Thursday, May 31, 2012

Based on a True Story (Part 1)

LINCOLN (AP) — Authorities say a Lincoln man has been accused of poisoning  kittens by pouring antifreeze into their water bowl.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said John Lenzen, 35, has been cited on suspicion of animal cruelty.
Sheriff Terry Wagner said that, according to investigators, Lenzen had grown tired of the mess the kittens were making on his equipment in a rented bay at a machine shop.
At least one of the kittens has died.

My favorite part of the story is the last line.  It seems like it is saying that there is not less than 1 dead kitten.  But it could actually be saying “John Lenzen’s efforts were not completely in vain.”  

This is why I like the “Based on a True Story” format.  The above story is presumably true.  But it’s not really much to go on for a “Movie of the Week.”  And since I’m shooting for mini-series … Well I’m going to have to take some license.  Oh yeah and also, I don’t really know anything about any of the subject below either.  

But I can say the science stuff is “Based on True Science”

So now I present, “Lenny the Failed Veterinarian, based on a true story”

Chapter One, The Bite
“Well, I guess it can wait until tomorrow.  I’m beat,” Lenny was once again working past midnight in the school science lab.  He was obsessing over his new treatment for his favorite little patient, Furball. 
Lenny Johnson (based on a true name) had always known he’d be a veterinarian.  “Dogs and cats are easy, It is people that suck.”  Pets never say “Keep an eye on your little brother and we’ll be back in a couple of hours,” Only to die in a horrible car accident and never return, leaving you alone, scared and confused into the early morning until the knock at the door …

Lenny’s life was filled with the heartache and loss.  “I can’t help thinking I could have saved them.  If I only knew Dr. Stuff,” Was the single line Lenny wrote on his application to the most prestigious Veterinary School in the country.  He wanted to know it all.  Normally, an application like this would have been flatly rejected.  Honestly, after the interview with the dean, Lenny feared he would be destined to work the rest of his life in his dad’s little machine shop. 

As protocol, all applications to the school from within the state had to be accompanied by an interview, no matter how short.  As Lenny walked into the Dean’s office, he saw the dean was already holding a big red rubber stamp over Lenny’s application.  Lenny could also see the reverse lettering on the bottom of the stamp that said “REJECTED!”  As the stamp swung mercilessly toward the application, Lenny cried out, 

“Please wait!”

“I saw something I hadn’t seen in many years.  Something I thought died from the world eons ago.  A spark that made this tired old man believe again,” was the only explanation Dean Katz (no relation) could give.  He couldn’t  say why he decided to give “the cutter” a chance.  “Don’t make me regret it, kid,” As he welcomed Lenny Johnson with a warm handshake and a slap on the back.

Now in his senior year, Lenny was working on treating a rare form of Feline gum disease.  His subject, Furball had been brought to him after suffering from severely bad breath (even for a cat) and some inflamed gum tissue.  None of the normal treatment had worked.  Furball was initially given an antibiotic rinse and a good cleaning.  If anything, Furball’s symptoms got worse.   Furball was obviously in pain.  Refusing to eat.  Meowing all sad and everything.  

Then came the breakthrough.  

DNA testing had revealed an unexpected sequence in the cat tooth/gum area on the cat genome map thing.  Where GGTTACAAGAC was expected in a healthy cat, was the ominous GGGGCAATATA!  Lenny couldn’t believe it.  This meant that all he’d have to do is mutate Furball’s DNA and he’d be back to healthy cat mouth in no time.  Easier said than done.  Lenny and a couple of his professors at the school had been working on a ways to manipulate the tiny little cat double helices, but until Lenny got the idea from “Jurassic Park” to incorporate frog DNA, the science team had gotten nowhere.

Furball had been put on an extremely experimental DNA treatment for the past 5 days.  After the first 2 shots, his appetite returned.  He was becoming more playful and Lenny couldn’t be more proud.  It looked like everything was going to be al-right.  Of course, only Lenny knew about the treatments.  They were strictly forbidden.  This is why Lenny preferred to do the bulk of his lab work after everyone had left for the day.

