Things I learned watching the 2010 Winter Olympics on TV

Brought to you by Goldman-Pfizer-Tri-Con-Global Corp.

• Eating McDonald’s will make you a world-class athlete not to mention very happy.

• Norwegians, while not great freestyle skiers, are an incredibly good-looking people.

• The national anthems of every country on the planet are actually really good songs that make me weep with joy instantaneously.

• I love watching people succeed at the one thing in the world that is most important to them while witnessing other people fail at the one thing in the world that is most important to them.

• Investing in the stock market will make you feel safe, so please do that as soon as you get a job.

• Curling is the most intellectually compelling sport ever created in the history of physical activity, and I adore it. It’s the athletic equivalent of Alfred Hitchcock yelling at Bobby Fischer about the principles of friction and velocity while totally demolishing Gen. Patton in a game of croquet … on ice.

• Existential uncertainty and sadness are completely abnormal. They are, in fact, abhorrent, in poor taste and should be ripped out by the root by any means.

And now a word from our sponsors …

(Patient voice of presumably attractive white woman accompanied by solo cello.)

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Let Ambivilenza iron out those emotional wrinkles so you can feel as fresh and flat as bed sheets hung out to dry in the summer breeze. Ask your doctor if Ambivilenza is right for your existential uncertainty.

If you can get your doctor to return your calls, tell him about any unintended side effects such as: dry mouth, swelling of the face or tongue, inappropriate laughter, crying or cursing. Some subjects reported increased lottery purchases, problems parallel parking, spiritual paralysis, eating while asleep and night terrors. A small percentage of people died abruptly.

While taking Ambivilenza, text-messaging and driving a Hummer should be fine. However, it may be unsafe to consult with family, friends or conveniently placed wise strangers about your dilemma, as they may advise you that sadness, shock and doubt are perfectly natural responses to the overwhelmingly bizarre state of human affairs.

Ambivilenza: Because everyone is sad sometimes — but they shouldn’t be.

And now to back to Tom for the weather.

Depression and anxiety disorders are real and can be devastating. I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen the way medicine can sometimes assist in recovery. But I get the creeping feeling that normal emotional dilemmas, which should be seen as predictable, appropriate responses to adversity on a swiftly tilting planet, are being chemically eradicated and that we are weaker for it.

I get the feeling, in other words, that we are medicating ourselves out of our own humanity.

An old friend pointed out to me years ago that a life spent desperately avoiding pain and sadness is incomplete, and that these parts of our experience should be embraced with the same zeal with which we cling to joy and love. I think of that regularly and couldn’t agree more to this day.

Don’t let anybody say you shouldn’t be sad, especially the damn TV. There’s plenty to be sad about.

Same goes for anger. A little belligerence can be good for the constitution.

But if you get a little too hot under the collar, I’ve found the quickest way to ratchet yourself down is to listen to the Canadian national anthem a few times. It does wonders.