The Vanderbilt Hedge Maze
Gold, Freestyle Gymnastics
“Man, you can’t tell me where to put the bars, man, the bars go where they go, a boom diddly pow man, don’t even.”
For some sport is a means of escaping a life of hardship, a means to pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, and risking true failure by devoting oneself wholly to an athletic pursuit. For Rupert Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt fortune and world class gymnast, sport was, “just like a thing [he] did.”
Rupert didn’t attend traditional schools early in his life; as a youth, he found himself exhausted by lower class children. Instead he was tutored on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York, where from a young age focused his studies on translating Sanskrit and Congolese Polo, a polo variant played with zebras.
However, by the age of nine, Rupert had grown deeply bored with his Sanskrit and zebra polo, and dedicated himself to modernist poetry and Aryuvedic Yoga, eschewing solid food and physical movement for a full year. This fasting stunted his growth, and the yoga turned his body into a flexible athletic canvas.
Bored with poetry and Yoga at the age of ten, Rupert insisted that he learn how the common man lived. He was shipped off to Le Rosey, a prestigious Swiss boarding school where he spent a formative semester skiing and learning how to masturbate. However, Rupert quickly grew bored of skiing and masturbation, and decided to cross the Alps on foot.
When he arrived in Turin a month later, Rupert was kidnapped by Ukrainian spies and delivered to Kiev via train. Decried by his captors as a, “horrific little git,” Rupert was to be ransomed back to his mother in the states. This plan had two immediate problems: Stalin was no longer allowing the Ukraine to use money, and Rupert’s mother didn’t want him back. However, his captives had noticed Rupert’s preternatural flexibility, and reformulated their plans for him: Rupert was rechristened Ruprinski, and enrolled in the prestigious Soviet School for Gymnastics and Radioactive Studies.
Rupert, though bored with the radioactive portion of his studies, was entranced with gymnastics. A natural on the bars, Rupert quickly ascended to the pinnacle of Soviet gymnastics. After achieving these heights, he quickly grew bored with communism and returned home as he and his captors agreed the current situation was utterly intolerable.
Upon returning to the Vanderbilt Mansion, Rupert had a set of parallel bars installed in the family hedge maze, but quickly grew bored of being home, and set off hitchhiking across America. It was through hitchhiking that Rupert met Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsburg, with whom he pursued a sort of post modern-enlightenment for a bit, before getting bored and returning home.
Enraged with his mother for not helping him secure Olympic Gold (though it should be noted that he had never previously voiced this desire), she suggested that he pursue qualifying for the Games in gymnastics. Enraged by her stupidity, Rupert slapped his mother in the face, before calmly explaining to her that traditional gymnastics were boring and the Olympics should make a new event just for Rupert so that he could do what he wanted for once in his tortured life. He was going to remind her that she didn’t ransom him back from his Ukrainian captors before hitting her again, but he grew bored with talking mid-sentence and took a nap.
When he awoke he devised a new sport: freestyle gymnastics. The bars would go where Rupert wanted them and scoring would based on how beautifully Rupert flipped about on them. Rupert called the President of the IOC after he devised the sport, but was immediately rebuffed in his attempt to get freestyle gymnastics included in the games. Rupert was angry. This was a new emotion for Rupert. After he was finished destroying all of the fabric in his home as a way of expressing how important his anger was, he had his mother call the IOC President back and offer him enough money to put his sport in the games. When the IOC President accepted, Rupert’s anger was replaced with joy, and he drank a large cup of broth to recapture the zeal of his youth.
Rupert then set off for Helsinki where freestyle gymnastics would be a demonstration sport. He flipped around on some bars he set up for a bit, and was given Olympic Gold. During the medal ceremony, which featured only Rupert, he became bored during the American national anthem and rediscovered his love for masturbation. Finnish police immediately apprehended Rupert charging him with Gross Indecency. His trial would last three days, and by the end of the third day Rupert was so bored he hung himself.