Olympics Report: A Sorry State of Affairs

The IOC couldn’t have chosen a worse city to host the Olympics than Salt Lake, where, for crying out loud, you can’t even buy a caffeinated soda without 1) showing I.D. and 2) calling it “pop.” It’s a provincial, ridiculous little city with no clue how to host a major event.

I would like to apologize for that last paragraph. Since writing it, I have received thousands of e-mails from people who were upset with what I said. My weak attempt at humor failed. I was wrong to write what I did. I am totally responsible and regretful for it.

From a completely impartial standpoint, though, the Games have to be considered an abysmal failure. Foreigners are winning medals right and left, right here on American soil! American athletes, how can you allow such a travesty to occur? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

That paragraph was not intended to be a vicious, hostile attack, but, upon reflection and rereading what I wrote, it went over the line of propriety. Foreigners, I love you. I’m sorry I hurt you.

The athletes are not to blame, after all; it’s the Mormon Church, which has been kidnapping and brainwashing journalists from around the globe and forcing them to write positive articles in their various news outlets, often under threat of death. This sort of abomination has got to stop, or it will forever ruin the Olympic Games.

I apologize to the Mormons who have written to tell me they were enraged at the preceding paragraph. Obviously, it was satire that didn’t work. I asked to speak with church president Gordon Hinckley, but he was on the other line, which I totally understand and respect. I am a complete and utter freak, and I realize that now.

Not all Utahns are Mormons, after all. Many of them are lapsed Mormons or inactive Mormons or anti-Mormons. And they’re certainly a friendly bunch of smiling, robotic, unthinking, Jell-O-eating weirdos who have single-handedly ruined all that the Games stand for, what with their horrific traffic snarls and unsafe venues. No wonder the whole world is criticizing the Winter Games!

It is with humble heart that I retract my last statement. Upon actually leaving my hotel room, I have discovered that everything I said was false. I have no worth as a human being. I should have been tied up in a sack and dropped down a well immediately after my birth, like the doctors recommended. I wouldn’t know quality writing if my fleas stood up and shaved it in my back hair. I am not writing this under duress or threat, though I am writing it under heavy anesthesia.

I love you, Utah, Mormons, athletes, foreigners and Olympics. Can I buy you a drink?

On Feb. 13, Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige published a column in which he absolutely ripped Salt Lake City and the Mormons, in a particularly cruel and vicious manner. I'm all for making fun of stuff, obviously, but I figure it should be funny and based on truth. Paige's column was neither. For example, he talked about the Mormon church having representatives all over the place foisting literature upon passersby -- which simply wasn't true. It's what people were afraid was going to happen, but it didn't actually happen.

There was a huge uproar, and the Post received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. On Feb. 14, Paige printed an apology column. His original column can be found here; I can't find his apology column anywhere online, but this news article quotes from it. Having read them, you may appreciate this "Snide Remarks" column a bit more.

The line about the fleas and the back hair is stolen from a Garrens Comedy Troupe sketch written by my good friend Randy Tayler back in the day. It was about a street insulter -- a guy who would stand on the corner and insult you, and you were supposed to throw money in his hat, like the guys who want money for playing the guitar or doing magic tricks. Funny sketch, as I recall, though my memory of that era is admittedly dim.

Over at the Herald Web site, there were some people who said things like, "Your apology isn't sincere" and "Why do you live here if you hate Utah so much?" These people actually thought I had received negative feedback on one paragraph before writing the next, and had therefore apologized for it (insincerely). What did they think, I was writing in front of an audience? In a chat room, maybe? How else could I apologize for a column while I was still writing the column?

I bet you could go up to a Utah County resident and say, "Here's a joke," tell them a joke, close by saying, "That was a joke," and they still would not know you were joking.

Case in point: This letter, received via U.S. mail a few days after the column ran. It came with no return address and no signature, but it was postmarked in Provo on Feb. 15 (the day of the column). It was typed, not computer-generated, and though it asks two questions, it uses no question marks.

Erick Snyder, [Already, you know this one will be a winner]

You are a pathetic a** hole. How on earth did you get hired by the Daily Herald, and why would they want to give you space to write anything in their paper. I like to pay for a paper that has some value in it, some truth, some facts, some humor, satire, and the funnies.

"Please don't think I will apologize for the above statement". [Why is that in quotation marks? I assume it's to make sure I catch that he/she is referring to my "apology" column, and to him/her, quotation marks are a way of saying, "Hey, I'm referring to something you wrote."] And I can promise you this: I will never read anything you write again. I'd say, that you have run out of funny things to say, and now it's just garbage.

I don't buy the paper for that. If Utah is such a bad place for you to live, when don't you take yourself some place else.

For reading your column

copies to:
Managing Editor
Salt Lake Tribune
Deseret News

We did indeed receive two other copies of this letter, each mailed separately, addressed to "Managing Editor" and "Editor." I can only assume that, true to his/her word, he/she also sent copies to the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, though for what reason I cannot imagine.