posted by killre
Watching the Presidential Debate Series is a little like watching the Olympics: It happens every four years; it last a few weeks (or seems to); a prodigious number of Americans tune in; most root according to the color of the uniforms ("I like the guy in the red tie." "I like the one in blue!"); most could give neither a hoot nor a holler in the intervening 46 months or so, but now they are avid; and most can claim to know little about the rules and less about the subtleties when the event begins, but after 23 minutes of coverage all are experts ("Did you see the way he [parlanced] that [parlance]? Now it all comes down to sticking the landing.").
Of course, the impending contest between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan is a vice presidential debate so, really, it's more like watching the Winter Olympics. Specifically, the ski jump.
I choose that analogy because, let's face it, nearly everyone who tunes in Thursday night will be watching --some with anticipation, some with dread, some with a odd mixture of both-- to see if Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will fly higher, farther, faster, or go helicoptering off at an obtuse angle like the agony-of-defeat guy in the Wide World of Sports intro reel.
Ryan, of course, is expected to be Ryan. His eyes will be the electric blue of the hero's lightsaber in a space opera, his posture will be just a bit stiff, his gestures will be just a bit herky-jerky, his cadence just a bit staccato. Conservatives will silently deny the discomfiting self-awareness that they want to sleep with him; liberals will fight the urge to ball their fists and knock some of that naive smugness off his lopsided face. Undecideds will be busy googling Ayn Rand... and misspelling it.
Hmmm. Regular reader may safely skip the next paragraph. It is nothing more than a shameless attempt to boost readership.
ine rand, ein rand, eine rand, ien rand, iene rand, eyne rand, eyene rand, ain rand, aine rand, eyen rand, i. n. rand, anne rynde (Hey... you never know.)
Biden, on the other hand, is a wild card. Figuratively speaking, one never knows when ol' Uncle Joe is gonna have one too many before proposing a toast to the happy couple. Hence the anticipation, and the dread.
Having watched 23 minutes of ski jump coverage (probably) in my life, I feel I am well-qualified to pontificate on the key components comprising a world-class jump: a strong start, form, form, form, a well-timed leap, form, form, prayer (I'd assume), form, form and then [parlance] the landing. No doubt you'll notice the frequency of the word "form." Feel free to read that as "posture" if you like. The first few anticipatory seconds of form are a gravity-friendly crouch; the few seconds of form that follow the well-timed leap (and it must be well-timed) are a ruler-straight, forward lean over one's ski tips. Those few seconds can be fraught with dread...
...or they can be a thing of utter beauty.
The secret is in leaning just... far... enough... without going too far.
P.S.... Bud "Why Couldn't He Have Said, 'World Baseball Classic?' After All, We Have Bats Helicoptering Into The Stands All The Time" Selig must go.