Give the Devil a sporting chance

By Karen Zautyk

I had an unexpected house guest this weekend — my good friend the Jersey Devil, who came up from the Pine Barrens to do a little Winter Olympics binge-watching. His own TV was on the fritz, plus he knew I would welcome his company.  Also, he was  feeling a bit depressed.

This time, he had not driven up in his Lamborghini. Instead he had flown north, and he called me from Teterboro Airport to announce his arrival. Although he is equipped with very large wings, in the frosts of winter he prefers to use his private Learjet. (He also uses it for international travel because getting through security can be extremely problematic for him. Since he has a head like a goat, a face like a horse, wings like a bat, body like a kangaroo, legs like a crane, front legs with paws and back legs with hooves, he usually attracts undue attention.) 

The Devil, in case you didn’t know, is a huge fan of winter sports (though not of a certain hockey team). Winter is his favorite season, since few humans frequent the Barrens then. In the warm months, there are all sorts of hikers and campers and Jersey Devil “hunts, which he finds particularly annoying. 

In the depths of the pines, the Devil has constructed his own snowboarding course, ski jump and ice rink.   

I have been practicing so hard, he said. I have perfected my own frontside, backside, switch frontside, switch backside super-quintuple snowboard spin. And on the ski jump, I have bested the world’s record by 50 metres.”

So why are you unhappy? I asked.

Because the Olympic Committee refused to allow me to compete! They insist that my wings give me an unfair advantage.”

Well, they might have a point, I said. 

“But what about my ice skating?” he said, getting angrier by the minute. Do you know how hard it is just to find figure skates that fit hooves? 

Coincidentally, at that point, the Winter Games coverage switched to men’figure skating highlights, and the Devil began to growl as we watched American Nathan Chen’s unprecedented six quad jumps.  

Six! said the Devil, taking a swig of the 12-year-old, single-malt Glenfiddich scotch he enjoys. (It costs $64 a bottle, but I always make sure I have some on hand for my special guest. At his own home, he drinks the 50-year-old variety. Go to Google and see what THAT costs.)

Six!” he repeated. “I can do eight! And I look better in sequins.” 

As we continued watching the various events, we discussed which ones he could set his horse-face eyes on that might meet with Olympic Committee approval for his participation in the 2022 Winter Games.

Downhill skiing? Again, a wings problem.

Speed skating? Likewise.

Cross-country? Too strenuous for a 283-year-old. 

Bobsled? He wouldn’t fit in one. 

Ice dancing? Finding a partner would be a problem. 

Then we saw it! Curling! Neither of us had any idea what these people were doing (or why) but the wings would not interfere and his front paws could hold a sponge mop or whatever that sweeping thing is. (Didn’t curlers used to use brooms?) 

The Devil and I toasted what would be his new athletic specialty. And we happily finished off the Glenfiddich, which, just like curling, comes from Scotland.

(Meanwhile, readers, watch the skies. The Devil may be back in these parts next week to visit Johnny Weir upon that Olympian’s return from Pyeongchang. Does he still live in Lyndhurst?)

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