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"Listen here, you snotty little mother------ I don't know why you're asking for no mother------ last name but I'm not going to give it to you okay." 

"That's fine," I say, holding the phone six inches from my ear to avoid both his voice and the possibility that his spittle may be transferable across the wire.  


A few seconds of peace before the phone rings again.  

"Did you just hang up on me?" asks The Dolt, not even polite enough to say hello. 

"As a matter of fact I did, thank you.  So . . . hello!"  

"Listen here you ----" 


"Whoever said jobbing couldn't be fun," I say to The America before the phone rings a third time. 


"Okay, okay, you just wait there.  I'll be seeing you you ----.  This is the order.  For John Favor.  Three Crossroads, two Trailer Parks, a Green Chili Pork and a Queso and Chips, full order.  Gluten free.  You got that?" 

"Corn or flour?" I ask, but he evidently wishes to take his own turn with the cancel call button.  So, having no recourse, I put in the order, six tacos and a queso, providing with each taco the necessary clarification:  flour.  

Thus am I in the ninth infernal circle of jobbing when I receive the following text from The Ryann Zeller, Fearless Leader:  "Big 12 Rising Rivalry:  Texas Tech vs. TCU? . . . With Sonny Dykes taking over at TCU, a new rivalry could be growing between the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders . . ."  

"What's up with that?" I ask.  

Whereupon Fearless Leader provides a link, article attached, authored by some lucky fellow named "Big Steaming Pile," whom I like already.  Not many folks know themselves with such Socratic honesty, much less admit to it in public.  The piece in question:  "Inside TCU's football ticket policy that ignited an online spat with Texas Tech."  

"Welp, looks like I'm going to have to go talk some crap on Twitter."  

"What about?" says The America. 

"Not sure.  Does anyone ever know what they're talking about on Twitter?"  

"Why are you on Twitter?" 

"To appease my bosses and impress a girl." 

"What girl?" 

"Anita's her name.  The Anita Chianti.  She's an attorney.  An Italian attorney at that.  She swears by Twitter and I dare not protest, though I admittedly am more inclined to sweat at it."  

I peruse the article quickly and make nothing of it, but I do get the whiff of a general gist:  a couple representatives of TCU made some comments Red Raiders fans everywhere were inclined to take slight umbrage with--by having a total Twitter meltdown, guns blazing.  What matters, naturally, is that the TCU fans are right, and if there is to be a rivalry against Texas Tech, may the Raiders live miserably ever after, bullets blank--and I say that with all due love to Alex Kruz.  

"So what are you reading?" asks the America. 

"You read it.  Maybe you can explain it to me."  

Five minutes later she hands the phone back to me.

"I don't know anything about sports."  

"One of your most admirable characteristics."   

"But it looks like this guy, Jeremiah DoNatty?"  


"Donaughty wants Tech fans to buy three tickets to TCU games in order to see one."  

"I don't understand." 

"In order to see Tech play at TCU's stadium one time, they have to buy tickets to two other games."  

"Let me ask you . . . what do the TCU fans think of it?" 

"Well, the Tech fans don't seem to like it." 

"Then it is indubitably a decision of veritable genius."  

"I don't understand the rest." 

"Just read it from the beginning."

"'In one more example of what makes college athletics as enjoyable as a turkey slice slabbed atop a chocolate sundae . . .'"


"'Tech fans are unhappy about having to purchase three tickets to TCU football games to attend one . . . Can't fault em for being upset about it.'"    

"What's this crap!" I shout, and the America continues. "Jeremiah Donati says 'It's my job to protect home field and home court.'"  

"You tell em, Donati!  Stand up for your team! Perhaps the Startle-gram could take a lesson rather than siding with the Raiders over Fort Worth's own!"  

She continues, to the end:  " . . . 'Texas Tech versus the TCU ticket counter is fun, which explains why we can't quit this sport.'" 

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"That's it?" 

"That's it."  

"Would seem to contradict the turkey sundae a bit, don't you think?" 

"I didn't write it." 

"If only you had.  Maybe I could understand it.  Who did?" 

"His name's Big Steaming Pile." 

"That tracks.  But what does he do?"  

