The Following is a Piece of Fiction...

But does art imitate life, or vice versa?

Ozzy Osbourne, a veritable living legend of the 'heavy metal' subset of rock and roll, was recently served notice by the World Triathlon Organization (WTC) of his infringement on their intellectual property rights.

The bone of contention? A little ditty by Ozzy's old band, Black Sabbath, off their 1970 multiple-platinum release, Paranoid.

"I am Iron Man," claims Ozzy, at the beginning of the fourth song, named, unsurprisingly, Iron Man.

But he's not, says the WTC, in a recently issued statement:

"Clearly, Ozzy Osbourne is not an Ironman. He has never finished one of our races. He has never, as far as we can tell, done one ounce of physical exercise except dance around on stage and slam bottles of liqour. And frankly, that's not the image that we at WTC have worked to cultivate. An Ironman is a true test of physical and mental endurance, consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run, all completed in one grueling, unforgettable day," claimed Sed Itious, the WTC spokesman.

"Oh yeah," said Itious, "And it has an M-dot."

Ozzy's lawyer, Maximillion Childish, points out, however, that Ozzy wrote the tune in 1969, while the WTC was not formally incorporated until the early 1980's, several years after the first Ironman Triathlon competition was staged by Navy SEALs on the big island of Hawaii.

"Ozzy Osbourne has been singing Iron Man as the anthem of a disempowered, disenfranchised generation for more than thirty years. The song is clearly a metaphor for the disillusionment of the Proletariat at the hands of the Bourgeoisie," Childish declared. "If anyone is at fault here, it is the founders of the Hawaii Ironman competition, who neglected to invite Ozzy to perform at the first running of the competition."

"Or give him a t-shirt."

Not so, claimed Itious, at a hastily convened and ill-attended news conference in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

"The Hawaii Ironman and all affiliated races have long been known for their grueling mental and physical tests. Simply listen to these lyrics from Ozzy's song which I will now read," Itious said, as he gazed about the room:

"Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead?"

Itious stopped. "Clearly, these the first two lines discuss the mental characteristics it takes to enter one of our glorious races. And the last three reveal a decisive image of our finish line chute, where, after grueling hours of intense physical effort, true Ironmen and women collapse into the arms of our beloved volunteers, the 'finish line catchers.'"

Despite the increasingly fervent rhetoric on both sides, however, one thing is clear: The WTC have asked Ozzy to rename the song and rewrite his lyrics. If not, the notice claims, they will file suit in federal court for Trademark Infringement violation.

The notice goes on to suggest that the song could easily be renamed Lead Man, Steel Man, or Poly-Carbonate Man.

Ozzy Osbourne, reached at his townhome in London, England, and informed of the recent developments, had this to say:

"You're joking, right? What are they, f*cking daft?"

© 2001 Mad Marty Productions

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