And so it came to this: With my ideas for columns resembling the carcass of the poor turkey I ate last week Ÿ gutted and lifeless Ÿ I turned to the one man who could save me, lead me to the promised land of columns.
My friend Greg.
Greg is a creative fellow, and so I made this deal with him Ÿ he'd give me a worthy column idea and I'd give him some Fritos.
With the bargain struck I waited for Greg to work his magic. And waited. As he helped himself to my Fritos, he suggested writing about hockey. I said no. What about expansion? Not interested, I said. Sex? I need to write a long column, I said.
For a time I thought I would write about food, and bemoan how stadiums and arenas no longer serve only hot dogs, popcorn and Coke, but now serve cuisine Ÿ brie, Chablis, tofu dogs and sushi. But then I decided talking about food was about the only thing as boring as discussing hockey.
Parlor games as a concept was the next idea. I probably would have started out with how my mom has joined a women's club that meets every month to play a dice game called bunko. The club asked my mom to join. She was so happy. Everything associated with the game is renamed using the word "bunko" Ÿ the bunko clock, a timer that keeps track of the game; bunko refreshments; the bunko bear that is a bunko centerpiece that sits on the bunko table. But then I realized bunko was more than a parlor game, and that my mom belonged to a cult.
That made me unhappy, so I thought I would discuss how ping-pong and ballroom dancing were now Olympic events, and try to figure out how someone goes higher, faster, stronger while doing the mamba. But I came to the conclusion that is was okay to let Venenzuela win the gold in pairs dancing and spread the medals around.
The next idea was to plead for someone to bring me Cleveland Browns' owner Art Modell for Christmas, tied up and gagged. But then I decided a much better idea was to have Modell brought to the base of Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland and let the members of the Dawg Pound deal with him as they saw fit. But since it's basically a done deal that the Browns are going to move to Baltimore, I decided I should start the healing process, and a column on Modell might set that process back.
The always controversial ESPN commentator Dick Vitale was thrown out as another idea. Now don't get me wrong, I love Dickie V. I think he calls a game the same way most of us would if we ever got the chance to do it, but the last thing his ego needs is another column written about him. But then, in a dose of humility, someone reminded me that Vitale would probably never see this column, so I should get over it and write about him.
This logic had a certain clarity to it but confused me at the same time. As I realized I was approaching deadline, a column about Vitale suddenly became a great idea. I could see the headline: "Vitale always a P-T-P'er." Everyone would read that, I thought. Right?
I know what Greg would have said. I should have talked about hockey.
Patrick Klein is assistant sports editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
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