January 27, 2006

Point of view:

How about a slipper Olympics?

By Al Carlos Hernandez

It seems to me that many of the competition reality shows on TV has ignored a significant part of the population. There should be a major network event leveling the playing field, helping ethnic urbanites acquire fame, fortune and even larger gold medallions.

With this in mind, and with the 2006 Winter Olympics on the way, I have come up with the idea of a network TV special entitled, The Slipper Olympics.

The competition in the spirit of the X games would take place in the heart of the inner city. The logistics would be simple; cameras on rooftops, apartment stoops, thug-cams on motorcycles, and hand-held units by baby Mamas.

The entire event would take place in one afternoon with absolutely no city or police permits, and would include many of the traditional track and field events such as the around the block yard dash chased by a pit bull, The four-forty holding a forty ounce beer relay, and, The high jump holding a DVD player over a fence while high. The major difference being, all of the competitors have to wear flip-flop slippers.

Can’t you just hear the pop-pop-whack-pop-popping of slippers as they go for the gold? No doubt much of the allure of the games will be the morbid prospect of someone getting a blow out and careening helplessly into the Mexican vendors selling those paleta ice creams. Helmets will be optional, and contestants can wear anything they consider that will make them look sharp for TV. Powder blue tuxedos and Bridesmaid lime green formals are discouraged.

The slipper Olympics are not geared to any ethnic group in specific, although I would make a major effort to solicit corporate sponsorship from Philippine airlines, the country of Samoa, and the Santa Monica chamber of commerce. I saw a Nuevo-hip rich surfer type dude in LA who wore a designer suit and tie with high mileage flip-flops. This is not to say that his shoes weren’t recently stolen at the YMCA, he lost a bet, or was an aspiring foot model.

Rules regarding foot wear have to be specific, flip flops have to be made of rubber, with that v-strap thing that is positioned in between the big toe and the tall one that is somehow always bent. All slippers would be issued by the governing committee, so that cheaters won’t come up with ultra light spring loaded, minimal flop action high tech racing models. Competition should center on the competitors ability and ingenuity.

Regarding racing footwear, sandals of any kind would be prohibited. If sandals were allowed in competition, middle easterners would always win the running away, and hide and seek events, especially the desert marathons.

Mexican Huarache sandals would be banned as well. Those leather personnel carriers have proven to be invaluable in enabling many boarder brothers and sisters to make millions of successful dashes into the American southwest. The producer of the event doesn’t want to give the boarder patrol the idea of issuing Huaraches to the migra in accelerating the amount of senseless deportations. The corporate philosophy being, if people want to work that badly, let them.

The idea isn’t as inconceivable as one may think, in fact there are many who seem to be in training at this very moment. I have been a victim as a child of being chased by an irate female, I almost get the shivers when I hear the flopping of two slippers, then the flopping of one, and a bare foot pounding the linoleum, knowing full well that the slipper that had been removed is airborne and of the way to smack the back of my head.

Based on that experience, a showcase event of the competition would be the run-by. The objective would be to run full speed past a neighbors ground floor apartment, take the slipper off while running at full steam, hurling your slipper though an open window in an attempt to nail the neighbors cat.

The most dangerous event, of course, would be the high hurdles, and since it would be run around a city block all the people in the grand stands would hear is flop-flop-flop (pause), flop-flop-flop, (pause)… Losing a slipper at any point in the competition is immediate disqualification, that’s why in training, the development of the toe grip muscles are significantly important. A recommended exercise for strengthen toe-grip muscles would be to hang by your toes in the closet while watching traditional TV network programming, this will help you in competition as well as make the network formulaic dreck funnier.

A note to network executives, I am available for consultation.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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