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UDOT OLYMPIC FEVER REDUX

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, July 13, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: Twenty years ago, some four years before the 2002 Olympics came to Salt Lake City, UDOT began roadwork like we’d never seen, and we’d seen plenty. The city was being spruced up for the influx of Olympics-goers and it was evident that Salt Lakers were already going a little nuts in anticipation. So I wrote this column, published in the Deseret News on March 27, 1998 under the headline, ‘Olympic Fever could be the death of us yet.’

Do you know someone who is suffering from Olympic Fever? Or, more correctly, do you know someone who is insufferable because he or she has Olympic Fever?

We’re talking 2002 Olympic Fever, of course. And don’t think this warning is premature just because there is an epidemic of Ute Fever at the moment, or because Jazz Fever is expected to be hot on its heels.

After all, 2002 is just around the corner — and there are many unexpected symptoms of Olympic Fever.

— Does she have a work-in-progress scrapbook of every newspaper article published on the 2002 Olympics?

— Has he painted a huge multicolored Rorschach logo on the front of his house?

        

— Are there autographed photos — of Tara Lipinski or Akebono or Mayor Corradini on skis wearing a red jumpsuit — plastered around her workplace?

— Does he refer to his children as Snowlets?

— Does she go around singing the “Sesame Street” theme song as a tragic lament, substituting “Picabo Street” for the chorus, with lyrics about how she needs to recover before 2002 or David Letterman won’t have enough jokes.

— Does he say he’s lighting the Olympic torch each time he turns on the oven?

— When she takes the eastbound I-80 exit from I-15 does she speed up and say she’s shooting the luge?

These are just a few of the more obvious signs of 2002 Olympic Fever.

And if you’re looking for a cure … good luck.

My advice? Take two gold medals and call me in four years.

     

LOOP THE LOOP: Speaking of I-15 construction (see “shooting the luge” above), it’s getting so complicated just to drive around the valley these days that you have to factor extra travel time into every trip, no matter how brief — and maybe pack a lunch.

Does anyone else have trouble remembering which exits are closed and which are open?

Which ones can be entered going north but not going south, or exited going south but not going north?

Or where it drops from two lanes to one during an unexpected surge of traffic?

My favorite news-speak on TV now is this line: “I-15 construction is gearing up for the summer season.” Gearing down is more like it.

If they shut down any more freeway entrances or surrounding streets, we’ll have to stop going anywhere. Can you shop at the mall by phone?

And what is this doing to tourism? How do people driving from Idaho to Arizona feel about having to go around Utah?

For my part, I’ve started referring to the freeway as “Ay-yi-yi-15!”

And that belt loop is more like a suspender loop these days.