The Great Hula-Off of Twenty-Twelve: Pregame
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For those who know I’m on vacation, this timely blog may come as a surprise. Even while I’m off globe trotting and exploring serious historical hot spots, I managed to fit in blogging time … or I took advantage of WordPress’s scheduling feature. You decide which. In either case, I’d like to quote one of my favorite irresponsible TV characters for the occasion.

“Hello [blog reader], this is Andrew. Andrew Botwin. It pains me we couldn’t make this instant human connection. Leave a message, and while you do it, imagine me [reading] it, where I might be at the time, and what I might be wearing. Let that guide you.”

          – Weeds, season four

Several weeks and teeth brushings ago, I decided that self-grooming would be way less boring as a sport. Not in an I-can-floss-the-fastest type of way, but in a pogo-stick-jumping-while-hair-brushing type of way. To be fair, I realize most scenarios don’t exactly create a safe pogo-sticking environment, specifically putting in contacts and curling eyelashes. Those events will have to be accompanied by non-circus-like events, such as a good episode of Friends or Canadian Jonathan Goldstein’s Wiretap. But for those tasks that do allow – nail filing, lotioning, ponytail forming, etc. – why not juice them up? Most specifically, I’m in the market for a hula-hoop, and if possible, several. One for the bathroom so I can get in a solid ab workout while brushing my teeth, and the rest placed for impromptu fun.

I brought up the idea to my father, Wonk, and he agreed to the terms of hosting glittery hoops – but quickly added that my sister would beat me. “Beat me,” like hula hooping was a game of backyard basketball and she was LeBron in a new pair of Air Jordans. Who said anything about a competition? I’m just trying to not be bored when prepping like a lady, and he’s turning it into a rivalry. So much for hiding favoritism. Hilde, the middle (therefore stereotypically most-hated) child, obviously holds that title – a fact that millions of other forgotten and sandwiched kids can take pride in.

“Why would she beat me?”

“She was just always good at the hula hoop when you guys were younger; I bet she still is.”

Then, offended, I said, “Is that a challenge?”


Clearly he loves her more.

So now it’s scheduled. I’m locked into a competition with my skinnier, energetic, bubblier sister. In most athletic events, I wouldn’t consider personality traits to be an advantage, but there’s something about twirling a florescent tube around your midsection that just screams “I wear pigtails and dot my Is with hearts,” i.e. bubbly.

For obvious reasons, I have to win. Sure I’m assier and have more to lose (pride), but in the world of hula hooping, older does not equal better. Even my main eldest-child advantage, being able to legally drink – while she’s stuck with chocolate milk and Shirley Temples – is of no help. When balancing, alcohol is an ingredient that only makes you think you’re talented.

In the next few days, once I return and once Hilde and I can find suitable hooping equipment, we’ll have our hula off. (Where can you get a hula-hoop, BTW? Toys ‘R Us and garage sales?) Not to mention I still have to make a banner. It’s either “A Whole Lotta Hula” or “Hoopla-palooza 2012”. I can’t decide which.

Finally, we have to determine how one wins. Is it by speed? Longevity? Does the most hoops at a time win? Surely an official rulebook will outline the logistics.

Now, off to practice. Anyone know where I left the Wii Fit?

Balancing Act artwork by Victoria Salvano

Hula hoop photo courtesy of Vicki and Chuck Rogers


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