The Conquest of Mount Epsom

Westbrook Pegler

Hearst Syndicate/February, 1936

Pegler Is Worried About the German Typewriter He Is Using at the Olympic Games—He’s Afraid it Might Be Loaded

This living human document may not amount to much if only because it is being composed in a slab-sided tower of Babel on a portable German typewriter.

It is widely reported in Europe that the German factories which produce the typewriters also manufacture machine guns, and there is a popular story of a stenographer who sat down to type some letters but hit the trigger instead of the space bar and blew her employer full of holes.

Two Japanese journalists sitting across the pine table from your correspondent at this writing, in danger of causing an international incident at this international demonstration of good will, is a mental hazard which tends to cramp a man’s style. Up to this time, however, the German typewriter has not shelled anyone, so your correspondent is beginning to gain confidence. It may be only a simple typewriter, after all, or maybe it just isn’t loaded.

The press room is a reminder of the one of the League of Nations at Geneva, for there are journalists here of many nations—including, of course, the Scandinavians—and most of them are not sportswriters by trade but heavy-duty thinkers and political reporters from the regular bureaus of the world press sent to Garmisch from Berlin, Rome and Paris to cover a series of events which contain possibilities as grim and warlike as the deliberations of any conference of diplomats for the purpose of limiting armaments or concluding treaties of peace.

It was a surprise, therefore, to find sitting down at the end of the pine table a few minutes ago Mr. Paul Gallico, a professional sports writer from New York—an odd bird, indeed, among so many colleagues of more serious occupations, but stranger still because he is a sportswriter who often performs in the sport which he undertakes to cover.

He Didn’t Mean to Come Down the Hill

Consistent with policy, Mr. Gallico recently took a course of instruction in skiing in an indoor school on a slide covered with Epsom salts in lieu of snow, and when he arrived in Garmisch he elected the highest Alp in the neighborhood and slipped down hill. He dashed through the air with the greatest of ease and landed in a river in the valley, and if there had been timers present he undoubtedly would have established a new world record, for his hop was more like a parachute leap without the parachute than a ski run.

Mr. Gallico’s daring jump has been the subject of much admiring comment by the hardy Norsemen from the Scandinavian countries who are experts in this sport, but our hero has confessed to your correspondent that he did not mean to come down the mountain. In fact, Mr. Gallico fell off the Alp and is one of the few men who have done this and survived.

Hardy Norsemen are Issuing Challenges

He was standing at the top terrified by the view when his skis slipped and he dashed away. Skis are not equipped with brakes, and the American journalist, being unable to arrest his descent, spread his wings and took off into space.

Like the humble South Bend, Ind., streetcar motorman who tapped a drunken passenger over the head with his control handle and knocked him cold, to discover that he had knocked out John L. Sullivan, Mr. Gallico is now in a rather delicate situation.

The unfortunate motorman was a quiet citizen afraid of strife who struck the bellicose stranger only in desperation, but now he was famous through South Bend, Ind., which contains many tough guys, and all the tough guys in South Bend began to look him up and swing punches at him so that they could have the honor of licking the man who knocked out John L. Sullivan. Soon he was forced to leave town and change his name, and that may be Mr. Gallico’s fate here, because all the hardy Norsemen are issuing challenges to him to jump off higher and steeper Alps.

Our hero however, is standing on his one achievement and is cabling to Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York department store in which he studied skiing on Mount Epsom, the indoor Alp, to demand his varsity letter.

His worst fear now is that the American coach will tap him on the shoulder and deliver the terrible news that he has made the team, all because he slipped off an Alp.

The German typewriter is positively not a machine gun, after all, but a very ingenious mechanism, nevertheless, for, behold, it has just laid an egg.

(Source: OzTypewriter, https://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2016/10/westbrook-pegler-and-loaded-typewriter.html)