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Olympic Fever could be the death of us yet

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Do you know someone who is suffering from Olympic Fever? Or, more correctly, do you know someone who is insufferable because he or she has Olympic Fever?

We're talking 2002 Olympic Fever, of course. And don't think this warning is premature just because there is an epidemic of Ute Fever at the moment, or because Jazz Fever is expected to be hot on its heels.After all, 2002 is just around the corner - and there are so many symptoms of Olympic Fever that can unexpectedly crop up:

For example:

- Does she have a work-in-progress scrapbook of every newspaper article published on the 2002 Olympics?

- Has he painted a huge multicolored Rorschach logo on the front of his house?

- Are there autographed photos - of Tara Lipinski or Akebono or Mayor Corradini on skis, wearing a red jumpsuit - plastered around her workplace?

- Does he refer to his children as Snowlets?

- Does she go around singing the "Sesame Street" theme song as a tragic lament, substituting "Picabo Street" for the chorus, with lyrics about how she needs to recover before 2002 or David Letterman won't have enough jokes for his monologues?

- Does he say she's lighting the Olympic torch each time he turns on the oven?

- When she takes the eastbound I-80 exit from I-15, does she speed up and say she's shooting the luge?

These are just a few of the more obvious signs of 2002 Olympic Fever.

And if you're looking for a cure . . . good luck.

My advice? Take two gold medals and call me in four years.

- LOOP THE LOOP: Speaking of I-15 construction (see "shooting the luge" above), it's getting so complicated just to drive around the valley these days that you have to factor extra travel time into every trip, no matter how brief - and maybe pack a lunch.

Does anyone else have trouble remembering which exits are closed and which are open?

Which ones can be entered going north but not going south, or exited going south but not going north?

Or where it drops from two lanes to one during an unexpected surge of traffic?

My favorite news speak on TV now is this line: "I-15 construction is gearing up for the summer season." Gearing down is more like it.

If they shut down any more freeway entrances or surrounding streets, we'll have to stop going anywhere. Can you shop at the mall by phone?

And what is this doing to tourism? How do people driving from Idaho to Arizona feel about having to go around Utah?

For my part, I've started referring to the freeway as "Ay, yi, yi-15!"

And that belt loop is more like a suspender loop these days.

- HEAD OF THE CLASS: There were some very nice moments during the annual TV Oscar-cast the other night. Of course, you're bound to have a few nice moments when your show runs nearly four hours.

But there was only one really classy moment.

The class act - and by far the show's highlight - was the salute to Stanley Donen, the 73-year-old filmmaker whose directing credits include "Singin' in the Rain," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Charade" and a number of other classic golden oldies.

Donen received an award for lifetime achievement, and he had obviously rehearsed his remarks, which were crisp and witty, and included a funny song and a brief soft shoe.

But he didn't feel the need to take the low road, with cheap sex gags on the level of junior high schoolers in the locker room. (Unlike presenter Dustin Hoffman and host Billy Crystal.)

I know to some this puts me in the position of Old Fogey (as does using the phrase "Old Fogey"), but there was a time when stupid sleazy sex jokes were left at the door, as entertainers tried to be clever instead of merely vulgar.

It's the low road, it's the easy road. And Donen reminded us that the high road used to be the standard.

And how it still can be.