04 February 2006

So Complete Was My Outrage...

Seahawks tight end #86 Jerramy Stevens plucks a pass directly
from the hand of God. Posted by Picasa


I'm hazarding a guess that you haven't been following the hoopla (what little there is) surrounding Super Bowl XL. At least I'm pretty certain that you haven't TiVo'd everything with the word "Seahawk" in it, and then watched every single frame of it until you realized that you probably knew the players better than the team doctor by now. And then the words "obsession" and "professional help" crept into your mind. I'm guessing you haven't gone so far as all that.

So let me catch you up on this one little incident; indeed, the only incident of note that has bestirred the circus tent thus far. During press day this past Tuesday, Seahawks tight end #86 Jerramy Stevens made some remark about it being a sad day when Jerome Bettis (running back for the Steelers) went home without the Lombardi Trophy. Hijinx ensued. Steeler team psychopath-slash-loudmouth-slash-attention hound (and only incidentally outside linebacker #55) Joey Porter took a great deal of umbrage at this remark, and took it upon himself to swear hell and damnation against our Mr. Stevens. Since it was the only thing of note that had happened all week (save the fact that a hot dog had sold on eBay for $1,800), the sports press poured petrol on the whole thing, inserted a microphone into Mr. Porter, and recorded whatever rumblings his bile had to make.

Well I couldn't just sit there, could I? No no no. This was way too rich to pass up. So I crafted me a "letter" to Mr. Porter, I did, which - owing to the fact that I don't have his home address - I posted on the Seahawks fan site in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (More surprising still was that a fan caught and understood the reference that I made to poet Theodore Roethke in the first paragraph. Man, Seattle must be well read!) Thought you'd enjoy reading it.

So here you go. Enjoy. Go Hawks!

Dear Jughead: Mister Webster called. He wants you to
stop misusing the words "wee", "dun", "axed", "foe" and

Mr. Joseph Porter
Motel 6 - Room 39
1471 Opdyke Rd
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Dear Mr. Porter:

Allow me to get straight to the point:

So complete was my outrage upon hearing your untoward remarks about our Mr. Stevens that I nearly spilled my grande soy chai latte on my careworn copy of Theodore Roethke’s Words for the Wind. Such wroth invective will not be tolerated, sir. I am compelled herewith to defend the honor of our Mr. Stevens just as you felt it fit to defend the perceived social infraction against your team-mate, Mr. Jerome “The Auto-Bus” Bettis. Consider your challenge accepted, sir. And to you I say, en garde!

Let me be the first to say that you could have done much better with your epithets. For instance, you could have called Mr. Stevens a scalawag, jackanapes, or a ne’er-do-well (in order to prick at the tender point of his past legal imbroglios). To your discredit, you did not. You may have called him a rube, mountebank, cheese-peddler; or even a louche guttersnipe, doomed to scrofulae and all the trimmings of such an insalubrious estate - were you possessed of the brain-power to do so!

Indeed, I went there. Indeed I did. How are you enjoying my company now, Mr. Porter?

I understand that you intend to have a chat with Mr. Stevens during the warmups, and also that you intend to “put him on his back”. Let me ask you, at that time will you query him sweetly and discretely on his propensity for camping, fishing, marksmanship, and other skills of the Western chevalier? Let me put this to you as gently as I can, Mr. Porter. Don’t believe everything you see at the movies. Mr. Stevens is a married man, and does not ride sidesaddle, even when coaxed into places as idyllic as most national parks. Should you broach the Subject That Dare Not Speak Its Name with Mr. Stevens, prepare to be gravely disappointed.

Again – I went there. Mmm hmmm. Indeed. Indeed I did. And I arrived. Oh yes. Mais oui.

And finally, it must be said without reservation that your kicker is fat. In fact, so corpulent are his thighs, that the thunderous din of the galling spandex caught betwixt them will lead all Detroit residents to believe that they are attending a Grandmaster Flash concert whenever he takes the field. And his kicks? They shall all go wide - not unlike his thighs!

Touché, Mr. Porter. Point? Mine.

And to you I say good day, sir.

Thaddeus Gunn
Seattle, Washington

POST SCRIPT – To the person who reads this letter to Mr. Porter: Please ad lib your delivery with much gyrating of the neck, flaring of the nostrils, widening of the eyes, and articulated finger-snapping in a “z” pattern, if at all possible. Otherwise the impact – indeed the entire tenor of the piece – will be lost. Thank you so much. -TRG

31 January 2006

Benchin' For The Buddha


You're not gonna believe this. Back in October, when I started working out in earnest, I could only bench 80 pounds and do 14 push-ups. Check it out: I bench pressed 225 pounds this morning. That's three reps on a ten-Mississippi count, too.

No, I do not lie. And get that disbelieving smirk off your face. I crap you not. It was me. I benched two hunnert and a quarter. That's, like, thirteen stone, five ounces, six quid and tuppence. That's fifteen pounds more than I weigh. And if you want an idea of how slow my reps were, count to 10 Mississippi up and 10 Mississippi back while pretending to bench. Yeah, like tai chi slow.

"But Thaddeus," you sputter in disbelief, "you've always been a weenie-arm of the smallest magnitude. You even got knocked out by a girl once. And not even a very big girl. Plus, you represent the most effete of all God's creatures: The Middle-Aged Man. How did someone of your extreme weinertasticity develop such Herculean strength?" Short answer: the dharma.

Okay, so, you ever seen those guys who do feats of strength for Jesus? They bust baseball bats over their necks and break bricks and blow up douchebags like party balloons and all sorts of other meathead stunts to show people how ossum it is to be Christian? Okay, so, you've gotta be pretty well aware that I'm not a Christian. Twenty or so years of being a Christian pretty much cured me of Christianity. But I was reading an article in Shambhala Sun a while back about Buddhist athletes that really fascinated me. What was particulary fascinating was an interview with Jet Li. To say that Li is an accomplished martial artist would be putting it lightly. He's been studying Wu Shu since he was eight. He's also a hardcore Buddhist. And he's kicked enough ass to fill Wisner Stadium. So when they asked him if meditating improved his martial abilities, he told them that it was 't'other way 'round. He said he became an expert martial artist so he could meditate better. I don't know if you'd call that Kicking Ass for Inner Peace, but it was an interesting idea.

So then I was thinking, hey, what if I turned my workout into a meditation? Couldn't hurt. And it'd probably save me some time, 'cuz gawd knows that what ya really wanna do is hurry that meditation stuff up and get it the hell overwith. (I told you I was a bad Buddhist!) So what I did was to slow my movements waaaay down, tai chi-style, and to focus on my breath instead of the effort of moving the weight. I also decided to not get emotionally involved with the weight any more than I get involved with my thoughts when I meditate - just observe what is happening. And guess what? Boo yah, I'm Hercules.

Granted, part of what made my arms so weak was the fact that I had loose rotator cuffs. Both of my shoulders have been dislocated a number of times during the past thirty or so years. I did a whole lotta work to get those bad boys put back together, and I'm sure that helped a lot. But still, the meditation trick - pretty cool, huh?

Now for my next feat of strength, I'm going to go bench the Internet.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.