The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Seattle Sports

I'll confess, I'm not a terribly physical kind of guy. I'm not into rough competitive sports like baseball or rugby or marbles. I don't object to sports altogether, but I prefer the solitary sports, sports in which it's just me competing against myself.

My favorite of those is Olympic Style Nervous Pacing. Incidentally, my best score ever against myself in a pacing competition was 9.6 (it would have been a 10 if it weren't for the Russian judge.) Not to brag, but I did so well I cost myself a medal. Myself was deeply chagrined and never competed again. Really. No, not really, I just wanted to say "chagrined".

So naturally, whenever I am in an earthquake, which seems lately to be whenever I am lying in bed naked in a vulnerable position, or at least once per decade, my feeling about it is not unlike the feeling of a student who, having tried out for the varsity band, was instead picked to be a center for the football team. My feeling is that there has been a horrible mistake, I don't do contact sports. I don't even watch them!

Not that earthquakes can't be entertaining to me. Hey, I can be amused as easily as the next guy. It's just that they don't amuse me for very long. It's like sticking your finger in an electric light socket, isn't it? The fun part is pretty much over when you've realized that you have done it and you haven't suffered massive cardiac arrest yet. So, well, that was an earthquake, wasn't it? Hey, I'm not dead! What fun!

Those of my friends who are sports enthusiasts tell me that part of the value of taking part in sports lies in testing their limits, learning what they can accomplish when they throw themselves into


I can see that now. I mean, it isn't often that I become so distracted that I forget where I put my pants. Ordinarily I am on top of those sorts of things; "life's little details." So I guess you could say that the earthquake allowed me to discover new depths of self-distraction, great new vistas of blind panic...

Speaking of senseless violence, how 'bout that Fat Tuesday? There's another contact sport I can live without.

The first few nights of the Mardi Gras violence had no impact at all on me, even though I live in the Pioneer District, because I ignored it. (Some things deserve to be ignored, I believe. Like the practice of confounding the District and the Square. I simply don't let myself hear such idiocy. It's the Pioneer District, damn it. Or the Pioneer Square District, at the worst.)

But Tuesday night, as I was riding the bus home at about 11:30 pm with Anitra "not an actual Italian Duck" Freeman, we were unable to not notice the crowds, as they were slowing the bus so much that we were better off walking. So we continued to our Pioneer District apartment building on foot, and I had to notice the way the police were deployed. Not interspersed with the crowds, but on the periphery, in fact, just next to our building.

So I told Anitra (I'm not making this up), "First, I am going to watch Letterman. Then, I am going to do my Real Change duty, and go out there and see what is going on in those crowds. Then I am going to come back, and together we will be tear-gassed by these police at about 2 am, when they can't think of any better way to control the crowds, which will be dispersing at about that time, under our very windows."

Did I guess wrong? No, I did not. I did exactly what I said. I watched Letterman. Than I wandered out into the Fat Tuesday crowd. I saw the beginning of the brawl that was filmed so well from the police helicopter. At that point I returned to my apartment, and waited to be tear-gassed. We were tear-gassed right on schedule, at about 2 am.

OK, there is a sport I love. I love predicting what Seattle will do next. It's poetry in motion.


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2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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