Choosing between left turns or lovely ladies


Because I’m willing to waste only so much of my life watching television, I have a choice to make today: Should I fritter it away watching the Academy Awards or the Daytona 500?

Let me think about that for a moment.

“Lincoln” vs. “Argo” or Danica Patrick vs. Jeff Gordon?

Movie stars blabbing about who they’re wearing or race drivers talking about their carburetors?

People in souped-up Toyotas driving around in a circle for three and a half hours or glamorous women in clingy, low-cut dresses?

OK, not really much of a decision, after all.

But even even if the glamorous women accepting their Oscars walked up to the stage wearing helmets and flame retardant suits, I’d still watch that before I’d sit through more than five minutes of an auto race.

I’m not sure why that is. Auto racing has millions of fans. Last year’s Daytona 500 attracted 36.5 million television viewers, and this year’s audience should be even larger, if only because Ms. Patrick will be the first woman in the history of the event to start the race from the pole position. And, if that’s not enough, her current boyfriend also is in the race and it might be interesting to see what would happen if they were to wind up fender to fender heading toward the checkered flag. Although not nearly as interesting as it might be if the guy in the other car were her ex-boyfriend.

Despite all that, I still can’t get revved up about 500 miles of left turns.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a part of the country where auto racing wasn’t a major sport and the only place you ever saw cars tailgating each other at life-threatening speeds was on the freeway. Or maybe I’m just a quart low on testosterone.

I’ve tried getting interested. Back in the days when the Indianapolis 500 was just about the only race most Americans knew anything about, I’d turn on my radio and listen to the broadcast. I did that even though listening to an automobile race on the radio made approximately as much sense as listening to a tennis match on the radio.

And it’s been a long time since stock car racing was looked down upon as a backwater diversion followed mostly by beer-swilling white guys in the land of God and grits. Lots of cool people today are NASCAR fans and not all of them are country singers. Warren Buffet is a fan. Sugar Ray Leonard is a fan. Snookie is a fan. (OK, forget about Snookie.)

Still, I think I’ll waste my time watching the Oscars. Although, if Danica Patrick were to be wearing a clingy, low-cut dress …


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