Sunday, November 20, 2016

The 12 Labours of Henrik Kristoffersen

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Norwegian technical ace Henrik Kristoffersen was told that he had to meet three conditions in order to be back in good graces with his team.  First, he had to apologize to his teammates that he alienated with his comments. Secondly, he has to behave better, which has all sorts of interpretations. Does that mean that he can't torment Marcel Hirsher, the proud owner of two reindeer, with recipes for reindeer stew? Or does it simply mean that he should follow team rules without questioning them? The last condition is that his father must not interfere with Henrik's training or business.

We at the Blickbild feel that three conditions is not enough. After all, Hercules had to perform 12 labours. OK, I hear you all thinking that Hercules killed his family and needed to perform his 12 labours to atone for  that deed. All Henrik did was boycott a race over team orders about what to wear on his head at ski races. Boycotting a race is not as big a sin as killing your family, and should merit a lesser punishment. But we feel that in order to really atone for his sins with the Norwegian team, Henrik should be a modern day Hercules and also perform 12 labours. We sent out a survey to our staff for what they thought Henrik should do. Unfortunately, there are no more mythological creatures for him to slay, like Hercules had. Our labours are based on real life tasks that help teach teamwork,  humility and independence with physical fitness as a side effect. Here are the top vote-getters, though not necessarily in order. Let's find out what the Blickbild staff has to say.

Labour 1.  Run a marathon. This should be one of the easier labours to accomplish. Ski racers have strong legs from lifting weights and also from cycling long distances in the summer. But as any experienced marathon runner knows, running 42.2 km (26.2 miles) is never easy. When the muscles decide that they don't want to run anymore, a marathon runner must tell himself that the finish line is only 4,572 more steps away and that he can make it. The best part about completing this particular labour is that Henrik will get a finisher's medal at the end of the race.

Labour 2. Teach math to a class of 8th graders as a substitute teacher. The first thought was that Henrik should spend his spare time teaching beginners how to ski. It would be a way for him to give back to the sport that has given him so much. But that would be too easy and not really considered a Labour. Teaching math to a class of 13 to 14-year-olds who think that they know everything would be much more of a challenge and real mental labour to ensure that everyone understands the subject. Being a substitute teacher makes it even more challenging because kids that age are on their worst behaviour with one. If he can get through two sentences without being interrupted, he will have done well.

Labour 3. Dig ditches for a week. People the world over make fun of ditch diggers. But they perform a useful function. Digging ditches is real physical labour. Henrik would have plenty of opportunities to dig ditches because new US president Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. In order to build the wall, he will need plenty of ditch diggers. The bonus of digging ditches is that it is an excellent upper body workout. After a week of digging ditches, Henrik will have the strongest arms on the Norwegian Ski Team.

Labour 4. Work at a McDonald's. Most people love fast food. Therefore restaurants like McDonald's need workers to keep up with the world's appetite for fast food. Working in a McDonald's is a rite of passage for many teenagers the world over. Henrik probably skipped that part of his adolescent development because he was training to win ski races. But it is never too late. Working in a fast food restaurant teaches people to be part of a team and get along with their co-workers. When Henrik finishes this task, he should get along better with his ski racing teammates.

Labour 5. Compose a 4-movement classical symphony. Henrik is a genius on the race pistes. But a true genius is also well-rounded and creative. This is a real mental labour because Henrik must know how all of the various instruments sound together and use his creativity to come up with an original composition. You may wonder how this is relevant to ski racing. It isn't. But not all labour is physical.  He has to work with temperamental musicians, which can be stressful. Composing a symphony would also unleash Henrik's creative talents and make him more well-rounded.

Labour 6. Work as a dishwasher in a restaurant.  Everyone loves to eat, but nobody loves to wash the dishes afterward. Henrik and his teammates go out to a lot of restaurants when they travel to  races. But do they wash the dishes? No, but somebody has to. Working as a dishwasher is an entry-level job that teaches humility. It also builds muscles from handling piles of dishes and scrubbing pots.

Labour 7. Clean the exhibits at the San Diego Zoo. One of Hercules' labours was to clean the Augean Stables. Poor Hercules had to clean stables which hadn't been touched in 30 years and the horses there were supposed to live forever, which meant never-ending piles of poop. If cleaning the Augean Stables was good enough for Hercules, then Henrik should have no problems cleaning zoo exhibits. At the San Diego Zoo, the exhibits are cleaned more often than every 30 years, so Henrik will have it easy. But cleaning up after a lot of animals is still physical labour and will build his muscles.