But now, with 2AM fast approaching, and a 7AM class, Lenny was forced to call it a night.  As he switched off the light to exit the lab, he glanced over to Furball’s cage to say goodnight and saw the door was standing open.   With a heavy sigh, he turned the light back on and called for Furball.  He must have not quite latched the cage after tonight’s treatment.  “Here kitty kitty kitty …  Here Kitty Ki…”

Along the far wall of the lab was the door for the walk-in freezer.  Resting peacefully atop the door was fuzzy little Furball.  Lenny suppressed a grin at Furball’s amazing cute and cuddliness.  A week ago, there’s no way Furball could have gotten up there, weak from malnourishment.  “Come on fuzzy. Bedtime.”  As he reached up to help his little friend down, Furball’s eyes snapped open as he launched with impossible catlike velocity towards Lenny’s outstretched hand.  Lenny’s confused pause was all the time Furball needed to clamp his new frog fortified jaws into Lenny’s soft fleshy index finger.  The iron strong teeth sank into the bone, furball’s sandpaper tongue lapping for the marrow, Lenny’s very life force itself. 

The pain was worse than he’d ever imagined possible.  He could see nothing but the agony induced white explosions from somewhere deep in his protesting brain.  In his lifetime, He’d suffered Bunson burns, broken bones and killer migraines.  But nothing was close to this kind of pain.  He absently wondered if he could take this pain to the “pain of childbirth” argument.  Desperately thrashing around, Lenny tried to get the cat to release.  He grabbed at the cat’s head with his good arm to swing it and hopefully smash it to death into the Freezer door, but as soon as he touched the silky smooth fur of Furball’s cute little head, he received 8 deep gashes the length of his forearm from Furball’s back claws.  “I knew I should have worn my flannel shirt today,” was Lenny’s last thought before losing consciousness.

Chapter 2, Furball suspects a problem
MOUSE!!  Sweet.  I am so going to get that thing.  Look at this.  That stupid little tasty thing doesn’t even see me yet.  I’ve been approaching it for like 5 minutes and have made so much noise sliding across the floor, I have to believe there’s something wrong with its ears.  One last lick of my teeth to make sure they’re ready and I pounce.  Ow, holy crap!  What the hell?  That really hurts.  Ow.  Seriously!  Every time I touch my tongue to my nice pointy teeth, there’s this terrible pain at the gums.  The gums themselves are all puffy and red.  That can’t be good.  Ok whatever.  Focus.  Come to Furball, little mousy mouse.  There he is!  Pounce!  Oww!!  Crap missed him.  Just that little hesitation, the fear of the pain of biting down is all it took for that stupid little mouse to get free.  I guess I could just go eat the food in my bowl.  Yeah, right.  That dry crunchy crap is way worse.  I’m so hungry, but I just can’t eat.  Hopefully somebody will get worried pretty soon and send me off for highly experimental DNA splicing and testing and stuff.
Chapter 3, Just Because You get bit by a Cat/Frog Hybrid, Don’t think You’re a Superhero.
“Wake up, Lenny.”
“Professor Lincoln (no relation). Where am I?” Lenny was flat on his back being shaken awake by his gross dog anatomy teacher. As consciousness came, he felt the tight throbbing pain in his hand.  Looking up, seeing the sunlight stream in, Lenny began to panic.  “I’ve got to get to class, there’s a …”
“Shhh,”  Professor Lincoln gently pressed the palm of his hand to Lenny’s chest to hold him still.  He didn’t want him to move just yet and he certainly didn’t want him to see his mangled hand.  It looked like it had been sent through a meat grinder.  A mix of flesh, blood and bone twisted beyond recognition.  Link could not explain how it was the boy had not bled out.  Somehow the severed arteries had been cauterized.  The lab was demolished.  All the animals cages were opened and the dogs had been torn to pieces by whatever had gotten to Lenny’s hand.  “What happened here, kid?”

