Memo to Editors: New Brainstorm has arrived. Better than last brainstorm about sending sneaker phone (phone shaped like a sneaker, not sneaker shaped like a phone) to new subscribers. Better than brainstorm about featuring photos of women in swimsuits in one issue per year to help cure winter blahs. Suggest putting Chicago Bears defensive tackle William (the Refrigerator) Perry on next week's cover. Naked.
Perry cover could be greatest seller of all time. Have seen interest in picture of actress Demi Moore, naked and pregnant, on cover of Vanity Fair. Think Perry would be bigger than Moore. Much bigger. Perry reported to Bears training camp at 370 pounds. Was blasted by coach Mike Ditka for being overweight. Controversy established. Cover would take advantage. Great free publicity.
"What do you think about Fridge on cover?" national media would ask Ditka.
July 28, 1991
"What do you mean by that?" Ditka would snarl.
"Is it art? Is it journalism? Is it detrimental to professional football?"
"It's %&(@¬¨¬®¬¨¢*%!" Ditka would snarl.
Television sportscasts already show shots of Perry sweating and groaning through workouts in 90° heat, then switch to close-ups of Ditka wondering aloud how any man could permit himself to fall so far out of shape. Sportscasts switch back to shots of Perry huffing and puffing through wind sprints, then back to Ditka, who is asking where Perry has been, eating all this food. Funny stuff. Funnier even than traditional shot of two outfielders and one infielder suffering separated shoulders and multiple lacerations as pop fly bounces on ground beside them. Cover would take advantage.
"Would you pose for the cover naked?" national media would ask Ditka.
"What kind of question is that?" Ditka would ask.
"An honest question."
"A stupid &@¬¨¬®¬¨¢*%@#* question!"
Perry would be turned sideways in picture, much as Moore is in her picture. Position of hands would cover possible lawsuits. Picture would show massive body, meant for playing football. No argument here about steroids or human growth hormones being ingested or injected or obtained from the personal physician to the stars of big-time wrestling. This would be a natural body, built by doughnuts and pork chops and a generous second helping of genetics. No health-club torture machines, with their springs and levers and pressure gauges. No basement barbells. A natural body.
Story inside would chronicle Perry's career since he joined the Bears in 1985 as a 6'2", 318-pound, first-round draft choice from Clemson. Has there ever been a defensive lineman who became as popular as fast as he did? Mass without malevolence. A teddy bear. Pictures would show Perry wrapping up quarterbacks, squashing opposing ballcarriers, scoring a touchdown, selling any number of products. He would be portrayed as the big kid from the third house down the block, the kid whose mom baked those good pies. When did football become so complicated? Pick the biggest kid in the neighborhood. Put him at the center of the line. Let him take care of business.
Colorful graph would show rise in weight over the years. Comments from former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan would be highlighted. Frustration of Ditka would also be highlighted. Special box would reveal Perry's special recipe for gumbo.
"Are you going to eat any of that gumbo?" national media would ask Ditka.
"What gumbo?" Ditka would growl.
"I hate *@%&#* gumbo!"
Cover would stir action everywhere. Fundamentalists would ask, "Where will it all end?" Feminists would say, "It's about time." Physicist from renowned institution of higher learning would say Perry could become "most fearsome player in grid history" if he reaches 400 pounds. Opposing physicist from opposing institution of higher learning would say Perry "will fall down and not be able to get up" if weight hits 400 pounds. Agents for Perry would report "more than 253 proposals of marriage." Tailor from Chicago would offer free suits. Rap singer would record rap about Perry and cover. The movies would be interested.
Ditka and Perry would take act to banquets and talk shows. Ditka would tell Oprah that weight, "as you know," can be difficult to control. Perry would tell Oprah the recipe for gumbo. Arsenio would go into three-point stance against Perry. Perry would drive Arsenio across stage and into band. Picture from cover would be reproduced on posters and T-shirts. Posters would be hung on walls of dorm rooms everywhere. Ditka would wear T-shirt.
"Does this mean the controversy is finished?" the nation's media would ask.
"Why do you ask that?" Ditka would sputter.
"Because you're wearing Fridge's T-shirt."
"I'm wearing the %&(@*&$ T-shirt so he can remember what he looked like," Ditka would snap, "because I'm going to get him down to 320 *%&(@¬¨¬®¬¨¢*# pounds!"