Thursday, November 21, 2002

Crusading Legislator Takes On New Target

Massachusetts Congressman Edward “Biz” Markey (D-MA), most famous in recent years for his tireless efforts to rid the world of pleasurable amusement park experiences, is making waves in the nation’s Capitol again this week. Although he has campaigned extensively to pass legislation restricting roller coaster gravitational forces (also known as G-forces) and require amusement parks to answer to federal examinations and standards, Markey announced a new expansion of his personal war on dangerous pastimes during a speech this afternoon on Capitol Hill.

“While my colleagues and I will fight unceasingly to rid the nation of enjoyable amusement attractions, and will continue to attempt to foist ignorant federal regulators upon a uniformly safe sector of the economy, we have only just begun our battle against American outdoor recreation,” said Markey. “Our new crusade will be to bring the dangerous shuffleboarding industry to its knees.”

Shuffleboard, a demure outdoor game played primarily by South Florida octogenarians, involves the use of a long stick (the “cue”) which players use to push the small puck-like objects (the “disks”) onto a marked-off target to score points.

Markey cited numerous statistics in his speech, chiefly the 1998 United States Consumer Products Safety Commission Report, which states, “injuries from less active sports, such as…shuffleboard…increased moderately or not at all from 1990 to 1996.”

“Clearly this indicates a warning trend that shuffleboard honchos want the American Public to ignore,” sneered Markey, pounding his fist, Krushchev-like, upon his podium. “With all of their supposed ‘advancements’ in gear and playing techniques, they still maintain nearly the same horrific rate of injuries after six years. This scourge on our people must be stopped.”

Aside from the apparently damning government report, Markey provided additional support for his claims. “I have certified sources who attest that 37 people have suffered fatal injuries during the course of these barbaric matches over the past 3 years. Of course, I’m not going to tell you the names of these sources or produce any documents proving any of this is remotely true, but I will relentlessly quote these figures anyway. 37 fatalities! 37!” Markey further noted a “stunning” number of shuffleboard players who have developed arthritis, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, hearing loss, and even senility “solely and entirely from playing this deadly game.” Markey has indicated a desire to require all players to either wear ski boots welded to the floor or to be suspended by steel cables throughout all game play to avoid any risk of falling. He may also push for requiring that pucks be made of foam.

Calls by ARN&R to the National Shuffleboard Association offices were not returned.