To be continued.  And don't worry.  It's already been written. Seriously.  What?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I can talk about this now

One of the times I went to college (the 2nd time of 3), I took the prerequisite English class I had tested into.  Incidentally, the awkward form of the opening sentence should serve as a clue to both where I placed and how I did in the class.  I probably should have written something like “One time, in English class …”

It was a composition class so the idea was we had to write stuff.  There were going to be 4 types of composition.  I don’t exactly remember the names of them but I think there was an informative one.  I remember writing about MS-DOS.  I think I got an ‘A’ on that paper.  There was to be a couple of papers where you basically pick a fight, and one that was supposed to be persuasive.  Finally, there was a team paper.  We wrote ours on why televisions should have “V-chips”.  Thrilling stuff. 

The Professor considered himself a very amazing fellow.  He wore a bow tie and had those dark elbow cover things on his brown blazer deal. 

The first thing he tried to get across to us was that great writing was the goal.  He didn’t care if the content was misguided as long as the art itself was sound or some such bullshit.

He spent lots of time explaining that if he suspected we were writing opinions just to line up with his own, it would not go well for us.  If however, we could somehow articulate the contents of our unrefined little souls with a certain degree of skill, boy howdy.

So of course, the first thing everybody (except me) did was try to figure out his opinions and write the opposite.  They didn’t understand that if you disagreed with him, you had to write well.  Silly students.

These lectures about not trying to please him with content went on for – well at least until I was gently prodded awake by Julie.  I was in love with Julie.  I was separated from my first wife and Julie was engaged and had no clue I was in love with her.  But I’m pretty sure she was into me.  The best part about it was that Julie had long dark hair.  My future ex-wife was only jealous of blondes, so.

“Did I miss anything?”  I asked suggestively.

“Besides the drool running down the side of your chin?” said Julie, obviously captivated by my sleepy bedroom eyes.

“Yeah – I mean, did he get past not writing to please him,” I explained, subtly flexing my muscles inside my nice cozy parka as I gracefully wiped my face dry.

“Next lecture.  He’s going to talk about the forbidden 3 topics,” she trailed off, distracted by my biceps.

“What? like the joy of incest or something,” oops, must have touched a nerve.

“Ewww.  Are you going to show me how to send email or not,” She flirted.

“Oh yeah, probably your place will work best,” I suggested, perhaps revealing my hand a bit too much.

“Except I don’t have a computer, it’s 1993, not 2010, and the computer lab is right downstairs.  And my boyfriend will kick your ass.”

“But the computer lab in this building sucks.  Let’s go to Durham.  And seriously, let me carry your bag.”

“You’re such a creep,” she assured me.

So anyway, it ended with Julie a few months later and before it actually started because of my good conservative friend who did not know my wife, but thought it was wrong for me to be traipsing around with Julie even though I was separated.  He told her I was happily married.  I never saw her again.  Thanks Kevin. 

To his credit, once he did actually get to know my ex, he apologized for messing it up between me and Julie.  Good Friend.

So where was I?  Oh yeah.  The next week of English class was about the “Forbidden Three” topics.  The class was 75 minutes long twice a week.  The gist of the message was “Don’t write about Abortion, Gun Control or the Death Penalty.”

To me, that’s a 5 second lecture, not a two part 2.5 hour lecture.  But he really wanted to be quite clear that he did not want to read any more papers on those three topics and the topics were Abortion, Gun Control and The Death Penalty. 

“If you are thinking in your little brains that you are going to come up with some new interesting shocking argument either for or against one of these topics, then you are most certainly yada yada yada ...”

“What about, um - can we talk about adoption,” my Charlie McCarthy doll innocently asked. 

“Hinsley.  Get that THING out of here if you can’t keep it quiet.”

“Sorry teach, won’t happen again,” I lied.

 My Charlie McCarthy Doll had been my faithful companion since the split with my ex-wife.  But lately he’d become a little bit of a nuisance.  I was starting to wonder if things weren’t getting a little out of hand.  Like the time I woke from a nap to find him standing over me, holding a knife.

“Charlie, what’s this?”
“Oh you’re awake.  Good.  I uh just came in to ask you if you’d like a cheese sandwich.  That’s why I’m holding a knife, see?  To, uh, cut the cheese!  Hardy har har!”

“No thanks Charlie.  Where’s your shoe?”

“Gone,” he said, “Just gone.”

So.  Sorry.  Back to English class.  Did I mention that my mind would often wander in English class.  Just reliving it is having the same effect on this post.  Weird. 

