You slept through your nature-sounds alarm again, and the red light on the answering machine flashes with the fury of your irate boss. The stale whiff of a full ashtray and last night's beer bottles twists your queasy gut into full-blown nausea. You can't begin to contemplate the origins of that olive-green gunk in your toilet. You pull on your last two clean socks, some sweatpants and a concert T-shirt that you've worn four times since laundry day and sprawl out on the couch for another afternoon of TV judges, Oprah and vocational-training commercials.
Your get-up-and-go has gone down the gutter. Your pep is down the drain. You need zing. You need zip. Your apathetic spirit cries out for a mainline injection of perky, zestful vim and sparkle. You need the 2004 T.J. Maxx Tour of Gymnastics Champions (along with maybe a new alarm)!
As David Letterman might say, this is only an exhibition, not a competition, so please, no wagering. You won't see the agony of any athlete's defeat -- just more jumping and swinging and flipping in one evening than your pacemaker can handle. Many of those medaling U.S. Olympic Team pixies you know from Athens will be up in this mug, including all-around women's champ Carly Patterson, one of the team's two Courtneys (Kupets, not McCool), Annia Hatch, Mohini Bhardwaj and native Missourian Terin Humphrey (pictured). Some of the medaling U.S. dudes represent, too, including Jason Gatson, Brett McClure and Guard Young. (Accidentally controversial Olympic champ Paul Hamm is absent, probably because he's too busy defending his gold medal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Keep up the good fight, Paul!)
And if a circus is more your scene, two Cirque du Soleil veterans show off along with some other Olympian performers. No matter what you like, it all goes down downtown at the Savvis Center (14th and Clark streets; www.savviscenter.net) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 12. Ticket prices range from $17 to $77; purchase tickets at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 314-241-1888.