THE GENEAHOLIC OLYMPICS
by H. David Morrow FuzzyGem@worldnet.att.net
(Previously published in MISSING LINKS Vol. 7, No. 41, 13 October 2002) http://www.petuniapress.com/
It is time to begin setting up the Geneaholic Olympic Games, to be held next year in the city/county library (and parking lot) in Alligator, Mississippi. Entry fees and dates will be announced later. Corporate sponsors are, so far: Microsoft DOS, Penmanship Society International, Vital Record Holders International, and Association of Owners of Out-of-Order Copy Machines. Television coverage is expected.
The Geneaholic Olympics will consist of six events:
Event #1--Hitting the Wall. This contest pits geneaholics against each other to see who can hit the wall the hardest for the longest amount of time until they give up. After weeding out the dilettantes, those who give up easily or who get help from total strangers, the contestants start from 100 yards away and run as fast as possible into a brick wall.
The wall has electronic sensors which objectively measure the force of the impact; this is multiplied by the contender's speed and that total is further multiplied by the number of attempts to break through the wall. The entire amount is divided by 1,000 relating to the average geneaholic's predicament of having a thousand people whose relationship hangs on finding a single document from 100 years yards) ago.
Judges award extra thousandths of a point depending upon the number of different places each athlete hits the same wall.
Event #2--The Paper Pile Slalom. This event requires each competitor to run through piles of paper to get to a ringing telephone. After passing every tenth pile (simulating census years), a major change in direction is required. Because it is impossible to do this without spilling some of the piles, scores are determined by subtracting the number of spilled papers from the speed to the phone in hundredths of a second. Instead of a medal, the winner receives a ten-year supply of three-ring binders; second place gets a painted hole puncher.
Event #3--Naming the Relative. Each entrant submits his or her longest line prior to the contest. All names are entered into a computer which selects three names at random. The winner is that person who can immediately identify the three people chosen by the computer and state their relationship in formal terms:
for example, 32nd cousin, 16 times removed. Extra points are awarded to those who can state why each relative brought shame to the line (horse thief, drunkard, teller of bad jokes, etc.).
Event #4--Deciphering Census Records. This contest is totally subjective. Each participant will be given a full page of the 1890 census and be required to correctly interpret everything on the page. Judges will score on the basis of accuracy and ability to glean information from 110 year old illegible handwriting. (See note on Judges.)
Event #5--Family Photograph Analysis. Using 20 photographs (ca. 1910) only, each entrant must connect the individuals, state relationships and work out the following: occupation of head of household; occupation of fathers of husband and wife; and number of cousins the wife has (shown and not shown in the photographs). Extraneous photos, from unrelated families, may be included in the original set just to spice up the contest.
Event #6--Unfreezing Computers while Remaining Connected. Each Contestant will be seated in a room in front of a computer that is connected to a genealogy Web site. The mouse will not move the cursor; Control-Alternate-Delete will have no effect; extraneous noises will include a baby crying, phone ringing, and a whistling tea kettle. In order to win, competitors must print out the NEXT page of the site, diaper the baby, answer the phone, and make a glass of iced tea without breaking the connection to the site. For audience information: previous winners of this event have done all the tasks in 13.625894 minutes.
It is possible for one person to win all events. In this case, he or she will be declared Olympic Geneaholic Champion and will be pictured on the cover of the next LDS Bulletin.
Judged events will have 19 judges with no more than six from foreign countries. All scores will be computerized using a program designed by the French and Russians.
Space reservations can be made only by calling area code 4756/ 5555-98213.
Please do NOT call collect.
© H. DAVID MORROW