I Was Asked To Carry The Olympic Torch!

This morning at 2 a.m. my phone rang. A low, husky voice asked if I am who I am.

“Yeah, that’s me,” I said. “Who is this?”

“Mr. Shore,” he said, “I am a representative of the Zeus Torch company. Perhaps you’ve heard of us?”

“No. And why are you …”

“Mr. Shore, the Zeus Torch company is responsible for the safekeeping of the Olympic Torch as it makes its journey across America. I take it you’ve heard of the Olympic Torch?”

“Yeah, sure, I …”

“Mr. Shore, do you consider yourself a good American?”

“Yeah, I guess. Sure. But I don’t how that’s any of your …”

“Do you consider yourself a good citizen of the world, Mr. Shore?”

“You know, I do. See, I have a book coming out in Korea, and …”

“That’s great. And you like sports, don’t you Mr. Shore?”

“Well, sure, I …”

“You avidly watch every Olympics, don’t you?”

“Actually, the number of commercials they run now has kind of…”

“You used to play sports, didn’t you, Mr. Shore? You used to play Little League baseball, isn’t that right?”

“Well, yeah, I did. How do you …?”

“But you quit, didn’t you? Something about your head being too big for the caps?”

“That is not why I quit Little League. I quit because…”

“Wouldn’t you like to be back in the sports world again, Mr. Shore? Wouldn’t you like to recapture some of that glory that you left lying on that baseball diamond back in Cupertino, California?”

“Wait a minute. How did you …?”

“Mr. Shore?”

“What?”

“Your country needs you.”

“What?” 

“The world needs you.”

“What are you talking about? Why?”

“To carry the Olympic Torch.”

“What are you talking about?”

“As you’re no doubt aware, Mr. Shore, the Olympic torch has become a bit of a hot topic this year.”

“Hot topic! Good one! You know, I write humor for …”

“And because of that, the International Olympic Committee has hired Zeus Torch to ensure that the flame of the 2008 Olympic games continues its tour of America without incident. That’s where you come in, Mr. Shore.”

“It is?”

“It is. We want you to carry the torch when it comes through San Diego.”

“The Olympic torch isn’t coming through San Diego.”

“It is now, sir.”

“It is? Since when?”

“That’s classified. But believe me. It’s coming through San Diego.”

“And you want me to carry it.”

“That’s right.”

“When?!”

“This time tomorrow morning.”

“But it’s two in the morning!”

“Yes, sir. It’s a security precaution. As I say, we’ve had to vary some from the original plans.”

“You want me to carry the Olympic Torch.”

“Yes, sir.”

“At two in the morning.”

“For four blocks, yes sir.”

Four blocks? How come for only four blocks?”

“That’s as long as we’d be able to ensure your safety, sir.”

Four blocks?!  That’s it?”

“Yes sir. But rest assured that during those four blocks every possible means will be used to see to it that you and the Olympic flame remain completely protected at all times. You will be surrounded by four assaulted-resistant military vehicles. Those vehicles will in turn be surrounded by a phalanx of …”

“Wait. Did you say ‘phalanx’?”

“Yes.”

“I love that word.”

“I do too, sir — but that’s beside the point. You will be surrounded by a … company of armed security personnel, each handpicked straight from the Green Zone in Iraq.”

“Oh, great. Like that’s gonna…”

“Three military helicopters will be directly overhead every step of your way.”

“Really? Wouldn’t the helicopter blades blow out the …”

“Snipers will be posted throughout the route.”

“Wow. Do my neighbors…”

“You yourself will be wearing three-inch thick, full-body Kevlar armor and a military-issue combat helmet.”

“Sounds heavy! But you know, I’ve been working out at the gym lately, and …”

“That’s great. Mr. Shore?”

“Yes?”

“Will you do it? Will you heed the call of the world’s foremost amateur sporting event? Will you take your place in Olympic history? In short: Are you in, Mr. Shore?”

“Um. Hmm. Can I think about it, and call you back?”

He didn’t sound too happy about it, but he said that I could.

I haven’t yet.

I don’t know. I can’t decide.

 

 

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://www.davidbhayes.com/ david

    Fact or fiction, that was a compelling read. Thanks.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    "Go, Torch Boy, Go!" Too freakin funny. I'm so going to use that. I shudder to think of how … but I will.

    UPDATE: I just returned from a little neighborhood pow-wow. Turns out the Zeus Torch company has called virtually every house on my block. It appears they've called everyone in my neighborhood, searching for anyone willing the carry the Olympic torch. No takers yet.

  • arlywn

    im…. not sure if I believe this or not. It's hilarious, but thats the problem…

    and secretely that guy on the phone with you could have been a tad nicer… what with the interupting and all….

    who wears armor when they jog 4 blocks? And what is the hoopla over this torch being carried? Its always been carried….

  • http://lpkalal.wordpress.com Longing for Holiday

    I am surprised and confused.

