August 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM EDT

Welcome to ‘What Is Your Damage,’ Annie Barrett’s summer shop of all the melodrama and self-absorption she misses from springtime reality TV. Every Tuesday and Friday, she’ll rant about a current offense to her humanity, then assess readers’ damages via video replies. Don’t be shy about admitting what annoys or intrigues you. We’re all in this pop cult together!

What’s your damage, Olympics? (After the exhaustive picture roundups of Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3, I ask you for the last time.) Why must you end in two days and RUIN MY LIFE?

I’m particularly mad at you, Bob Costas, for wearing those random yet intriguing glasses that kept disappearing and reappearing during last night’s primetime telecast. Why’d you wait ’til Day 13 to transform into Harry Potter’s wet hot American uncle? Those hipster specs of yours were just like the Olympics: As soon as you get invested — poof! They’re gone. Brutal.

Ugh, this always happens. I’m a slow starter — one of the many reasons I am not Olympic material — and never feel quite in sync with the Olympics until week 2, when they’ve become the norm. Big mistake. Huge. The Olympics are not a lifestyle. They’re a two-week tease, a 16-night stand who pees in the pool. I don’t need that in my life. Come on, Barrett. Stop relying on the magical athletes for basic human insights. YOU could exercise. YOU could try. Rethink possible!

The Olympics will just be hard to let go, is all. My estimation of humanity always shoots way up when they’re on. Everything just seems more civil. Sure, the idiot in front of me is taking forever in line, but you know what? It’s fine. He likely just wasn’t meant to medal in this event. Look at us all, chugging along the freeway in our cars, pacing ourselves in the race. Traffic suddenly seems sportsmanlike instead of soul-sucking. If my calf falls asleep from inactivity due to watching the Olympics, I’ll marvel at all the muscles I know are deep down in there, somewhere, almost certainly.

It turns out I like the world better during the Olympics. As I sit perfectly still, I realize I’ve never felt more alive.

The Olympics definitely change my perspective — not in any profound way, more like in a “duh” way that I’m normally too cloaked in self-absorption and internet cobwebs (from the day before, which may as well be 500 years ago; cue morning paranoia) to recognize. I become more practical and unforgiving instead of soft and full of excuses. They’re very simple, the Olympics. If you’re not the best at something, you don’t get to do it anymore. Sorry! The referee doesn’t want to flirt with you. Nobody’s rich dad can make a call. You can’t make it happen on your own merit? YOU GO HOME. That’s almost never the case in real life, where “the social game” has no rulebook and the main currency is bulls—. The Olympics are a utopian paradise! Filled to bursting with agony and defeat.

Wait, no, this is the best part. You don’t even go home — you go back to the VILLAGE! Is anyone else comforted just knowing that there’s an “Olympic Village” out there somewhere (too far away to comprehend in so many ways) right this second and it contains the tippy top humans in the world? And they’re just wriggling around, playing with each other, peeing all over the place, and sequestered for our viewing pleasure, even if just for two more days? Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of them: The Olympics are the greatest reality TV show in history.

And NBC’s about to cancel it! Come on, guys. Can’t America’s Got Talent just be the Olympics forever and ever? I’d recap it. I know you have enough unaired footage for many, many seasons. Seriously. Consider it.

Moving on!



Goodbye, bike/dreams. (10 out of 10 on the Damages Scale)

Man telling Aly Raisman’s dad to sit down

Get your filthy hands off our national treasure. (5)’s liberal use of “Dressage Highlights”

Really? This is a highlight? (10)

NEXT PAGE: You may be a prima donna diva or a beautiful swan, ladies.

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