The Winner

In the 20th century for-profit athletics largely supplanted religion as the opiate of the masses, and also for a lot of people who had enough schooling if not education that they should know better.

"I won!"

After kissing his 486th First Place World Championship victory trophy, the greatest competitive athlete in human history turned to address his audience of hundreds of thousands of screaming testosterone crazed ultra-patriotic God help America!God help Ukraine!God help Great Britain! non-HVAC fans:

"Quiet please. [waits for the crowd to calm down] I want to tell: Winning is bad. I have made so many of my fellow athletes, who often were and always should have been my friends, be losers. Nobody should be a loser, because we are all equal as children of our Creator.

You worship me, or almost do. But I am just an ordinary mortal like you, who had the good fortune to be born with an incredible ability to whack a tennis ball around. I know many of you, unlike me, go to work each day to a job which at best means nothing to you and some of you even risk your health and even your life each day doing that. I am not a saint. I enjoy a glass of beer, just like you do or should. So, today I am giving all but two million dollars of my winnings to the International Rescue Committee and for the rest of my life ninety percent of everything I may receive in product endorsements, speaking fees and other activities which for me are easy and enjoyable, unlike the work many of you have to do. You don't have to worry, I will live the rest of my life in comfort, God willing: as a volunteer with no fee, to speak with the students at any school in a poor neighborhood that wants to have me talk with their students.

I am retiring today, at the peak of my career, and I am asking that all competitive sports, which are not fun but very serious enterprise, be abolished. Let all of us, men, women and others, always cooperate with one another to make life better for each and all! In any future conflict on this earth, I will not compete or take sides: I will be available to: mediate. All of you! Stop arguing with each other. If you are on a battlefield listening to me on the radio, lay down your arms and embrace your bothers on the other side of no man's land! If your officers don't like it, let them join too.

Each person's life is precious. Every man, woman and other is a winner: you are still alive today. And now, I will end – please, all you news reporters, make sure your camera lenses are in perfect focus for this: I will now smash this silver plated trophy on the ground in front of my feet and raise my two hands to pray to the Creator of all of us for universal peace and friendship among all. [smashes the trophy on the ground; it bounces into the hands of a security guard.]

For those of you have more than enough to eat tonite, open your door to someone who does not. No more clenched fists! No more bared teeth! If you are, like me, privileged to stand on a platform of honor, reach your hand down to help someone else up. I ask the man I defeated in this last competition of all and forever, to come up and share this platform with me. [waits while some people go drag the guy out of the locker room] We have both fought the good fight. We finished the course. We kept the faith. The war is over for us – here's half the prize money, my good friend [hands over $250,000 to the man he defeated] – and we can all, including first of all, my now former adversary, go home for a well earned rest.

This game is now over. Everybody be safe going home. May our Good Lord bless us all, this day, tomorrow, and forever more!"

The sportscasters are stunned in the press booth. They are at a loss for words. Some stations chose to fake power failures and cease transmission while they called all their executives to figure out how to respond to this potentially catastrophic development. Members of the nation's President's Cabinet proposed sending medical personnel to tranquilize the speaker and take him to a mental hospital for treatment. You, my reader, figure out the rest of this story for yourself.

Your Comment on The World Cup That Changed Everything


The New York Times <>
8:05 AM (2 hours ago) [+2022.11.20]
Your comment has been approved!
Bradford McCormick | New York
When will people grow up and get over "bread and circuses". Even already in ancient Greece, the philosopher Xenophanes said athletes should not be remunerated because they only entertain the masses not contibute to the wellbbeing of the polity. The earth is potentially burning up with greenhouse gases and Ukraine may be esclating toward thermonuclear apocalypse – and everybbody is all worked up about a few persons who have a preternatural ability to aim a small spherical object in the air with their foreheads, when what we need are educated minds ddressing existential threats to the one big ball: planet earth?
8 Recommend

'Tis the season to be stupid like William Sydney Porter (O. Henry)

A parable about interpersonal communication in memory of Prof. Louis Forsdale, an avowed atheist.

Dramatis personae
Woman Young female in love with Man
Man Yound male in love with Woman
Act I (and only act)
Man: I love you so much, Woman, and I so much love your beautiful hair. I was thinking of selling my cherished gold watch to buy you a barette for your hair, beause we don't have much money.BingoCrosby
Woman: I love you so much, Man, and I know how much you cherish your gold watch, so I was thinking of selling my hair to buy you a watch chain, because we don't have much money.
Man: Oh my gosh, my beloved Woman! Had we not told each other our loving thoughts, I would have ended up with a watch chein but no watch and you would have ended up with a hair barette but no hair. How awful, how wasteful, that would have been! All we could have done is cry in despair.
Woman: You are so right, my beloved Man! Had we not told each other our loving thoughts, I would have ened up with a barette but no hair and you would hae ended up with a watch chain but on watch. We would have lost our treasures for totally useless things!
Woman: My beloved, woman, thank you so much for sharing your loving thoughts with me. It shows how much you love me that you woukd have sarificed what you value most in your life for me!
Woman: My beloved Man, thank you so much for sharing your loving thoughts with me. It shows how much you love me that you would hav sacrificed what youyour cherished possession for me! We each value the other above ourself!
Man: Indeed, Woman! Our love knows no limits. We even took the risk of sharing our thoughts with each other, when many people would have kept them secret from each other, not thinking clearly about what they were doing but imagining to delight each other with not jut the gifts themselves but also the sentimental gifts of "surprises", but thus having less of each other to love.
Woman: You are so right, my beloved Man. what do you think we should do?
Man: I think we should join the Union at work tomorrow, and fight for better wages so we will have more money to give each other precious gifts. And for now let's go to bed and make love.
Woman: Yes, my beloved Man. Let's do both, starting now. You remember that soppy writer O. Henry who wrote a stupid play about a couple that sounds like us who really blew it big time?
Woman: Now that you mention it, Woman, I'd heard of it and maybe that's why I brought up the subject with you so that we would not repeat the follo=es of the past by not remembering it. People like that kind of rubbish don't they? I guess it makes them feel beter about not having enough money to buy things that would make their lives really better, since it reaassures them they already have the only thing they really need: each other, and so they don't join the Union because they don't think they need any better wages, yes?
Woman: It's getting late, my beloved Man. Let's get to bed, and forget about stupid people for the nite. They'll still be there in the morning, duped by the fat cats, alas, when we have to get back to our miserable jobs to pay our bills. But at lesat we didn't make our situation even worse by falling for sentimental ideas, my beloved Man.
Man: Yes, my beloved Woman. People don't distinguish love from sentiments. We do have each other, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. And if us workers take over the commpany, we'll have a lot more to enjoy together.
Exeunt omnes.

Why do people put up gaudy Xmas decorations?


I think people think they are doing it for the children: to give the kids something to be excited by, something to be awed at.... I think that if children's innate faculty of judgment is not circumcised: cut down to "honoring thy father and mother" and such social conditioning, a child can be fascinated by almost any simple thing. They may not be able to see the world in a grain of sand but who can except a chemist?

After the adolts have destroyed most of th child's capacity for wonder to make the child obedient, then it does take a lot of glitter to make any impresion on the small number of receptor cells still left. And guess who has the same problem? The parents whose own inborn capacity for wonder was desroyed by their childrearing. So the Xmas glitz arouses some kind of excitement in the adolts, too. Mission accomplished: the parents are not bored to death with their banal days. Oh, wow! Christmas decorations!

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