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  A Real Knee-Slapper

By Tony Kornheiser
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 16, 1994; Page F1




You've heard how life imitates art. We're way past that now. Now, life is imitating a Lite Beer commercial.

Picture a group of people gathered around a television set, watching ladies' figure skating. "The Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairies" is playing in the background. The lovely Nancy Kerrigan is skating languidly.

"I'm sick of figure skating," some guy yells out. "I want to see mob hit men!"

"No, there's too much violence," answers one of the women.

"Figure skating!"

"Mob hit men!"

One of the guys gets up and shouts, "We can watch both!"

He slams his Lite Beer on top of the TV, and suddenly you see Nancy Kerrigan being chased all over the ice by Tonya Harding's sumo bodyguard, whacking at her kneecaps with a tire iron.

Everybody cheers as Kerrigan skates furiously for the exit — leaping and twirling, trying to avoid the blows.

An announcer is heard saying, "... and there goes Nancy, skating for her life! Watch closely now as she attempts a difficult combination, a triple Axel into a sit-spin, and — oh my! — she's landed badly as Tonya Harding's husband catches her flush on the ankle with his baseball bat. And now they're descending on her like a baby seal! This could get ugly!"

The people sit there, transfixed.

"Great beer," one says in admiration.

I know we live in a violent world. And I don't want to be hopelessly naive, but I honestly thought that the last place on Earth you'd find a hired hit man was in ladies' figure skating.

What's next, full-contact chess?

"The wily challenger, Anatoly Karpov, has just stunned the champion, Kasparov, with a deft Ruy Lopez gambit, and the champion appears to be... yes, he's REACHING FOR A GRAPPLING HOOK ..."

This is how you make the Olympic team — by kneecapping your competition? That's some prize catch of a husband, or ex-husband, or quasi-husband, she's got, the mellifluously named Jeffrey Gillooly. What music is Tonya going to skate to in Lillehammer, the theme from "GoodFellas"?

Boy, is Tonya Harding a change from our usual demure ice queens, like Peggy Fleming and that perky wedgehead Dorothy Hamill. This one's a smoke-blowing, pool-playing hot-rodder. (Proposed theme song: "Truck Stop Cutie, Won't You Shake Your Booty by the Light of the Lillehammer Moon for Me.")

You know, of course, that the skaters usually room together at the Olympics. Do you think Nancy Kerrigan would feel comfortable in her jammies with Tonya and Ol' Drooly Gillooly? She'd never close her eyes.

Speaking about being afraid to close your eyes ...

The Bobbitts are getting tiresome, aren't they? We've pretty much figured them out by now: Madame Defarge meets the mad monk Rasputin. The only question remaining is how the newspapers — which have been falling all over themselves to avoid unintentional double-entendres — will treat the news of a "hung" jury.

No, much more interesting is the news from Arcadia, Fla., just in on the wires. I'm talking about 23-year-old Bill Sconyers, who cut off his own ... well, I think you know where we're going here. He cut it off with an electric saw. (Fine, I'll wait for you to stop screaming, sir.)

And he told the reporters the next day, simply, "I always wanted to be a woman."

Couldn't you start out with something simpler, like eye shadow?

For heaven's sake, people, if you're having a bad hair day: STAY AWAY FROM POWER TOOLS!

(Might I add parenthetically that I am very disturbed by the new clearer pictures sent back from space by the Hubble telescope. I didn't know outer space looked like that. Most of that stuff looked like the lab final in a proctology course.)

The level of violence and madness is approaching an all-time high.

That's why I'm so glad responsible authorities are asking people to turn in their guns.

Some cities are giving shoes for guns, and concert tickets for guns, and toys for guns. I love the idea of Toys for Guns. Do you think a 14-year-old would trade in his AK-47 for, say, a Bumble Ball?

If this catches on, I'm sure we'll see Frequent Flier Miles for Guns and Liposuction for Guns and many other things that would interest the upscale gun consumer; a catalogue, perhaps.

My guess is that the best way to lure people into giving up their guns is to offer Drugs for Guns. Isn't that why most of them have guns?

Former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe has offered $100 for every gun turned in.

Has anyone bothered to think this through for more than a second and a half?

Most guns cost more than $100.

Riddick is making, you'll excuse the expression, a killing! He's angling to become an international arms merchant.

(Uhh, champ, this is a joke, okay, champ?)

He But Money for Guns has a definite appeal.

If this keeps up, the gun business will flourish. Gun manufacturing could be a real growth opportunity.

Q: I wonder what actually happens to the guns that are turned in.

A: The guns will be beaten into plowshares, and then there will be a plowshare glut, and plowshare manufacturers will be forced to lay off workers, and those workers will commit violent crimes with their plowshares — you will read about the Texas Plowshare Massacre — and eventually someone will get the brilliant idea to offer Guns for Plowshares.

© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company

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