“So are we all clear on what are the 3 things we cannot write about in this class?”

Under his breath, Charlie leans to me “About which we should not …, ouch! Not the ribs Hinsley!  Jeez.”

“Problem Hinsley?”

“It’s pronounced Hinsley.  And no.  All under control Dr. Smith,” I lied.

“I have a question.  Ouch,”  Charlie blurted out.  Oh my god, this little guy is really getting me in some hot water. 

“Actually, I’d like to hear this.  Class?  Wouldn’t you all like to hear Charlie’s question?”  The professor encouraged.

“I really don’t think …”

“Shh, let’s hear Charlie’s question.  I’ve spent the better part of 2 hours explaining the 3 things I don’t want to read and somehow, this Dummy has a question.”

“Oh professor, He really doesn’t like to be called …”

“So.  Dummy.  What is your Smart ass question?”

“Uh,  ahem.  Yes.  Well first of all, Hinsley looks a little thirsty don’t you think?  Is it ok if he drinks a glass of water while I ask my question?”

See that was Charlie’s trick.  He knew I couldn’t stop him if I was drinking water.

Hang on there’s a phone call.  Caller ID says “Washington DC”  Oh um that was Mitt Romney. He asked if it was ok if he entered my home.  Who am I to say no?

Anyway where was I?  Oh yeah, so  I pull a big glass of water from my book bag and listen helplessly as Charlie asks, “Can we write about stuff that rhymes with these things?  Because I have very strong opinions about Schmun Schmontrol …”

Hang on that must be Mitt Romney at the door …

“I wonder if I might talk to you about joining my fight …”

Chomp. Crunch. Bleed.  Transform into undead. Damn.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Midweek Extra - Maybe I Should Race

I’ve had no desire to race this year.  Too much time commitment, money and disappointment.  I realize it’s different for everybody.  But I have to face the fact that I’m just not very good.  I bought a license at the beginning of the year in the hope of faking myself into training as if I was going to race.  Honestly it worked out exactly as I had hoped.  I lost all of the weight I wanted to lose and then some.  I didn’t train too many hours because I don’t really care, but I always kept that possibility in the back of my mind. 

After several weeks of casual training I started noticing something.  I was feeling better on the bike than I ever had.  Some days would feel weak, but the strong days were stronger than ever.  Although the numbers didn’t seem to verify it.  My rides were slower than in previous years.  I thought that might be due to the fact that I wasn’t really going all out.  I was just going kind of hard for a while during my rides and then spending several minutes at a time relaxing on the bike. 

I would have 4 or 5 days of very weak riding followed by 4 days of stronger than ever (perceptibly) riding.  I started to log what I was doing the days of all these rides to try to make sense of it.  One thing came clear that coincided with all the strong rides.  They were after days of eating lots of carbohydrate rich foods. 

Then, a couple of weeks ago after a particularly hard ride, I chased down a time trialing Mike Miles.  Shim likes to give me shit about the fact that my heart rate went past 170 during this effort trying to chase down Munson, who was wheel sucking, and is by his own admission not in good form right now.  But the truth of the matter is that I averaged between 29 and 30 MPH for the 5 minutes I chased them down.  Obviously this is a walk in the park for a Cat 3 legend like Shim, who is actually too good to upgrade.  But for me, a Cat 4 nobody, it was significant.

Last Friday night we (the family) had to go to a social event.  I ate a lot of snacky carb type food.  So Saturday, I went for a ride that I’ve done through the years to test my fitness.  It’s just a 25 mile out and back.  I have a PR for this ride that has stood for about 7 years.  Until Saturday.  I broke it with an average speed .2 mph higher than before.  Oh yeah, and I added 8 miles of hills to the route.  So maybe I should race.  If Munson is in the race and I can get my heart rate up to 170, I’m destined to not come in last place.  Shim can stand on the sidelines waiting for his elite race, yelling encouraging stuff like “allez allez allez, fatties!”  It will be awesome …. awesome … awesome …

“Freddie, wake up.  Time for school.”

