RICK MACDONNELL, SnowSeekers Inc.
As of this morning, there have been no reported deaths by way of "mitten mauling" in Whistler Village. From what I saw today while waiting to get into The Olympic Store, I suspect that those numbers have been smudged a little.
The mittens in question are, of course, the red Canada Olympic mittens that you can see on the hands on about 70% of the planet right now. I'm sure the only places that aren't crazy over these things are where mittens are an unnecessary nuisance (call centres, computer stores, anywhere pencils are being used) or where people don't even know mittens exist.
People are crazy for these things! I actually saw two grown women – one of whom I'm sure had grandchildren watching – have a tug-o'-war over a pair even though there were dozens of others sitting right next to them.
Flashes of Tickle-Me Elmo came to mind, and I was just waiting for a full on throw-down between two desperate dads determined to wipe their child's tears away with some mitts.
"This is the weirdest thing I've ever seen," said my fellow linemate, Tom McIntosh. "I've seen lineups before, but this is absolutely out-of-this-world crazy."
What he was referring to was the line of 50+ people waiting for the doors to open at 7:15 in the morning. The doors don't open until 9:00 and there are already dozens of people waiting!
I rode the shuttle with a couple a few days ago, who went to the Olympic Store at 8:15 a.m. and didn't get inside until almost 10 a.m.
In the words of my new good friend, Marge Thorgrimson, "They're just mittens, people!"
Thorgrimson (amazing name, by the way) is a native of Seattle, Washington who's as gung ho for the Games as the next person, but she, too, was overwhelmed with the lines and, especially, the intensity.
"It's all about the mittens for some of these people," she said through a laugh. "But they're a collector's item, probably the number one souvenir from the 2010 Games. So it makes some sense, I suppose."
We each looked up and down the lineup again, before turning back to one another. "Or maybe not," she said.
Sane or not, people are right to take home a pair before the Games conclude. They're certainly the hottest commodity when it comes to 2010 memorabilia. But people ... please ... settle down. You're all a bunch of raving loonies. But then again, given your Canadian heritage, that might actually be somewhat appropriate.
Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.
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