Labour 8. Hunt alligators in the New York City sewers. Nothing says labour quite like working in a sewer. Back in the 1950s and early '60s kids in New York got baby alligators for presents. But the kids' parents quickly realized that alligators don't stay cute and little--they grow up. The baby alligators got flushed down the toilet and ended up in the sewer system, where they grew up to be big alligators. Men went into the sewer system to hunt the alligators, but they probably missed a few along the way. Those who were forgotten have reproduced, necessitating the need for a new generation of alligator hunters. After spending a few days in the sewers and facing alligators, a slalom course will seem easier than ever.

Labour 9. Cook ojlmsfjaegger for the Norwegian Ski Team. One of the conditions for Henrik to be part of the team is to apologize to his teammates. After all, he did the equivalent of putting his thumbs in his ears, sticking out his tongue, and saying, "Nanny nanny boo boo" to his teammates when trying to get them to take Red Bull sponsorship without all the benefits that Henrik would get (private training, own Mafia hit man). But if he reads a prepared apology, how will his teammates and trainers know that he is really sincere? An apology is rated more sincere when there is food involved. Therefore, the next labour for Henrik to perform would be making ojlmsfjaegger for the team for a season. Who knows...Maybe Henrik's ojlmsfjaegger will be the magic potion that helps Norway achieve good results this season. I know what you are is traditionally women who make ojlmsfjaegger. Yes, that is true. But some traditions are meant to change with time and this could be one. Henrik could be the trend setter who sends legions of Norwegian men to the kitchen to make ojlmsfjaegger.

Labour 10. Lead an army into battle. The best way to turn a boy into a man is for him to do military service; and the best way for him to become well-respected is to lead soldiers into battle (and hopefully win the battle). Military service and leading men teaches independence and importance of teamwork. We modified this suggestion because we prefer to see Henrik on race courses and not risking his life in a war zone. So we came up with the next best thing, which would be joining a paintball league for a season and being a team captain. He will still get to wear a uniform, fire a weapon, get shot at, and develop strategy for beating his opponents just like a real military leader. However, the worst injury would be some bruises from the paint balls. Henrik will learn to lead men into battle without direction from his father, which will help him to make sound decisions for himself in the future.

Labour 11. Go on a walkabout. Generations of Australian aborigines have gone on a walkabout as a manhood rite. They go out alone into the bush for 40 days. If they survive the experience, they become full-fledged men. Henrik could also go on a 40-day walkabout in the off-season instead of taking a beach holiday like the other ski racers. He would only carry the following items with him: a Swiss Army knife, a roll of duct tape, a bottle cap, and a piece of string. If the TV hero MacGyver could defeat bad guys and escape from dungeons with only those four items, then Henrik could easily survive a walkabout. Henrik will learn valuable hunting and survival skills (he needs to eat after all) and also how to use duct tape, string, and a bottle cap to construct both an emergency shelter and an explosive device.

Labour 12. Find the Holy Grail. Knights have gone on a quest to search for the Holy Grail since the days of King Arthur. It has never been found. Henrik could go on his own quest for the Holy Grail and bring it back to his team. He has the advantage of modern technology, which King Arthur did not have, to help find the Grail. King Arthur did not have a Swiss Army knife or a bottle cap to help him search for the Grail. If he found the Grail, he would be hailed as a hero and welcomed back to the Norwegian team with open arms. If he didn't find the Grail, but won a Crystal Globe this season, that would also be okay with his team. Either way, he will be forgiven and would be allowed to move on with his life and racing career.

After Hercules finished his 12th Labour, it was decided that he fully atoned for his sins. It should be the same for Henrik after completing the labours mentioned above. If Henrik does a satisfactory job completing all of those tasks, his teammates and trainers should welcome him back with open arms. We at the Blickbild wish to see Henrik back on the race pistes. Slalom and giant slalom races are much more interesting when Henrik is competing. We hope he is successful this season in his quest to win races. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive story.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters just have to be interviewed and pass a few tests to get their jobs. They don't have to complete 12 labours.

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