“Five more minutes, Mom.  I had the weirdest dream just now.  There was this mean old guy on a bike who went around talking shit to lesser riders …”

“Those are called assholes, Freddie.  Now get ready for school.”

“Oh yeah, and this guy.  He said you were a whore.”

“It’s because his mother is a whore, Freddie.  School.”

“I guess that makes sense.  But he’s not real.  It was just a dream … Or was it?”

Ok - now I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lance Armstrong’s greatest contribution

Lance Armstrong has done so much to raise the general awareness of cycling in America.

 1) Advances in beating drug tests

 2) Beating cancer

 3) Nailing rock stars (mostly girl ones)

 4) Winning an unprecedented “several” tours of France

 5) Dumping rock stars (mostly girl ones) with cancer.

And the list goes on.  See:

 6) Making yellow rubber bracelets mandatory

 7) Knocking up some chick after having his balls (nuts) radiated.

 8) Eighth achievement

And though this is an impressive list, there’s one lasting impression he’s left on the collective consciousness of America.  The one I’m most thankful for.

I am not “faggot”.

Before Lance Armstrong, if I went out for a bike ride it meant that I was going to be called “faggot” at least once, but more likely 2 or 3 times.

By the early 90’s, Greg LeMond had won 3 tours and was a fairly household name.  At the height of LeMond’s popularity, passing motorists would affectionately yell to me, “Hey – get on the sidewalk, faggot!”

It took cancer survivor, miracle man to change all that.  By the time LA was going for his 4th straight tour victory, America was growing up.  There was an awakening of sorts.  Cycling became popular.  People everywhere were plunking down hard earned cash for shiny new road bikes.  Now, when a cyclist rode down the street, instead of harsh words, He could hold his head up high to the tune of “Hey – get on the sidewalk, Lance!”

What did that car driver just say?

Beep, beep “Hey Lance!”

Another one.  Sweet.

Like most people, when I drive my car and approach a cyclist, I think, “Oh crap, I have to pass this guy.”  I don’t think, “Look.  What is that on the road?  I’d better yell at it.”

But that’s what some people think.  Until roughly the year 2002, they didn’t know what cyclists were.  And when idiots get confused, they get angry at homosexuals.

Then came good ol’ Lance Armstrong.  It took him winning cycling biggest race about 4 times, but eventually he not only entered mainstream consciousness.  He accomplished the unfathomable.  He entered big fat, idiot, bigot consciousness.  It didn’t matter how much of a fucking moron you were.  You now knew the general form of a road cyclist.  You didn’t know it was called "cyclist".  You knew it only as “Lance Armstrong.”

But I’ll take it over the alternative any day.   Thanks Lance.

The End.

Four minutes later update:  I’ve noticed lately that I hear the “Hey Lance” less and less frequently.  I believe this is because the big fat idiots are forgetting him.  Hopefully someone will rise up soon to fill those shoes.  Who knows, maybe someday people will yell “Hey Shim!” at me.  Never mind.  I prefer “faggot.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Breakfast Cereals

When I was a kid my favorite was Fruit Brute.  Mostly because he was kind of the bastard stepchild second fiddle character.  He was the underdog, although I think technically he was a werewolf.  The first of the “Monster” themed breakfast cereals I remember was FrankenBerry.  I don’t know if Count Chocula came out before or after (or at the same time as) Frankenberry.  Boo Berry?  Some stupid little tired looking ghost?  No thanks. 

All of these cereals (and Lucky Charms) had one thing in common.  Marshmallows.  Delicious little marshmallows.  Only thing was, they were not delicious straight from the box.  They needed to be steeped in milk for a while.  Oh and by the way, milk used to be white.  Now, for some reason it’s the same color as 10 year old briefs (My college nickname).  I know.  Whole Milk is still white.  I’ve only seen the gray stuff for years though.

So whenever we got one of these marshmallow cereals, we had to eat all the non-marshmallow parts first.  It starts out easily enough, but toward the end, the marshmallows begin to organize, devising schemes to get eaten before all the other bits are gone.  Their favorite trick was clinging to the bottom of the spoon.  As you innocently went to stick 4 grain based nuggets into your mouth, these brazen stowaways would detach from the spoon at the exact moment you were beginning to chomp down.  Sometimes, your tongue would send the alert in time for you to spit the offenders back into the bowl, but usually there was nothing you could do.  A few of us adopted the technique of eating off the top part of the spoon without ever getting the underside in our mouths.