    I got the exact same call and they asked me to carry the torch through the streets of Dollywood (yes, that would be Dolly Parton) at the EXACT same time.

    What gives??

    And I had planned to say yes.

    Sigh.

    Ok, I was really bad at sports, but I did go to the gym the other day.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Longing: TOTALLY FUNNY! Dollywood. Excellent.

  • nicolleshanman

    You have to do it what an honor, wow. Cracks me up that you tols them you’d call them back ahahahahah!
    :)

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Fact or fiction??!! Moooooooowahahahaha!

    No. Seriously. Speaking for your phalanx of loyal devotees, because they’ve all been phoning and faxing me relentlessly over the past hour to, say yes! All those minutes in the gym have prepared you for this very moment! Go Torch Boy, Go!

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    John,

    Will they let you sing as you carry it?

    Do you see where that one’s going? or went?

    I’m sure many would like to see you carry the torch if for no other reason than to see you “Torch-ered.”

    Of course, if you do decide to carry the torch and you’re not careful you’d wind up “Scorch Boy.”

    Okay, I sent some really bad puns your way so feel free to “fire” back.

    -Sam

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Sam: For a long while now I’ve counted you among my favorite readers and commenters. And now, just because of this one comment, I have to have you killed. Bummer.

  • http://www.youtube.com/morsec0de Morse

    Careful about 'considering yourself a good American'. They're not just asking that question.

    I was supposed to carry the torch last week, but the second I touched it, the flame spluttered and died.

    This isn't just a torch. It KNOWS!

  • jmike811

    Phalanx… That really is a great word. I'll have to work that into a story.

  • http://lpkalal.wordpress.com Longing for Holiday

    Mr. Shore: I'm sad to say that I didn't create the word Dollywood for entertainment purposes.

    It really exists.

    45 minutes from where we live and close enough to have once had season tickets. It's the Disneyland of the Smokeys. Well, sort of.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    @ sam — Very punny!!

    I swear my daughter thinks the spit take is the funniest comedic device she has ever seen and I do it almost every time I read your posts!

  • Leif Sr.

    Too funny. I loved how you slipped in your recent posts. That's great.

    I was picturing the secret agent character from M.A.S.H. as the phone caller.

    I think if they let you keep the vest you should do it. I mean, as a comic the vest would come in handy.

  • http://www.todayscoolnews.com Brian Shields

    Was that you I took a picture of as the torch ran 30 feet away from me along Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco Wednesday? (see my pics at todayscoolnews.com)

    I've been protesting China because I prefer paper plates. And what's with all of these gamblers. Aren't they Free to Bet already?

  • thereisnogray

    It's my understanding that all of the body armor and military equipment they will be using to cover your butt was actually purchased on ebay.

  • Laura

    I was picturing Colonel Flagg too! He should carry the torch himself…

  • http://lpkalal.wordpress.com Longing for Holiday

    Yea I've been there (that's what i meant by season passes). When I was a stay-at-home-bored-out-of-my-mind-new-to-town-so-no-friends-Mom, I took my then 4 year old as often as possible, two years in a row.

    The 5 year old has never been (now that I am working, less bored, and busier). But, one day…

    The most amazing show of the whole thing was Dolly Parton's brother (who sang and played guitar). I have never seen anyone with less stage presence on a stage in my life.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Morse: Really? It went out? Now that’s funny, see, because when it comes to things that are flaming, I would think that you … oh, wait. We’ve done that routine already. So never mind. (Hilarious joke, by the way. I cracked up at “It KNOWS!”

    JMike: The stuff I post here also runs on http://www.crosswalk.com. I used the word “phalanx” once, in a post there about a year ago, and the director of Crosswalk wrote to tell me and said, “I love that word! No one ever uses that word!” So I snuck that little bit in here for him. So it’s so funny that YOU noted that word, too. too fun

    Longing: No, yeah, I know Dollywood is real! Have you ever been??? “Disneyland of the Smokeys! Well, sort of!”

    I swear: these are my funniest comments yet. I love it.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Oh, yeah: I missed the season tickets! Crazy! Have you ever looked on youtube for any sort of clip of Dolly's brother. I have GOT to see that, if there is one.

    Yikes, man. That whole thing is just so … ODD, isn't it?

  • http://lpkalal.wordpress.com Longing for Holiday

    Looked for YouTube video of Randy Parton, but found this instead:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina_Crossroads#

    Tres bizarre!

    Note how only a handful show up for his performances. No shock there!!

  • Ingrid

    Torch Boy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I love it. This made my day!

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    If I were you, I’d do it as long as they played “Chariots of Fire” in the background. The weight of the kevlar would probably create a nice pseudo-slo-mo effect of your ultimate triumph against all odds. Tearjerker, man…tearjerker.

  • http://html PenIee

    From my dictionary 3rd meaning "phalanx is each bone of finer or toe" so did they mean that is where you were to carry the torch? Oh my – what a fete (feet) oh well. Just thought I would get my fingers (phalanxes a walking on my lap top).


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