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This weekend, ESPN is holding its first Extreme Sports awards. "Extreme sports"? Hey, folks, let's call this what it is: weird shit invented by guys who are willing to die to get laid.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but our obsession with extreme sports has people all over the country jumping off bridges, skyscrapers and mountain cliffs, and some of them aren't even invested in the stock market.

The concept of extreme sports is yet another component in the vast conspiracy contrived to make me feel like I'm aging faster than a tuna sandwich in the glove compartment of a black car parked in Phoenix, Arizona.

Extreme sports are usually played by middle-class white kids, because the equipment involved is expensive, the activities often require costly trips to exotic locations and, let's face it, unfortunately, if you're growing up in an inner-city housing project, the mere act of walking to school is no doubt extreme enough.

Gen-X sports have been so successful for advertisers, they're now afraid to market anything without them. I saw Charles Schwab on TV the other day, trying to yell something about moderate-growth mutual funds while wakeboarding off the North Shore of Oahu, with his knee joints poppin' like two M-80s goin' off in an underground parking garage.

Hey, you only have to watch a minute of extreme sports to distill what is really going on here: psychopaths enriching osteopaths.

Now, when it was first introduced, bungee jumping was seen as the peak of extreme, a wild, daring pasttime only the boldest madmen would undertake. It has today become so mainstream that all bungee jumping platforms are required by law to be fully wheelchair- accessible.

Then there's BASE jumping, a high fatality activity which involves leaping off buildings and bridges with a parachute. You know, when I was ten years old, I climbed up on the roof of our neighbors garage and jumped off while holding an open umbrella. Only it wasn't called BASE jumping back then, let's see, what was it called ... oh yeah, "Being a fucking Moron."

If you really want to screw with a BASE jumper's head, wait at the edge of the cliff, and just before he's about to go, ask for his girlfriends phone number.

You know, when I watch one of these Eco Challenge events, I always wonder what the local natives think when they see the civilized folk "roughing it" with all the state-of-the-art clothing and equipment money can buy. Meanwhile, the Sherpas are climbing Everest with nothing on their feet but Wonder Bread bags, and their gods forbid the use of twist ties. And how about when these hikers pull out their calorically calibrated protein bars, while the guide from the tribe, who is naked except for the animal horn on his penis just digs into a pile of elephant dung and pulls out an undigested peanut, and calls it macaroni. [SING] Yankee Doody went to town

Extreme sports are fascinating to someone like me, who screams like Maria Callas in late-stage labor if I merely drive over a pothole with an open coffee container between my legs. In my defense, I may not be as adventurous as I used to be, but given the right set of circumstances, I am as extreme as they come. Like the other day, I'm making my famous cinnamon baked apples. But just for the sheer adrenaline rush, I stick the cloves in with their spikey ends pointing out. Balls to the wall, dude!

I think I speak for many of my fellow Los Angelenos when I say that I find extreme sports rather redundant when I spend a good deal of my day just trying to stay alive in traffic, while pinned between 4 stegasaurus-sized S.U.V.s, each being driven by a psychotically aggressive, Palm-Pilot-wielding, 98-pound woman with the blood sugar level of Lot's wife.

I view professional extreme athletes with, at worst, mild puzzlement and, at best, genuine respect. But what pisses me off are the amateur extreme athletes, who don't just risk their own lives -- they make some park ranger, fireman, or cop risk his life to save them. Every time I see a soldier who enlisted so he could defend his country, end up having to put his neck on the line, rappelling off a helicopter to save some middle-aged hero-wannabe jagoff who skied 20 miles off the clearly marked trail just so he can have a better pickup line than, "Hey, baby, your place or my moms?", I can't help but hope that just this one time, the kid from the National Guard is going to change his mind and chopper away to get a well-deserved beer, but not before getting just close enough to shout, "Hey, Asshole, Charles Darwin says hi."

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


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