Depending on how careful you were, you could have a very impressive looking pile of milky marshmallows by the time all the meal was gone.  Hang on to that bowl.  If Mom sees all that pure sugar sitting there, she’s going to try to dump it. 

Later on, there was a cereal that I don’t remember much about.  I just remember that it was my favorite.  It was called something like “The Freakies.”  There were several warty colorful characters.  I think I identified with the yellow one.  But I only remember the leader, Boss Moss.  Ok that’s the extent of my recall.  Now to use the internet (Wikipedia) to complete the memory …

The Freakies were made up of seven creatures named Hamhose, Gargle, Cowmumble, Grumble, Goody-Goody, Snorkeldorf and the leader BossMoss. In the mythology of the Freakies, the seven went in search of the legendary Freakies Tree which grew the Freakies cereal. They found the Tree, realized the legend was true, and promptly took up residence in the Tree which then became the backdrop for all the TV spots and package back stories. In 1987, a new Freakies cereal was made, depicting the characters as aliens from another planet. Boss Moss and Grumble were still the same, but the other characters were replaced by new ones, named Hugger, Sweetie, Tooter and Hotdog.

Yeah, it was the yellow one.  Hamhose.  That’s right.  He was always kind of embarrassed by his flamboyant friends, so.

So in conclusion, I saw Munson riding during the Wednesday Night Worlds.  See what I did there?  I was riding.  So was Munson.  The Wednesday Night Worlds were going full bore miles and miles away from where I saw Munson. 

Here’s the cool part.  I was on my way back from what I was estimating as a very hard workout.  Into a slight breeze.  I was going hard.  For me, anything over 150 BPM is hard.  162 is the highest I’ve seen this year.  So I see these 2 douchy racer cyclist types heading south near Culver’s.  As they approach, I notice one looks exactly like Munson with long hair.  Then I’m all “Munson!”  But either he didn’t hear me because of all the hair, or he was ignoring me cause he and whoever was pulling him were flying pretty good. 

I stopped and watched them for a while trying to decide if I was feeling froggy enough to chase them down.  My legs were already very tired.  What the hell.  So I’m going as hard as I possibly can, trying to conserve with a good spin (thanks rollers) and push at intervals.  They are about 300 yards away.  Then they get on the bridge that leads to the big papio trail.  A little out of my way.  Hmm.  Turn around and go home?  Naah.  So I chase and get to about 50 yards from them when I look down and see that my heart rate is at 170.   Then psychology kicked in.  I can’t do this.  They are going too fast.  My heart rate is … Shut up psychology.  Take That!  I stepped on it until I was able to attach to Mike’s wheel.  He hadn’t pulled once this whole time.  So while I’m resting, leader guy turns and sees he has a pesky little marshmallow like stowaway at the bottom of his time trialing spoon.  He kicks it up a notch.  Sorry pal, I’m on now and btw, I just chased you down, so. 

Hey wait a minute, I’m not sure that’s Munson. Those golden locks flowing out the back of his helmet don’t look red enough.  Well rest time’s over, let’s see if I can drop these fags.  As I get into the passing lane … “Munson! It is you.”

“Yeah,” and I swear he said this, “I thought that was either you or Bryan.” 

2 things about this statement.  First, when Munson goes in to get new glasses, he just jacks his thumb toward Mystery Incorporated’s Velma and shouts, “I’ll have what she’s having!”  (I’m saying he has bad eyesight).  Secondly, I need to gain some weight (I’m saying I don’t want to be as skinny as Bryan). 

What a happy reunion.  I guess Randell and Munson are going to take some time off next week for some rides.  I may join them because as Munson said, “It would be nice to get the band back together.”  I’ve suggested we all show up at U.P. on Thursday for the Taco Ride.  That way, maybe we could see Shim.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Ice Castles, Part 1.

"If she hits her quintuple axel, not only will it end a flawless routine,"  wept the announcer, "It will probably be an end to figure skating as we know it!"