"Well, he says he combines a dry wit . . ." 

"It's certainly dry." 

". . . with a head of hair that's almost unfair."  

"Dry as dandruff," I say and send The Barry Lewis a telephone communication. 

"Yo Lewis!  I can't understand a damn thing in this piece!  Send me another.  Preferably one by someone living in Fort Worth who knows whose side they're supposed to be on!"  

Shortly thereafter, the dear man obliges my request with added commentary:  "Basically, Tech spent decades as the bullied younger brother of UT and now UT is leaving they want to be the big brother bullying someone else." 




"Can't blame em for trying.  Last basketball season they bought enough tickets to cover three-quarters of the Erwin Events Center.  Donati wants to prevent them doing that.  And if they try, they're going to have to pay the bill to do it.  Which they don't like.  So they're trolling us."  

"When you live in the desert out there, you have nothing better to do.  Believe me, I should know.  I'm from Midland!" 

"Read the other article to your heart's content."  

And I do.  A fine piece from "FrogsoWar" with the added benefit of being clear, and by an author, Anthony North, who knows what side to take in an altercation between TCU's fanbase and . . . anyone else.  

It begins beautifully:  "Explain it like I'm 5 and 1.  That's TCU's win-loss record vs. Texas Tech in the big 3 sports for the 2021--22 athletic season and Tech fans are down bad."  

"I love it," I say.  And continue.  And this time, interestingly enough, I somewhat understand some of it.  

Long story short:  Donati made the decision to sell tickets to the TCU/Tech game at Amon Carter on November 5th as a package, by which Tech fans everywhere receive the munificent benefit of being able to see two more TCU home games if they so please (and, as all of us save the Startlegram know, they should).  Or they can simply scalp them for a profit.  But are they satisfied?  Of course not.  And living in Lubbock, who can blame them? 

Further, the price differential between tickets to the Tech games and the Carter is $34, one night's bar tab at Ye Olde Bull and Bush on Montgomery 76107 (please, no direct correspondence; all mail will be summarily returned), which to me does not sound like a big deal--in fact, a good one.  Who knows?  Maybe, living in Lubbock, the Raiders need to save on water.     

Either way, they tried to bully Donati into welcoming a Raid at the Amon Carter.  Needless to say, enjoying his professional position and not being of a suicidal bent, he was not inclined to do that.  So instead of folding when a pedant pointed out on Twitter that Tech sells single tickets rather than a package like that at TCU, Donati, like a boss, put him in his proper place:  "Quite aware, thanks.  Expect it for hoops tickets too."         

Presumably, that should have been the mic drop moment, except some dude named Bryan Carrington made the seemingly uncontroversial statement that, regarding NIL, athletes are going to be less inclined to try to build their brand in a desert.  Thus, Raiders fans everywhere, in their immense cleverness, decided to flood Donati and Carrington's office with cacti--which, I must say, serve as practical and elegant indoor decor around these parts.  

Author's Note: The Barry Lewis has advised "some dude" be amended with "TCU's Recruiting Coordinator," but for humorous purposes, we are leaving it as is with "some dude."

In short, TCU, and everyone associated with it, was absolutely in the right, and the cactus eaters were just as absolutely in the wrong.  

And that's the bottom line.  

I do not have much time to enjoy this revelation, however, as a clown approaches the cashier counter requesting to speak with the manager.  And though I've seen sadder faces than the one Ana wears as I tell her there is yet another customer with a complaint to file against yours truly, I've never beheld such a one in the service industry, ever, not even when, several jobs prior, a server found her boyfriend mid-coitus with one of the line cooks in the men's room.  

"That guy wanted to shoot you," Ana says after the clown has left, safe from my ire.  "What'd you say to him?" 



"Nothing.  I couldn't.  I hung up on him.  After that there was nothing to say.  Except hello when he inevitably called back."  

"Oh.  Well don't do that."  

"I'll just let you talk to them next time." 

"Don't do that either."  

"I'll give the phone to America."  

"Good idea."  


"I'm serious though.  That guy says he wanted to shoot you.  He says a few years back, he would have."  

I nod, quiet as a dead iphone.  


"This gentleman isn't from Lubbock, by chance, is he?"   

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