Politics, long an inevitable part of the Olympics, have been front and center at this year’s Games, thanks largely to Undersecretary of Education Buck Nuhauser. Known stateside as a lovable doofus, a gallant bumbler always ready with a smile and a not-quite-firm handshake, Nuhauser has been charming the pants off of vice principals and after-school program tutors since his appointment in 2009.
But with heightened tensions between the United States and Russia in the months leading up to the Games’ opening ceremony, President B.H. Obama decided to keep all of his previously appointed high-level delegates at home, and send Nuhauser as the lone American representative from the federal government. The national media immediately began to salivate at the comical possibilities. But Lucky Bucky — as his wife calls him, usually in public — has been determined to turn those chuckles into cheers by proving his talents, his generosity and his composure while halfway across the world.
In short: Buck Nuhauser, Undersecretary of Education, did not come to Sochi to mess around. Unfortunately, the universe has had other plans.
Often considered a low-brow, canned beer partier by his loyal Ohio constituents and the larger Washington press, Nuhauser was determined to put together a classy arrival procession, full of American whimsy, when being formally introduced to Russia’s own low-level designee, the Minister of Culture Vladimir Fukofski. Dozens of bewildered locals were scooped up and sent to the tarmac for the official ceremony, which had been bedecked prior to Nuhauser’s arrival by his own staff members.
Upon his request, a giant ice cream sundae loomed at the center of a long red walkway, and strong men in American flag judo jackets stood ready to throw hot miniature apple pies into the crowd. An Uncle Sam character on stilts, complete with long red-striped pants, hovered in the wings. The resulting funfetti and pomp that unveiled itself as Nuhauser stepped off the plane was certainly its own brand of charming, if a bit culturally tone deaf. Then the Undersecretary of Education brandished a gun.
Well, a rifle really, a holdover from the Civil War. Meant as a symbol of America’s willingness to come together even in the face of adversity, the rusty musket (somehow, improbably, still loaded) misfired, catching fire to several tall banners depicting the Grand Canyon filled with the Kremlin in a show of cultural unity. In the immediate inferno that followed, Nuhauser stepped on the train of Minister Fukofski’s wife as she tried to flee, tearing it completely off. Sammy Hagar, an American ride-along sent as a cultural attaché (complete with electric guitar) immediately swung into action. With a quarter century of volunteer firefighting under his belt, Hagar, ringed by smoke and flames, began to pound out the fire using his priceless guitar. The resulting single image of the mess, captured perfectly, shows a stilted Uncle Sam face down in an oversized ice cream sundae while a wall of flame plays behind. In the foreground, a naked Russian woman — the Minister’s debauched wife — stands in heels as Sammy Hagar smashes his Fender guitar on the ground, and Nuhauser stands holding a rifle, the whole scene lit by orange rolling flames. The Associated Press, not known for editorializing, call the event “fucking awesome.”
Things have not gotten much better for the man in the days following the photo’s international release. Nuhauser unknowingly used the top half of one of the city’s oldest matryoshka dolls to down a shot of Jack Daniels from a minibar bottle kept in his back pocket, his dog Wolfie — a lumbering sheepdog who accompanies the Undersecretary everywhere — interrupted the first elimination round of international hockey after trying to slowly “fetch” the puck while in play, and an important dinner meant to smooth over the earlier arrival snafu has arguably been the worst-received moment of all.
The meal was originally planned as a down-home country barbecue, complete with ribs, mac & cheese and Nuhauser’s famed Good Lawdy Cornbread, but the idea was scrapped in favor of a more international, high-class modernist feast. Nuhauser’s reason for the change was to show that the earlier comedic situations were not indicative of who he was, just a series of coincidental mishaps.
Struggling with the last minute about-face, the underprepared chefs (many from simple barbecue restaurants in North Carolina) tried to foam up, emulsify, CryoVac and flash-freeze the ingredients on hand. The raw pearls of pork ribs, dressed in beef blood foam to the best of these simple men’s abilities, made nearly every guest sick (Wolfie loved it), and those who were somehow unaffected by strychnine had their cheeks and tongues frozen by the poorly prepared dry ice bits of hoof. Fukofski, the guest of honor following the previous fiasco, choked on a large piece of bone, fell back into the serving table, creating a fulcrum that launched a bowl of emulsified potato salad into the lap of Fufofski’s incredulous wife. Wolfie immediately came over to lick it all up, and (for a brief moment) her face went from shock to comical arousal. The Associated Press, starting to become known for their editorializing, described the moment as “fucking awesome.”
Nuhauser, hellbent on making things right with Fukofski, his wife, and the people of Russia, decided to try his best for a speech he was to give the following day on the shores of the “Black” Sea. After getting a surprise call from President B.H. Obama, Nuhauser opted for a more toned down approach, standing on a simple stage to speak about the need for education worldwide. After twenty minutes of heart wrenching, off the cuff remarks, the crowd moved to tears, and without incident, Fukofski relaxed, thinking the speech was over.
However, Sammy Hagar had not gotten the memo about the updated speech plans and drove in from the ocean on a fan boat blasting “Ride of the Valkyries” followed by a fleet of American servicemen in landing craft (reminiscent of D Day). The Russians, believing an invasion, ran in every which direction. Nuhauser, while thrilled to see his good friend Hagar, tried to call off the presentation by waving furiously. In the process, he also stepped on Fukofski’s wife’s dress again, as well as his own pants, resulting in the photo of she and him holding each other, pantsless, to which the Associated Press called “a fucking thrill ride.”
As of this printing, Nuhauser has returned to America and is hard at work using the same skills he displayed in Sochi on fixing America’s educational system. Fukofski and his wife returned to their demure life in Moscow, though she has been rumored to buying bottles of Nuhauser’s cologne (not the brand he wears, his own line). And Sammy Hagar, well, he took the “Black” Sea in a fan boat and hasn’t been seen since, but he’s been heard rocking all over the god damn world. ✦