The announcer, Brad Neill, had never, not once, lost composure during a broadcast.  But this girl was different.  Neither he nor any of the thousands of fans in attendance had seen anything like it.  Brad was left with the unenviable position of trying to describe what he was witnessing to millions of radio listeners.  Any other announcer would have dropped the microphone, curled up into the fetal position and rocked back and forth in a vain attempt to regain some semblance of sobriety.  But Brad soldiered on.  “I felt like that Hindenburg announcer guy,” He’d later remark. 

All 12,345 (according to gate totals) and 17 unborn (also in the fetal position) were left to watch the most beautiful figure skating performance ever and just cry and cry and cry.

Alexis Camelnofilter was the skater.  A total underdog.  I mean, let me list the ways.  First of all, her only qualification was she just really wanted to be a top skater some day.  She had never had any formal training.  She was from a small town in Iowa.  A town with a Pizza Hut, a Casey’s and Beulah’s Bowling Alley.  The owner of the bowling alley “Big Beulah,” Had been a roller derby queen in the 70’s, and she taught Alexis everything she knew. “I may not know nothing about figure skatin’ but I can see when a girl wants sumpin real bad-like, ain’t nuthin getting in her way,” Beulah was kind of an idiot.

“So anyways, Lexi, - ‘swhat I always called her.  She comes up and says she wants to be the next Tonya Harding.  Says can she use my bowling alley for practicing.  Well I’m not sure I heard her right, but I say yeah, why not.  Makes sense.  Practice for figure skating in a bowling alley.  Then she shows me her genius …”

Alexis really needed a rink, but the nearest one was in Des Moines or Omaha or whatever big city is closest to whatever town she was in in Iowa.  But the one thing that ice rinks and bowling alleys have in common is that they’re slippery.

Beulah continued, “Why, that little girl laced up them rental shoes and walked down to lane number 1.  Then, I’ll never forget this as long as I live, she started running across the lanes, hopping over the ball returns, narrowly missing several gutters, and went airborne.  She danced.  She spun.  She leapt.  A natural.  I was watching this kid do the impossible.  Sure she fucked up the lanes real bad and we had to go ahead and put more of that oil stuff all over them again, but damn.  I never cry.  But I almost did that night.  Because of all the beauty.  Of the skating on the bowling lanes.  Yeah.”

A few years later, here’s little Lexi Camelnofilter at the World Blind Figure Skating Competition.  Oh yeah – she had some accident that left her blind.  Or she got bowling alley oil in her eyes or something.  Lexi always skated with her faithful partner/service animal, Rex.  Lexi and Rexy, as they were called, had spent months working out their routine.  While Alexis dragged Rex along the ice, he would wimper once for her to turn left and twice for right.  It was almost perfect.    

Here, at the end of the most amazing skater/seeing eye dog display ever witnessed, Alexis was preparing to attempt something that had never been done successfully by any skater.  The elusive quintuple axel. 

It was pretty much agreed that she did not need to do it at all.  A triple would cement a win.  But it had never been about winning.  It was about beauty.  The kind of beauty that makes a grown man weep.  Yeah, I said it.

As she gathered the breakneck speed required for this move, something seemed off.  Rex let out a little growl.  But it was too late.  Her left skate was acting up.  She’d have to leave the ice and land very carefully or it could be disaster.  Closer now, Rex prepared to give the “Clear to leap” lick.  That skate is definitely not right.  Here goes …

“And she’s in the air.  Oh the humanity!  She’s going around and around so many times that I have time to announce it.  Wait a minute.  What this?  Is there something amiss with one of her skates?  It’s hard to be sure in the blur of the spinning, but I know a loose blade when I see it.  Oh shit, This could be disaster.  I count three complete revolutions.  Look at Rex.  Clear out at the end of Lexi’s arm holding on to dear life by his service collar.  How Cute.  Here’s the fourth turn.  Oh lord, She’s going to do it!”  The years of frustration end tonight little Lexy!  Seriously, does anyone else see that skate?  Does it not look goofy?  Oh well, here’s the landing.  Boy, Rex looks a little nervous doesn’t he …

To be continued.

source: Ice Castles