Matthew John Accepts First-Prize at the Mega Ultra Superman Triathlon Award Ceremony

A real speech about a fake event

The following is the original transcript of a speech I gave to a room of baffled classmates in November, 2010.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, fans, fellow participants, Fox News: After winning the Mega Ultra Superman Triathlon (also known by the acronym “MUST”), I admit that I do feel like a superman. Some folks in the media have argued that I might actually be superhuman, but I don’t advocate bragging, so enough about my amazing physical capabilities.

Now, in a diverse audience such as this, I know some of you may be distracted by your various emotions — be they love, profound admiration, sexual desire, jealously, hatred, or even blood-lust, but if you sit tight and open your ears and hearts to my message, you just might learn how to become a better person, a stronger person, and a more successful person. In short, you might learn how to become more like me.

Once again, I’d like to thank you all for being here tonight — it’s a real ego-boost. I’d also like to thank several individuals who unwittingly contributed to this accomplishment through inspiration and favorable genetics.

First of all, I’d like to thank my Grandpa Vern, who began my family’s great athletic tradition with his record-breaking participation in track and field. He always said he could “run like a deer”, and even now, at eighty years old, he can still walk like a goat.

Secondly, I thank my mother, who has always been an avid runner, and trained me well over the years. Next, I’d like to thank my younger brother Adam for carrying on our family’s cherished athletic custom with his inspiring involvement in Cross Country during high school, though he maintained his position as “last place” during each meet.

And last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank my wonderful sponsors, Red Bull and Fat Tire, who made this dream a reality.

Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you today as — yes — a mighty champion, but also as a unique individual with a unique story. For those of you who haven’t yet had the privilege of reading my autobiography, it’s important to note that mine is not simply a story of commitment, endurance, and superior physical ability — it is also a story of overcoming adversity.

You see, when I was about three years old I contracted a severe case of asthma due to the rampant pollution of a local paper mill. I recall many sleepless nights in the Emergency Room, and this unpleasant ailment also detracted from my performance during high school sports, karate, and snowboarding. Being an asthmatic, I never imagined that I would one day complete a triathlon, much less earn first place in one.

A few years ago, after the advent of chronic back and neck pain, I sought help and explanation from a prominent chiropractor. Soon enough, I was diagnosed with a ruthless defect called “scoliosis”. Having a spine that, in alphabetic terms, most closely resembles the letter “S”, I never imagined that I would one day attain such a prestigious honor.

Then, there was college. I would describe my college experience as a reckless four-year art binge, during which I had no accountability, and not even a brief consideration of athletic pursuit. After the heavy alcohol consumption and other unhealthy habits that animated my educational development, I never imagined I would be standing here before you today.

Though I am honored and thrilled to be here, I am not particularly surprised, for I did adhere to a strict training regimen, which included kickboxing, yoga, Tae Bo, Tai-Chi, Chai tea, and waterboarding, which was conducted by former vice president Dick Cheney himself, God bless his soul. This training, and the voracious spirit of competition that has been instilled in me since birth, have allowed me to be successful in my journey.

Regardless of my meticulous preparation, I did encounter many difficulties during the race. For instance, while being chased by a pack of wild boars through the Cocaine Cactus Maze, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my liver, as though I had just been shanked by an unruly inmate. But instead of throwing in the towel, I pressed on, repeating in my head, “the MUST is a must, the MUST is a must!”

Additionally, while cycling up the mighty Mt. Tambora, the heavy inhalation of sulfur and volcanic debris caused me to have a mild asthma attack. But I didn’t give up. Instead, I cracked a Red Bull, and repeated again the phrase, “The MUST is a must! The MUST is a must!” This must have helped, because I successfully applied the same method during the pyramid crawl, when my spine felt like a soft pretzel, baking in the Egyptian sun.

At last, I realized that I had overcome the ultimate adversity, as I burst through the finish line, my body intact, and my mind enlightened. Afterward, I was compelled to kick back and relax with a nice, cold pint of my favorite beer, Fat Tire.

During Stephen Colbert’s riveting speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, he opined on the life of then-president George W. Bush, saying, “It is the heart-warming story of a man who is repeatedly punched in the face.” Due to my various physical disorders, I used to think of my own story this way. But since my recent victory, I now liken my personal narrative to that of a man who has looked Life straight in the face, and given it a nice, hardy kick in the groin.

Now, I can tell by the looks on your faces that the more astute among you have become aware that approximately 74% of this uplifting tale is indeed fictional. Let me, then, leave you with these words of enigmatic inspiration: “If you can dream it, you can imagine it.”

Thank you.

Communist. Herbivore. Husband. Artist. I primarily write about politics and history. My work has also been published by The Hampton Institute.

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