The Matuszak Olympics routine is almost over

So I'm lying in bed the other night, the Olympics playing in the background. I am nearing the end of my battle with the Sleep Patrol who are attempting to bring this summer day to a close, when I half-hear the announcer bleat out something about ...

Brian Matuszak
Brian Matuszak is a columnist for the Duluth Budgeteer News.

So I'm lying in bed the other night, the Olympics playing in the background. I am nearing the end of my battle with the Sleep Patrol who are attempting to bring this summer day to a close, when I half-hear the announcer bleat out something about a gymnastics floor routine. My brain latches onto the phrase like Sarah Palin with a photo opportunity and snaps back awake. I turn to Sue, who has been wrapped up in these Olympic Games since they began a few nights back, and murmur at her:

"Rsheeschumtinnnmm mmmeee ta schiommgggglbbmmmm." (Unfortunately, my mouth, lips, and tongue are still perched on the slumber abyss.)

She pats me on the head, her eyes never leaving the television screen.


With that taken care of, I close my eyes and succumb to the warm embrace of the dream world, where my memories of the day's struggles quickly morph into me flying around Canal Park with Roger Reinert and his horde of pantsless monkeys.


The next morning, a question niggles at the back of my brain. I'm sure a column idea occurred to me last night, but what was it? When Sue eventually wanders downstairs at 10 o'clock (we do enjoy that summertime clock around our house), I ask if she has any knowledge of it.

"You mumbled something about Roger Reinert and no pants. I would hope that wasn't it."

"I don't think so ...."

"Well, don't worry about it now. Pour me a bowl

of Lucky Charms and let's get our summer routine started."

"Routine," I exclaim. "THAT'S IT!"


(Did I mention we love the summertime clock around here?)


That word. "Routine." It has many connotations, and many of them can be negative. Phrases such as "a boring, routine life" or "that one Dane Cook routine" are certainly distressing, but if used properly, "routine" is a good thing.

Let's take a look at the word itself. "Routine," coming from the French phrase "roux a la tenne," which means ... um, a rust-colored mixture of gravy fat ... or something really cool like that. I think. I was going to dig a little deeper but whenever I start doing too much research for this column, it starts to feel like work and then I feel like I should be paid more than fifteen bucks and a fistful of Wendy's coupons. Although those Frostys ARE mighty tasty. Wait, where was I? Oh, yes! Routines!

There's something to be said for things becoming routine. To me, "routine" means "expected," and I happen to like being secure in the knowledge that when I think something is going to happen, I can count on it happening. Take Lake Superior, for example. Or Barbara Reyelts. Both cold, ageless wonders that I know will always be there for me, no matter what.

But the world isn't perfect, and sometimes, even though a routine is established, it can still get thrown off and that's when negativity starts to creep in. For example, the Olympics are quickly coming to a close and we're going to miss them around our house. Sue and I had fallen into a comfortable pattern of enjoying events to which the results were already known (thanks, DNT Twitter feed) but that we still viewed late into the night, followed by our local news anchors who had been forced to stay up wa-a-a-ay past their bedtimes. For the past two weeks, I have been drifting off during Kevin Jacobsen's sleepy banter with a caffeine-fueled Michelle Lee ....

Michelle: Kevin!! Let's check in with Adam Clark in Weather!! WHAT DO YOU SAY?!!!"

Kevin: *mumble..mumble ... rogerreinertmonkeypants ...*

... while Sue has been staying up to watch more rock-hard swimming bodies towel off. But that routine is now going away for a couple of years.

Or the routine of planning a birthday party for our daughter, which is going away forever, I fear. For the past 13 years, we've had the fun of organizing Kaylee's annual celebration of life on this planet, but this year that custom is being usurped by a simple sleepover plan. Sue and I don't have to do much of anything; the teenager simply wants to hang out with her friends instead of her parents. This


is a routine that I will miss like a lost love. Which, in fact, it kinda is.

Sorry. I don't want to end this week's column on a downer. That's not usually MY routine. Let me leave with you with this positive thought, instead:

If Roger Reinert actually had a horde of flying monkeys, I'm almost certain he would put them in pants. But I can't vouch that he'd be wearing any.

Brian Matuszak has been difficult and demanding since February 2008. He is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre, founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and likes when local TV people are on the air late at night and can let their hair down. Or in Phil Johnson's case, let it off completely.

What To Read Next
Get Local