PASADENA — GOOD MORNING. HOW ARE YOU FEELING? TERRIBLE? THAT’S OK. IT’S NEW YEAR’S MORNING. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO FEEL TER– YOO, HOO! OVER HERE! LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE PAGE! TRY TO KEEP YOUR EYES FOCUSED, OK?
I AM DOING ALL I CAN TO MAKE THIS EASY FOR YOU, WHICH IS WHY I AM WRITING IN NICE BIG LETTERS, JUST LIKE I DID LAST YEAR. DO YOU REMEMBER LAST YEAR? HA! YOU DON’T EVEN REMEMBER LAST NIGHT. OTHERWISE, YOU WOULD NOT BE DRESSED IN THAT GORILLA SUIT.
QUICK! WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
SORRY. DIDN’T MEAN TO THROW YOU.
DON’T BE EMBARRASSED. EVERYONE FEELS THE WAY YOU DO THIS MORNING. THEY MAY NOT ALL LOOK AS BAD AS YOU, BUT THEY– YOO, HOO! OVER HERE! LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE PAGE!
FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS.
I’M SORRY TO DISTURB YOUR SLEEP, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LOOKED SO COMFORTABLE ON THAT POOL TABLE. BUT I AM ON A MISSION. MY MISSION IS . . . UH . . . MY MISSION IS . . . TO . . . UH . . .
WIPE THAT BEAN DIP OFF YOUR NOSE.
THANK YOU. NOW. MY MISSION IS TO GET YOU UPRIGHT AND RESEMBLING HUMAN FORM IN TIME FOR THE ROSE BOWL TODAY BETWEEN MICHIGAN AND ARIZONA STATE. IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT GAME BETWEEN THE NO. 4 AND NO. 7 TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY. AND, BESIDES, IF YOU ARE A MICHIGAN FAN, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WATCH YOUR TEAM WIN AND CELEBRATE BY DRINKING LAST NIGHT’S LEFTOVERS AND GETTING BACK IN THAT GORILLA SUIT AND —
I AM TALKING TOO LOUD?
SURPRISE! NEWSPAPERS CAN’T TALK.
YOU’RE IN BAD SHAPE, AREN’T YOU?
Now do exactly as I say
ALL RIGHT. LISTEN CAREFULLY. THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE GAME BY 5 O’CLOCK THIS AFTERNOON.
FIRST OF ALL, FIGURE OUT WHOSE HOUSE YOU ARE IN.
SECOND, MAKE SURE THAT HOUSE IS IN YOUR HOME STATE.
QUICK! WHAT IS YOUR HOME STATE?
AND GET OUT OF THAT GORILLA SUIT.
NOW THEN. HAVING DETERMINED YOU ARE AT LEAST WITHIN 50 MILES OF HOME, WE CAN CONCENTRATE ON YOUR PHYSICAL AILMENTS. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET RID OF THE HANGOVER AND THE HEADACHE AND THE FEELING THAT A SMALL BUSH IS GROWING INSIDE YOUR STOMACH, DO EXACTLY WHAT I SAY:
CRAWL OFF THE POOL TABLE. PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. GO TO THE KITCHEN, FIND SOME ASPIRIN, SOME TOMATO JUICE AND SOME WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. GOT IT? GOOD. NOW FEED THAT STUFF TO THE DOG, THEN CRAWL BACK ONTO THE POOL TABLE AND GO BACK TO SLEEP.
WITH ANY LUCK, YOU’LL WAKE UP BY 5 O’CLOCK AND YOU MAY EVEN REMEMBER WHERE YOU LEFT YOUR PANTS. Try to maximize your focus
AS FOR THE GAME ITSELF, YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHICH TEAM WILL — AS THEY SAY HERE IN CALIFORNIA — MAXIMIZE ITS DYNAMIC GROWTH POTENTIAL. OR, AS WE SAY BACK HOME, WIN.
YOU MAY BE SAYING, “GOSH, WHAT IF MICHIGAN LOSES, AND I HAVE TO GO TO WORK TOMORROW WITH THAT ON MY MIND AND BEAN DIP ON MY NOSE?”
I AM HERE TO TELL YOU NOT to worry, that Michigan will win, mostly because the Wolverines are a tighter team with a more potent offense, but also because Arizona State did not have any curfews until Tuesday night, which gave the players five full days to bury themselves in the California life-style. Therefore, I expect them to show up wearing sunglasses and mood rings and waving contracts for two points on the gross if the film is a hit.
Besides, I have asked at least 100 people in the last four days, and not one of them knows what a “Sun Devil” is, including people from Arizona.
How can a team play without an identity?
This alone should prove that Arizona State is a team in trouble, a team overmatched against Michigan, a team, shall we say, not in focus?
Speaking of focus, did you notice how the letters suddenly got smaller?
Congratulations. You’re feeling better. You’re all set for the game.
And after the game, you can get to bed early, because tomorrow is a working day, just like the next 51 weeks of the year, and . . .
And . . .
OK. Come out from under that pool table.