Dear Tribal Hack:
I'm a prominent retired athlete who's been put in an unfortunate dilemma by certain local connections. I'm to write an occasional poem celebrating the Olympics. If I refuse, I'll incur the wrath of my fellow athletic community; if I accept, I'll be seen as a suck-up and a third-rate hack (the latter with which you can certainly identify). Please advise.
-- Florin d'Oro
You don't indicate how prominent were your feats of muscular derring-do. Are we talking fringe pro call-up now marooned in a rank booth as a "colour" commentator for Tier Two hockey, or respected and revered former star?
If the former, you need to press the lumber on the collective lumbar region of the sports media and executive class, both. What have you got to lose? Are they going to demote you further to manning the phones at old-timers' alumni charity bake-offs? Rid your spleen of boring, aerodynamicaaly correct, body-suited medalists telling the world of their six a.m. wind sprint routines. Know what rhymes with routine? That's right -- poutine. And I'd rather be scarfing down that heart-attack-in-a-bowl sludge than committing to masochistic diurnal heart-hammering intrusions into the lives of sleeping swallows.
If the latter, your hands are tied, and you'll have to drop a huge, steaming pancake of cowshit between the pages of your daily rag or Vancouver Society bulletin.
Dear Tribal Hack:
I'm currently writing a Spenserian-length poem in heroic couplets on the subject of dos and don'ts of appliance usage. I'm stuck on page 162. Seems I introduced the Maytag repairman, and I need propulsion. Any tips?
-- Lou Gubrious
What's the problem? The inner demons of the Maytag repairman should provide you with unlimited narrative and spiritual material. Boredom as art; thought as analgesic; the fantasy of a hanging while dropping through the washer hole; waiting and waiting and waiting for the husband to drive to work at 8:45 a.m. ; the whiteness of white; basements I have loved; rats on parade. It's all there. Good luck.