people are born with horses, and some of them appear to be born on horses.
They are also born with a God-given right to be an MP, a psychopathic urge to cut benefits to the poor, a petulant demand for massive farming subsidies, and a predestination to win an Olympic Gold Medal at horsey stuff.
Not that it makes them happy. The apogee of that set is, naturally, The Queen. But when did you last see her smiling? She didn’t even do it when Daniel Craig popped round in an evening suit, and I’m unaware of any other woman who wouldn’t grin and drool at that. Yes, drool. And yes, from there.
But no, Her Maj has the habitual expression of a camel chewing a wasp.
But this time, Horsey Britain didn’t win. So I think the best solution is for a radical departure from old habits. I’m not talking about a glorious revolution, brothers. No, I’m just suggesting that at all future Olympics, we don’t let the professionals do it. Don’t give the job to people who were born to do it, or who have trained. In fact, do no training at all, and choose competitors at random.
Wouldn’t that be more fun? Wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to watch Lionel Wintergreen, 56, from Dorset, having to do the diving. Or Elsie Posset, 71, from Kilmarnock, being our entry into the pole vaulting, dicky hip or not. It would certainly get Britain involved in the Olympics a lot more than just letting the people who can afford the equipment have a go.