Every week this magazine carries--at the bottom of the back
page, in fine print--an arcane postal code that governs every
aspect of periodical publishing and includes this little-read
proviso: Every January, all columnists must liquidate their
entire unused inventory of column ideas from the previous year.
So, in accordance with federal law, and to clear space on our
showroom floor for exciting new columns in 2002, I give you
excerpts from the columns that I didn't give you in 2001.
Because it's been done so many times, I never did write a mock
television schedule filled with entries such as these:
Rocker, Texas Ranger. A crazy white guy (John Rocker) and a
crazy black guy (Carl Everett) team up in Arlington to tape a
commercial for Planter's Mixed Nuts.
Nate & Allie. Wackiness pays the rent when a troubled left
tackle (Nate Newton) moves in with a no-nonsense football coach
Dr. Jack, Medicine Woman. Dispensing curatives and coaching
wisdom, a frontier medic (Dr. Jack Ramsay, in drag) delights
Likewise, we've all grown weary of that hackneyed Carnac device,
consisting of an answer ("Diaper Dandy") followed by a question
("What does no worker want to do at Don Meredith's retirement
home?"). So I prudently declined to write yet another wheezy
column of Carnacs, full of tiresome answers ("A box-and-one")
paired with ludicrous questions ("What does Rick Majerus order
every day at Krispy Kreme?").
There's a popular parlor game called Would You Rather, in which
participants are forced to make unfathomable choices. Thus:
Would You Rather...be a teammate of football's Barber twins or
poolboy to Playboy's Barbie twins? Would You Rather...watch an
undentured Bobby Clarke eat corn on the cob or an unshaven Dan
Fouts bob for corn chowder? Would You Rather...be Bobby Knight's
anger-management counselor or wrestler Goldberg's personal body
waxer? We'll never know the answers, as I never wrote the column.
George O'Leary, briefly football coach at Notre Dame before
resigning after inaccuracies in his resume were uncovered,
surely has suffered enough. That's why I declined to write this
column, on all the other astonishing lies still buried in his
Nov. 3, 1989: Told wife he'd have "just a sliver" of pie but
went on to have two full helpings.
July 2, 1997: Denied having been asleep when a telephone caller
asked him, "Did I wake you up?"
Dec. 11, 2001: Blamed it on the dog when in fact he was the
You didn't catch me using this lame premise (the standby of the
column-starved scribe) in 2001: "New Year's Resolutions" for
2002. Thank goodness, too, or you'd have had to suffer through
such shopworn entries as:
Allen Iverson: "Bust caps in all the hatas, win mad bling-bling
for all of Illadelph and finally learn to needlepoint."
Vince McMahon: "Forget XFL by founding Xcapades, a violent,
salacious, no-Salchows-barred version of the Ice Capades."
Larry Coker: "Continue to deny the irony of Miami's having a
football coach named Coker."
Dan Issel's abrupt resignation as coach of the Denver Nuggets
short-circuited this next column, an hourly accounting of
Issel's potential community service for calling a fan a "Mexican
1. Set up Port-A-Potties on parade routes on cuatro de Mayo.
2. Man the carnival dunk tank at all celebrations on cinco de
3. Sweep up mierda de burros on seis de Mayo.
A hoary convention of magazine journalism is the "What's Hot and
What's Not" list. I avoided writing one of those columns in
2001, though I did compile several possible items, just in
Hot: Temperatures at Houston Astros home games. Not:
Temperatures at Green Bay Packers home games. Hot: Scalding
coffee at Pac Bell Park. Not: Frozen yogurt at Shea Stadium.
Hot: Ben Gay. Not: Ice packs.
Now you see why I didn't write these columns. And you have my
pledge that I never will.