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It's okay to give up on your dreams


Life in a Shanty Town

July 30 · Issue #325 · View online

The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

As a lifelong failure, of course I could relate to Simone Biles deciding she would rather not compete in this year’s Olympics.
I can’t tell you how many times I was involved in some sort of contest in which, realizing there was no way I could win, I quit before I could lose. It’s how I learned to play video games.
Sometimes it’s better to not put forth any effort, rather than run the risk of embarrassing yourself.
I join all of the most morally admirable people on Black People Twitter in praising Simone Biles for having the sense to take some time to, as Paul Wall would put it, get her mind correct, and I condemn any number of white commentators who have taken this as an opportunity to make fun of her.
Especially Piers Morgan. I’ve been aware that he has a problem with black women since he went after Kim Kardashian, whom I consider a black woman based on her physique and the fact that she has one and a half black children.
I can only hope that some forward-thinking shoe company, perhaps Nike, sees fit to extend to Biles a lucrative endorsement deal even though, to many in our society, she’s become the face of failure and excuse making and not even trying, and it remains to be seen if that will be conducive to generating sales of athletic apparel.
Nike already cut a check to Colin Kaepernick after he hadn’t been playing football for a few years, so they should be her first target. They can change their slogan from Just Do It to Fuck It, Let Someone Else Do It.
It might be necessary for Biles to sign a contract to get the money to fly home from Tokyo, if she’s not allowed on the plane with the rest of the athletes. They might have some sort of policy against being on the plane if you’re not on the team. For example, I wouldn’t be allowed to hitch a ride to Tokyo, to investigate what I hear is some wildly inappropriate behavior on the subway there.
I’d be willing to attempt to turn a backflip, if necessary, but I don’t have any illusions about that making me a better person than Simone Biles, or even a good person.
You could tell that some of Biles’ teammates were upset with her when she announced that actually she wouldn’t be competing in this year’s Olympics, she was just there. They were counting on her to use the extra muscle in her leg to perform some of the more difficult routines, so they could win gold medals in the team competition rather than having to settle for second place, i.e. first loser, almost as if she was their slave.
It’s a testament to Biles’ magnanimity, and what little, if anything, remains of her mental health that she didn’t go off on those selfish little CAC bitches. Usually, a mental health incident does involve some sort of verbal tirade, and I wonder if Biles’ relative restraint is attributable to not having spent a sufficient amount of time around other black people. It hasn’t done her hair any favors, but perhaps it’s been beneficial to her mental health.
For years, black women have been forced to be the strong members of the black community. Often, this has manifested itself in the form of reading the proverbial riot act, or explaining to someone that they’re on their lunch break despite somehow being at their workstation. If Biles trained with a more authentic gymnastics team, perhaps it would have occurred to her to explain to the judges that she didn’t have time right now to do the balance beam and that she’d be back in 15 minutes, thus buying her half an hour or so to smoke a Newport in the parking lot and walk it off.
Biles will have plenty of time to reflect on the decisions she made in Tokyo now that she’s not any more of a gymnast than I am. Maybe she can even come back in four years. She’ll be a bit long in the tooth at that point, for a gymnast—entirely too old for me to look at on Reddit—but not necessarily too old to compete, since black don’t crack. Er, at least not physically.
Take it easy on yourself,

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