Pyeongchang, South Korea • It’s freezing cold here and I keep belching kimchi, but otherwise the Olympics started just ...
That is the dateline and column you should be reading today about my coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.
I was prepared to go. As the time grew closer and staffers were being chosen, I realized that it wasn’t even being suggested that my keen insight into world politics might not be required.
So I straight up asked to be assigned to report on what is possibly the most significant politically charged Olympic Games since the U.S.- and Russian-inspired boycotts of the 1980s.
Shockingly, not only was I told “no,” but I also was ordered to not leave Utah. What follows is not a verbatim transcript of the conversation I had with Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce, but it is close.
Jennifer • “You called Kim Jong Un an overfed ground squirrel in your column last month. Kirby, the man is unbalanced, harbors grudges and has nuclear weapons. You and your big mouth are not going anywhere near him.”
Me • “Ahh. That’s not fair.”
Fair, of course, is in eye of the beholder. And since I was beholden to Jennifer for a job, fair turned out to be me staying home.
Admittedly, my utter lack of interest in sports outside of hockey may have been a small factor in the decision. All I know about the Super Bowl played last Sunday is that the Beagles won.
I didn’t even know who was in the Super Bowl until someone in church prayed that the Patriots would be victorious. When he finished, some in the congregation reverently murmured boos instead of “amen.”
It’s generally considered important for journalists to be somewhat versed in the subject being covered. Sports is not something I know much/anything about. In fact, most popular public infatuations elude me.
I’ve never watched an episode of “Game of Thrones.” Had you asked me about it several months ago, I would have said it was a video app to while away the time spent on the toilet.
Compare that to the 1968 masterpiece “Bullitt,” starring Steve McQueen, which I have watched at least 200 times, the last being Sunday while the Super Bowl was hogging the TV.
A lot of my friends hunt. Utah, in fact, goes nuts when it’s time for the fall hunts. Personally, I don’t like killing things that don’t need it.
It’s not because I object to killing. I’m just extra particular about it. If I had a choice, I’d much rather shoot Kim Jong Un than a trophy mule deer. And, yes, I would keep the head.
Oh, shut up. I’m already not going.
My editor knows my general antipathy toward things most people obsess about. That’s why she lets me wander around with Sonny and cover things my own way. Still, she’s not above giving me assignments.
Her • “The Chinese New Year is Feb. 16,” she told me. “Year of the Dog. We need someone to cover that.”
Me • “I dunno. I might be sick that day.”
Her • “There might be firecrackers.”
What? Explosives? Hell, that’s just next week. I have to go get ready. See you there.