Off the Clock with The Checkout Girl: Olympic Fever

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not sleeping. I’m not writing. I’m showing up to work late and asking to leave early. Why? I’ve got a raging case of Olympic Fever. That’s right, I am totally obsessed with everything Winter Olympics-related.

Editor’s note: We told you she’d be back! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, The Checkout Girl is back to grace you with her presence on a weekly basis, this time helping you keep tabs on all things pop culture. You know, the stuff you talk about in the breakroom/around the water cooler/over IM when you should actually be working? Enjoy!

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not sleeping. I’m not writing. I’m showing up to work late and asking to leave early. Why? I’ve got a raging case of Olympic Fever. That’s right, I am totally obsessed with everything Winter Olympics-related.

Now, you might be thinking, “Big deal, the Olympics are rad,” and you’d be totally right. But this IS a big deal for a girl who could, as a general rule, give a flying triple salchow about anything sports-related. What is it about the Olympics, then? The pageantry? Yes. The unity? Yes. The fact that some of these athletes have been planning for this moment since they could first conceive of planning and moments only to spend twenty seconds competing in their event before taking a life-altering spill that will be replayed again and again while Bob Costas waxes completely unpoetic about the agony of defeat? Hell yes.

I don’t know how anybody is supposed to get on with their lives during these 17 days of the 21st Winter Olympiad. If you include non-primetime coverage of less popular events on MSNBC and CNBC (which I affectionately call the “Schminter Schmolympics” but love just the same because, you guys, CURLING!) you can get your Olympic fix nearly 24 hours a day. Convenient for the retired, unemployed, and toddlers, but what about us simple working folk without benefit of DVR? I need a Xanax just to help alleviate the constant worry about missing something amazing while I am stuck tallying groceries and watering plants. Customers come through my line and I try to act cool as I drop a faux-casual “Hey, have you seen the Olympics today?” desperately hoping for some news from the outside.

I mentioned to a friend that I thought my first column should be about my Olympic obsession.

“Then you HAVE to go home and google ‘Olympic’ and ‘condom’ together,” she said. “Trust me.”

So I did.

Holy half pipes, Batman!

It turns out that, on top of being a place for the athletes, coaches, trainers, and officials to rest their weary heads after a long day of competition, the Olympic Village is a gold medal humpfest! Organizers have arranged for 100,000 condoms to be available to participants. That’s 14 for each person taking up temporary residence in Olympic Village. 14! For 17 days! The Olympics could last a year and I wouldn’t exhaust my supply. Then again, I’m not between the ages of 16 and 25 and pumped up on more adrenaline than Andy Dick being pulled over by the cops on an LA freeway. In fact, the U.S. Curling Team is being sponsored by both a brand of scotch AND a condom company. Even the curling team is getting laid! And who can blame them? Did you SEE Lindsey Vonn on the cover of Sports Illustrated? While that pose is an exaggerated version of a skiing position, it sort of suggested “I’m here to party” as much as “I’m in ur Olympics, winnin’ ur medals.” And, let’s face it, these kids probably haven’t had fun in months, maybe years, preparing for their moment. Heck, despite what McDonald’s commercials would have you believe (“Eat Like An Olympian”? Only a snowboarder with the paranoid munchies.), they probably haven’t had so much as a cheeseburger. Perhaps, instead of the quartet of adorable, furry little Olympic mascots, they might have gone with a banana, a donut, and some melons, arranged suggestively. “What happens at Olympic Village stays at Olympic Village,” one Canadian skier is quoted as saying. With 100,000 condoms available, I don’t see any way for that not to come true.

I think that, for me, the magic of the Winter Olympics lies in the camaraderie. I see people from all over the world coming together in the spirit of friendly competition. I just can’t bring myself to believe that we aren’t all, at our most primal, alike, whether our countries are financing or bombing each other. In victory or defeat the same range of emotions is visible on each competitor’s face and, if you weren’t privy to the color of his uniform, you’d not be able to tell which language he spoke. And would it matter? I don’t think so. What WOULD matter was that you could go to sleep that night thinking about how he is going to go back to the Village and get the kind of nasty that can only be achieved when both participants have thighs like tree trunks. And you don’t need language for that. It’s pretty much universal.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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