could hit a baseball farther than any man alive
kick a football farther than any man alive
run the mile faster than any man alive.
Harold Swerg could do anything.
Only he wouldn't.
Baseball and football magnates came to Harold Swerg. They said:
SIGN WITH US! YOU'LL HAVE MONEY, STATUS, GLORY, GIRLS!
Track and field magnates came to Harold Swerg. They said:
SIGN WITH US! YOU'LL HAVE FREE TRANSPORTATION, LOTS OF BANQUETS, A TEAM JACKET WITH YOUR NAME ON IT, GIRLS!
And to all of them Harold Swerg replied.
He just wanted to go on making his living as a filing clerk.
I DON'T LIKE THE SPORT BUSINESS.
I LIKE THE FILING CLERK BUSINESS.
THE SPORT BUSINESS DOESN'T PRESENT A CHALLENGE, THE FILLING CLERK BUSINESS PRESENTS A CHALLENGE.
SOMEDAY I MAY MAKE BOOK KEEPER.
So the baseball magnates and the football magnates and the track and field magnates all got together and issued a press release.
And people read it and said:
OBVIOUSLY ANY MAN WHO DOES NOT PLAY THE GAME IS AGAINST THE GAME AND IF HE IS AGAINST THE GAME HE IS AGAINST FAIR PALY AND IF HE IS AGAINST FAIR PLAY HE IS AGAINST OUR WAY OF LIFE!
To all of which Harold Swerg replied:
LEAVE ME ALONE.
And that was where things seemed to settle.
Then the new Olympics were announced.
Russia was to have its greatest team ever.
It had someone who could hit a baseball farther than anybody.
It had someone who could kick a football farther than anybody
It had someone who could run a mile faster than anybody.
The State Department called a conference
HAROLD SWERG MUST ENTER THE OLYMPICS!
So they sent a representative
Who returned with a message.
So they checked his loyalty File.
HE'S NEVER BELONGED
And that seemed to be the answer. Harold Swerg was just not interested in belonging. A higher State Department official went to see him.
BUT YOU'VE GOT TO BELONG! EVERYONE BELONGS TO SOMETHING!
NOT ME. Said Harold Swerg.
They sent a bunch of congressmen.
IT'S THE RULE OF A DEMOCRACY THAT THE MAJORITY DECIDES. A MAJORITY HAS DECIDED THEY WANT YOU TO PLAY IN THE OLYMPICS. ARE YOU TRYING TO CRUMBLE OUR FOUNDATIONS?
"I'M JUST TRYING TO BE LEFT ALONE" said Harold Swerg and he sent them away.
SC teamed the press. Congress threatened to draft him into the olympics.
Finally there came a special appeal from the President.
DO YOU WANT US TO LOSE?
SO THATS WHATS BOTHERING EVERYBODY.
BUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH LOSING? IT'S ONLY A GAME.
Everyone was thrown into confusion.
LOSING IS JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF WINNING. SOMEBODY HAS TO DO IT.
"DON'T LISTEN! DON'T LISTEN!" cried the President's advisors and they all closed their ears.
The public expressed its outrage. They booed. They hissed. They burned Olympic torches on his lown.
The Soviet press offered its views on the subject.
Then one day, just when things were at their hottest-Harold Swerg came out of his house and said:
ALLRIGHT. I'LL PLAY.
"SWERG WILL PALY!" The country was electrified. "SWERG WILL PLAY!" Both political parties claimed credit.
And so the games began!
The first event was who could hit a baseball the farthest. The Russian (Peoples Farthest Baseball Hero Smedyakov) went first
Harold Swerg went second.
The next event was who could Kick a football the farthest The Russian (People's Hero Kicker Brosnokopski) went first.
Harold Swerg went second.
Grumbling of discontent began to murmur through the crowd.
The last event was the mile. His opponent was People's Fastest Hero Runner Alive Kchawelshkov.
It was a tie.
Harold Swerg was called before the judges.
HAROLD SWERG, YOU WERE NOT GIVING YOUR ALL!
"I CERTAINLY WAS" said Harold Swerg indignantly.
"THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU WIN" demanded the judges.
"WINNING DOESN'T TAKE MY ALL" said Harold Swerg "EQUALLING TAKES MY ALL."
"HUH?" said the judges.
LETS SEE YOU TRY TO KICK A FOOTBALL EXACTLY 310 YARDS 4 FEET 1 INCH.
But the judges just didn't understand.
IT WAS QUITE A CHALLENGE I WASN'T SURE I COULD DO IT.
ANYBODY WHO WANTS ANY RECORDS EQUALLED COME ON AROUND!
But nobody did.
Because nobody is interested in having records equalled.
So they left Harold Swerg alone.
which was just the way he wanted it.
FORTY EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS