I know what you're thinking...this post is called "One of the many things I would love to see", and features a picture of Robin Williams. As such, I'm sure you're assuming that this whole post will be about how I hope someone sets Robin Williams on fire for being so annoying. Sorry, that's not what this post is about. It's about something else...so read on.
As many of you know already, Robin Williams is an avid cyclist who specializes in clogging people's shower drains during his time off from being the world's most annoying human being. Mr Williams, who often appears at cycling events, bike shows and the like, reached the absolute pinnacle of cycling this summer. No, I'm not talking about riding up to Mt. Ventoux three times in one day, or finally deciding to shave off his pubes along with his leg hair. I'm talking about the fact that he was featured in one of those awkward Levi and Lance videos that were recorded in the back of the Astana bus during this year's Tour. You know the videos I'm talking about, the ones where you could hear Contador knocking on the door to that back room, since that's where the bathroom was and he badly needed to go.
In some countries, being stuck in a car with Robin Williams for hours is used as punishment for offenses ranging from manslaughter, to counterfeiting and assault. Here we see Johan Brunyeel being punished with a four hour ride with Mr Williams. His crime? Having a face shaped like a potato, and a greasy pompadour that that is even more disgusting than Cancellara's underbite. Speaking of his underbite, am I the only one who thinks it makes him look like a urinal? I love the guy...but wow. Okay, enough about the underbite. Here are some highlights from the punishment/drive, during which Williams used his insanely annoying stream-of-consciousness (aka coked-up persona) to punish Brunyeel: Hour three, he sees a team car pass and says "Look at that car, it's blue, it's a car. Yo, yo, yo...its a car...it goes brrrrrrrr, like a homeless man who's cold, and is also blue, like the car, but the homeless guy is all like 'hey I'm cold help me', and then the other homeless guys is all 'no way man, you ain't cold'..." Can you imagine four hours of impressions of cars, homeless men and the genie from Aladdin? A fitting punishment for looking like Mr Potatohead.
So now that we've established Robin William's pedigree as yet another person who kisses Lance's ball(s), I will explain what the title of this post refers to. You see, as a latino living in these United States of America, I often zero-in on things that others may not care much about. I'm not saying this to prove that I'm unusually bright (because I'm not) or incredibly attentive (because I'm not)...I merely bring it up to let you know that I'm sometimes obsessive when it comes to taking in tales of being the odd man out as a result of your race or place of birth. It's perhaps for this reason that I found the interview with Rahsaan Bahati in a recent issue of Velo News to be particularly interesting. In the interview, the issue of race comes up, particularly that of Bahati being one of the very few black pro cyclists around. Similarly, I found Matt Rendell's book Kings Of the Mountains, a book entirely devoted to Colombians in cycling, to be very interesting when it comes to the topic of race within cycling. In that book, Lance Armstrong recounts Victor Hugo Peña often wearing leg and armwarmers during his US Postal days...even during the hottest days of the year. The reason? Peña was self conscious about his dark skin color. At that time, he was pretty much the darkest among the pros, something that had been commented on often by some European riders. Figures, a guy with dark skin gets shit on, but a see-through creature with no eyebrows like Vinokurov gets a pass.
With that in mind, let me bring up one other point. Race (or ethnicity to be more precise) and the issues that often surround it when you speak about cyclists from other countries, is an issue that is often ignored. This is not to say that it should be brought up for no reason at all...but I've often wondered how being from insanely poor areas of the world (like Peña is) can play into a cyclist considering doping. Think about the fact that many cyclists from developing nations will probably earn more in a couple of years than their entire families combined can make in a decade. When that revenue stream begins to slow down due to a lack in performance (and many around you depend on that income), is there more pressure on them to remain competitive? A middle class American cyclist can simply go back to college, or even work as a telemarketer and earn a living wage...someone like Peña would be back to working in a coal mine at best. I'm not making excuses for doping, nor do I want to engage that topic (but maybe I just did)...but these things are worth thinking about. Bringing up both race AND doping, and then trying to walk away from the conversation is pretty much impossible...but let me try it, because I'm getting way off track, and may thus come off as being as annoying as Robin Williams.
We all agree that wearing a TDF yellow jersey when you've never even competed in the event is a bit tacky right? You don't see me jogging around the block while wearing a fake gold medal from the Olympics, and you don't see me parading around town with a fake purple heart medal either. I mean, maybe the purple heart is a stretch, but you get my point. Does it make a difference if Lance Armstrong himself gave you the jersey? Hell no. Does it take size XXXL balls to wear the matching yellow gloves? Hell yes.
So why am I bringing this all up? Is this an attempt to heal the wounds that keep the races apart and make it all better? Do I aim for world peace, and perfect harmony amongst all? Well, that would certainly be nice, but much like dreaming about a world where Mario Cipollini manages to button his shirts properly...it may never happen. I'm merely stating this because my first thought this morning as I rode my bike to work was a highly unusual one. You know how you sometimes have really weird dreams, like the one about Al Gore being your aunt who bakes you pies for lunch, and then you're in the second grade with Glen Danzig, and then you're naked and you start falling off a cliff? Dreams, like my thoughts during my commute to work, don't make much sense...but still deserve to be looked into further. At least I think so. The thought I had this morning surely stemmed from having read both that book (Kings of the Moutnains) and that Velo News interview recently. The fleeting thought I had, for some weird reason, was this:
I pictured an exchange in which Robin Williams does his insanely racist (in my humble opinion), inaccurate and highly insensitive black impression for Rahsaan Bahati. I picture them meeting at some cycling event, Bahati shakes his hand and tells him it's good to meet him. Williams suddenly goes into his impression as they are introduced, for no reason at all (as he often does). I'm talking about the horrible impression that he's been doing since 1985, and has been making me cringe and detest him since I first saw it in 1991. I'm talking about the impression that has singlehandedly set back the clock for race relations in the United States by 40 years. I picture Bahati squinting in disbelief, shaking his head and walking away in disgust. As a result of this exchange, one of the most painful and shameful aspects of American culture would finally stop. No, I'm not talking about racism in general...I'm talking about Robin Williams and his fucking awful impressions.
Don't know what impression I'm talking about? Watch the video below, and be amazed. Notice how in the second part, Owen Wilson clearly feels insanely uncomfortable about the whole thing. Was this impression what led him to attempt suicide? Absolutely!
Thank you for indulging me, and reading such a long post regarding what was, in essence, a stupid fleeting thought.