Introducing Sarah Steinberg

Notes for Speech upon acceptance of Bronze medal in the 2010 Emotional Winter Olympics

By Sarah Steinberg

Wow! I’m floored! Wow! [Pat pockets of jeans as if you do not have a prepared speech. Act surprised when you find speech.]

I’d like to take you back to 2008, when I found out that there were actually prizes for doing stuff I’ve been doing naturally for years. I could hardly believe it. I never thought I’d have the good fortune to stand here, a chocolate bronze medal in one hand and an imaginary cheque for $100 in the other. I feel so proud and just a little bit smug! Is my track suit swishing? Can you hear it swish as I rub my upper arm against my torso? Swish-swish-swish! That’s the sound of defeat! [Ask everyone to calm down here as they go wild with applause.]

All I want to say to the fans is Go Team Me! I couldn’t have done it without me! Am I right? [Hold for applause.] But I really can’t thank you all enough. Especially my mother and father, who have judged this event since I was a little girl. Also my team of therapists. Especially you Ellen, thank you so much for changing your number and getting the court order like that. You taught me a great lesson about friendship. And boundaries. And the legal system.

I’ll admit, when you moved, I was hurt. But if it wasn’t for your flat-out refusal to see or hear from me I don’t think I would have been able to elevate my martyrdom syndrome to pro levels, or, for that matter, truly complete my training in the Hold-A-Grudge or the 500 Hope Dash. It was this training that ultimately led me to victory in the Obsessing Over Things That Happened A Long Time Ago category and the reason why I’m here today! [Ask someone to get a shot of self holding medal up above my head before hand sweat melts it.]

It was a lot of hard work, guys, I’m not going to lie. It takes years of practice, of diligence, of late nights going over what you should have said instead of what you did say. Now that I’m a role model, a lot of people will want to know how they, too, can get into the sport of self-flagellation. If you’re serious about training for this event, I want you to first ask yourself this: Can you simultaneously imagine yourself as Sisyphus rolling that dumb boulder up the mountain, and as Sisyphus’s mom yelling at the idiot for never learning, plus his disappointed Dad and long-suffering girlfriend? And can you empathize with the boulder too? Imagine yourself in the boulder’s shoes. You must. But if you cannot, use that inability as inspiration.

They say it’s something you’re born with, but I firmly believe that with enough time, effort and a dedicated team of friends and strangers, you can also abuse yourself to the top. And all the way back down again. As for the future, I plan to use my failure to win first prize as my impetus to stay alive for the next four years so I can win in 2014. I’ll be signing my own personal range of OCD soaps in the foyer for the next half hour. Please, feel free to stop by. [Bow? Cry?]

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