If it weren’t for coverage of the Beijing air and the Chimp’s drunken buffoonery, I would have tuned the Olympics completely out. But ever since I spread the NYTimes double-truck ad honoring Michael Phelps under Banshee’s litter box, I’ve been thinking about what a strange career path competitive swimming is. Flipper yourself out, bring home more medals than the TSA might allow in your carry-on, and then what? Work your way up to coach? Struggle for a bottled-water deal like Mark Spitz? The best the guy can probably look forward to is a contract to promote some Sugar Crap cereal, because Americans have an insatiable appetite for self-delusion. General Foods should start a second line modeled on milk cartons: Missing — Olympic athletes.