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Friday, October 21, 2016



     I read here in the Record that Somers native Rachael Goldstein is competing in "American Ninja Warriors," one of my favorite television shows. It's a program that pits ordinary people against a series of tests of strength and agility. These events have names like "Salmon Ladder" and "Jumping Spider," which you can try to order at a Chinese restaurant just for fun.

     I love the show because it reminds me of a time about 30 years ago, when I was flipping through the channels with the remote control. I noticed this show where two dudes were poking at each other with a huge Q-tip. That got my attention. Then this gal who looked like she had blown her hair out for another 20 minutes after it was already dry started hunting people with a gun that shot giant Q-tips. I couldn't help thinking that this show could REVOLUTIONIZE aural hygiene.

     The show was called "American Gladiators," and it starred an assembly of steroid-swilling ex-football players and female body builders who vied against two guest competitors in various games and contests. I became addicted to it for six years, until I finally got myself into a 12-step program, where I took 12 steps away from the television and went into the kitchen, where I discovered Dove ice cream bars.

     At the end  of the show the two contestants would line up to run through an obstacle course with hand bikes, blocking dummies, rope swings and a balance beam. If you fell off the balance beam two female gladiators were waiting for you in a "penalty pit," and one of them would whack you over the head with a ball peen hammer and the other one would give you a wedgie.

     Rachael Goldstein apparently trained for only four months to be a Ninja Warrior. She successfully jumped across a bunch of rubber doohickies, swung on a rope, held onto a large cylinder attached to a huge key ring, ran across a bunch of massive ping-pong paddles, jumped on a trampoline and grabbed onto a giant wheel which she tried to spin with her hands, but that some weasel had sabotaged so that she couldn't get a good grip, and so she fell off.

     These are not just a bunch of useless skills, like math. Let's say you're out in the jungle of Costa Rica, and I mention Costa Rica because I saw a hotel there with THREE gorgeous swimming pools, and I can picture myself on a lounge chair, laying out in the golden sun, complaining that they don't have any Coors Light. But let's say the pools are on the fritz, and so there you are in the jungle, holding onto a log that's rolling downhill. I suppose you could just let go of the log, but then you'd have to walk all the way down the hill.

     Or let's say the tiki bar is closed and you're out in the jungle again, being chased by a three-toed sloth. First of all, if you can't outrun a three-toed sloth you're a complete idiot. But let's say this one has four toes and runs super fast, and all of a sudden a cargo net appears, which luckily doesn't have any cargo in it. So you zip up that cargo net like nobody's business, not realizing that a sloth climbs MUCH faster than it runs. Either way, you are sloth chow, so bad example.

     They also have this thing called the "warped wall," which was invented when we hired a contractor that we hadn't completely vetted. We might have gotten him from Angie's List, but it could have been her grocery list or something.

     Anyway, I actually saw Rachael's run on "American Ninja Warriors," and let me say she did REALLY well, finishing four challenges before falling off the "Wheel of Doom," which is a name I just made up. By virtue of her successful appearance in the American Ninja regional qualifiers, Rachael Goldstein will be moving on to the next round, so congratulations! I will be watching for her, and if they could find a way to work a giant Q-tip into the show they could kiss waxy build-up goodbye.

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