God Bless Merka!

It’s been a troubling weekend for the Merkin People. Creed split up, Ronald Reagan died, Smarty Jones didn’t win the Triple Crown, and Jennifer Lopez got married, again. Someone please tell me, how do we pick up the pieces and move on?

One of the reasons Jon and I make each other very happy is our collective lack of interest in anything relating to sports. We are not the type of people who watch golf on television or who have a favorite basketball team, and the only reason we watch the Super Bowl is so that we have any idea what people are talking about when we read blogs the next day.

My family is very interested in sports, however, and they often joke that life can be broken down into four essential S’s: sex, scriptures, “SportsCenter,” and cereal. Yes, I know that cereal doesn’t begin with an S, but we’re talking about people who don’t need a translator to understand anything that comes out of the President’s mouth, so it makes perfect sense.

While Jon and I understand the sex and cereal components of the equation, we’d have to swap out scripting for scriptures and “Survivor” for “SportsCenter” and then we’d add a fifth S for Senseo, our new coffee maker, the one Jon bought a mere eight hours after seeing a commercial that showed people “before Senseo” and “after Senseo,” and although I was at first very skeptical, I can honestly say that “after Senseo” is a great place to be.

This post is going nowhere very quickly so let me get back to what I was saying.

The sports thing.

We are not a sports family, but Jon had heard about that Smarty Jones horse on NPR during his commute to work. He thought it would be fun to spend Saturday afternoon watching the Belmont Stakes horse race especially since we’d be witnessing history, a horse winning the Triple Crown for the first time in almost 30 years.

At first I didn’t mind the prospect of investing an entire afternoon in a sporting event, but that was before I knew that Bob Costas would be involved. Jon once referred to Paige Davis, the host of “Trading Spaces,” as “that woman who crawled out of Satan’s ass.” I would describe Bob Costas as her male counterpart, and if the two ever had sex and procreated they’d give birth to the anti-Christ.

After about two hours of non-stop Costas I was ready to attack the television set with a baseball bat. If Bob Costas is talking about a mountain, you can pretty much assume that in real life that mountain is just a molehill, and the man could not stop shoving his head up that horse’s ass. For hours all I heard about was Smarty Jones! Smarty Jones! Smarty Jones! And if you haven’t heard about Smarty Jones, then you’re missing out on THE HORSE THAT CAPTURED AMERICA’S IMAGINATION!

I have no patience for Costas, and to be honest, I don’t have a lot of patience for America. How simple and unimaginative does America’s imagination have to be if it can be captured that easily with a horse! Named Smarty Fucking Jones? The way they were talking about that horse you’d think it could solve the Middles East peace process or find Osama Bin Laden. All our hopes and dreams as American people were wrapped up in that little horse, and after two hours of hearing nothing but “Smarty Jones! America’s Horse!” I stood up in the middle of the living room and started screaming, “I HATE YOU, SMARTY JONES!” and waving my middle finger at all the little unimaginative Americans sitting in the stands.

A few minutes before the race began I turned to Jon — who was at this point understandably annoyed with me, can’t he just watch a horse race in peace, woman? — and I said, “I think it’d be real cute if some no name horse comes out of nowhere and beats Smarty Jones.” And I was serious, because I just couldn’t take any more Smarty Jones, that stupid prick.

And then the race began, and Smarty Jones pulled out to the front of the pack, and something horrible started happening to me. I was sitting there watching this horse race, ready to roll my eyes, my middle finger perched toward the audience in the stands, and something deep inside me started rooting for that fucking horse. A little voice in my head started chanting, “GO, SMARTY, GO!” I was simultaneously horrified and riveted, and as the pack rounded the track I stood up and involuntarily cheered for Smarty Jones! I couldn’t help myself! I was captured! I was unimaginative! Go, Smarty, GO! America is counting on you!

And then it happened, that no name horse from out of nowhere started gaining on our Smarty! OUR horse! America’s horse! NO NO NO! I screamed. It couldn’t be happening!


As Smarty Jones crossed the finish line in second place I sank to the floor, a heap of sobbing tears and disbelief. Smarty Jones, America’s horse, lost the Triple Crown, and with that loss went all our country’s hopes of conquering terrorism and chronic obesity. America lost the Triple Crown that afternoon, and I lost all sense of decency. I, too, am an unimaginative American.