NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. — GOOD MORNING! HAPPY NEW YEA– WHAT’S THAT? TOO LOUD? OOH. SORRY. ROUGH NIGHT, HUH? I CAN TELL BY THE TORTILLA DIP ABOVE YOUR EYELID. ALSO THE FACT THAT YOU SAID “TOO LOUD” TO A NEWSPAPER. THAT’S PRETTY STRANGE, DON’T YOU THINK? BY THE WAY, YOU MIGHT WANT TO WIPE THAT DIP OFF BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO OPEN THE OTHER–

WHOA. LOOK OUT. OVER HERE. NO.

DOWN HERE THAT’S

IT.

TOUGH TO FOCUS WITH BOTH OF THEM, ISN’T IT?

OK. FIRST TASK. FORGET LAST NIGHT. YOU PROBABLY CAN’T REMEMBER MUCH ANYHOW. EXCEPT WHEN YOU TRIED TO IMITATE ALL FOUR TEMPTATIONS DOING “BALL OF CONFUSION” WHILE STANDING HALF-NAKED ON THE POOL TABLE. THAT WAS PRETTY GOOD. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT. YOUR BOSS DID.

BUT ENOUGH. WE HAVE A FOOTBALL GAME TO WATCH TODAY, MICHIGAN STATE VERSUS USC, THE ROSE BOWL, THE GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL. SO YOU NEED TO TAKE DRASTIC ACTION: LIKE GETTING UP.

YOO

HOO! OVER

HERE.

TRY TO STAY WITH ME, OK? Some hints to start the day

(YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED I AM WRITING IN VERY LARGE TYPE, THE KIND USED IN BOOKS LIKE “SPOTTY, THE WONDER DOG.” BASED ON THE EMPTY BOTTLES NEAR YOUR FEET, I FIGURE YOU APPRECIATE THE EASY VISUAL TARGET. AT SOME POINT WE WILL REVERT TO REGULAR LETTERS THAT LOOK LIKE

this

BUT NOT JUST YET.)

NOW THEN. RULES FOR GETTING UP: 1) LOCATE YOUR PANTS 2) LOCATE YOUR WALLET 3) DETERMINE WHOSE HOUSE YOU ARE IN

OOH! WHAT’S THAT? A SHARP PAIN IN THE STOMACH? NOT TO WORRY. THIS IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AFTER SWALLOWING FOUR POUNDS OF POTATO CHIPS, TWO BOWLS OF M&M’S AND THE HOUSE PLANT. WHY DID YOU SWALLOW THE HOUSE PLANT? WHAT ARE YOU ASKING ME FOR?

YOU’RE UP! GOOD . . . WHOA. YOU’RE DOWN. THAT WAS QUICK. NICE TRY.

OK. BACK TO THIS FOOTBALL GAME. WE HAVE MICHIGAN STATE, WHICH HASN’T BEEN TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN JANUARY SINCE 1966, FACING USC, WHICH LIVES HERE ALL YEAR LONG. THEREFORE, I BELIEVE THE USC PLAYERS, IN THE INTEREST OF FAIR PLAY AND SPORTSMANSHIP, SHOULD ROLL OVER AND DIE ON THE OPENING KICKOFF.

BUT THAT IS A LONGSHOT. IF IT DOES NOT HAPPEN, BOTH TEAMS WILL HAVE TO PLAY THE WHOLE GAME. MICHIGAN STATE WILL TURN TO ITS ALL-STAR RUNNING BACK, LORENZO WHITE, AND ITS SPEEDY QUARTERBACK, BOBBY McALLISTER, BOTH OF WHOM GOT MORE SLEEP BEFORE MIDNIGHT LAST NIGHT THAN YOU GOT THIS MORNING. THANK GOD.

MEANWHILE, USC WILL RELY ON ITS STAR QUARTERBACK, RODNEY PEETE, WHO IS A COUSIN OF CALVIN PEETE, THE GOLFER. YOU’VE HEARD OF CALVIN PEETE, HAVEN’T YOU? HELLO? WAKE UP! WAKE UP! FIRE! FIRE!

Just testing. Follow the arrows . . .

Hey. Look. We’re in normal-sized letters again. Obviously you’re back to 100 percent. So let’s get to our Rose Bowl prediction, based on a hard-core analysis of the game: Michigan State will employ a flank zone, strong-side linebacker shift comparable to the . . .

. . . and so, you see, that’s how they’ll win. OH! WELCOME BACK! YOU PASSED OUT FOR A FEW MOMENTS THERE. LISTEN. HERE’S AN IDEA. SEE THESE ARROWS?

—- —- —- FOLLOW THEM. THEY WILL TAKE YOU TO THE MEDICINE CABINET, WHERE YOU SHOULD CHEW ON ONE OF EVERYTHING.

Feeling better? Good. I see you’re even trying to get dressed now. Excellent. By the time kickoff comes around, you’ll be all set, armed with knowledge, a depth chart and four ice bags. Just remember, Michigan State wears green.

And there you have it. By Monday morning, you should be just fine and back to work. Nobody will even know how ridiculous you look at this moment, with that sock on your head. You can smile, put on real clothes and resume a normal life.

Unless the boss asks you to do “My Girl.”

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