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Monday, 15 September
Easy Like Sunday Afternoon

Much to my glee--and my wife's despair--NFL is back, which means my Sundays are suddenly lush oases in the deserts of my weeks. I really try to make the most of them. Yesterday was no exception.

Promptly at 10:00, the bedclothes suddenly erupted as a form sprang from the mattress, ready and eager to get started with the day. It was, of course, the wife; I hunched deeper into the blankets and clawed at the pillows. I eagerly went back to my fascinating dream about consumer electronics while the ludicrously insomniac wife went into the living room to watch Kieslowski's Red while doing some gentle yoga. Really. The TV sneered about it later to me privately. "You know what your fucking woman had me doing earlier?" "What?" I said. "She made me play a foreign-language film!" it fumed. "But there was football on!" I cried in outrage. "I know," replied the TV, "it really pissed me off. We'll see how she likes it on Wednesday. I'm gonna make everyone on The West Wing look like angry gophers." "That's not such a stretch," I told the fulminating appliance. "Look, must you piss on everything I do?" I let it drop.

Anyway. I snapped on the game, and there it was, a Circus Maximus with Gatorade: the mighty Seattle Seahawks versus the tremendous Arizona Cardinals. I whooped with glee. "This is going to be a terrible game!" I cried. "It's like wheelchair tennis!" (For those not in the know, these two teams consistently rank . . . well, let's just say that they're consistently rank.) Even the sportscasters seemed depressed about the hopeless spectacle about to unravel in front of them; they squawked torpidly about the incredible heat--it was topping 105 in Arizona--and lamely tried to generate enthusiasm about these two teams that nobody cares about. "Arizona is trying to build a team around some of these youngsters!" said one of the goons. Translation: they lost or frantically sold all their good players (again), and are now working with a fresh batch of untested nobodies. Then they sat silently for a while, inwardly groaning over this terrible assignment they'd drawn. It must have been clear to these men how low in the pecking order they were to be sent to this blasted, heat-whipped terrain; it would be like getting hired by the Washington Post and then getting sent to cover plankton harvesting in Banff. Horribly, I recognized one of the poor bastards; so did the wife, in a rare moment of non-screen-avoidance: "Isn't that the guy from BattleBots?" Yes, it was.

And Arizona could have used some murderous robots yesterday, it's true; adopting an overtly supine position almost immediately, Arizona's geisha-like play allowed the Seahawks to gracelessly back-walk them into paralysis: Seattle scored more or less at will, particularly the defense, which was for the best, because Hawks QB Matt Hasselbeck can frequently be seen wildly throwing the football at anything, anything not resembling a receiver. At one point, an airplane flew over the stadium, and Matt launched a mighty pass skyward, where it described a lonely parabola before impacting on a hot dog vendor, who was ironically just then treating Shaun Alexander to a foot-long. The referees ruled it a touchdown, and the Cardinals dully accepted the bad call, and then prepared some iced tea for the exhausted Seattle players. Seahawks head coach and Emperor of the Galaxy complained about the lack of sugar and demanded some cucumber sandwiches, which were hurriedly delivered.

As halftime loomed, and the broadcast readied itself to blast me with highlights of other games with actual action and genuine fan bases, I prepared a Bloody Mary, a Sunday ritual. It's going to be a lazy afternoon, I thought lazily. I couldn't have been more wrong.

There was a staccato rap at the door, and I curiously went to open it. I was immediately confronted by a ravaged face under a boater's hat, and a long cigarette holder dangled vertiginously from a tight mouth. The thing spoke. "You have to let me in," it rasped, "the bastards are hot on my tail. I tried to appease them with promises of swaybacked, broken hookers, but the swine won't see reason. They're coming after me with hooks."

I casually opened the door wide. "Want a Bloody Mary?" Because it seemed like a good way to pacify the good Doctor.

"Christ, yes," he moaned, walking into the room in a flood of smoke. "I left the tequila in the limo. The ape can have it." He dropped a dirty duffelbag on the ground as I poured the drink.

"The ape?" I asked.

"Research," he growled, "I can't talk about it. Let's just say that the backfuckers at RAND Corporation are getting a large bill. Shit-eating bats!"

"Ah." We sat for a moment, greedily sucking down our drinks, a potent mixture of my own devising. He seemed to relish it.

"Nutrients," he croaked, holding his glass up to the light. He tapped it with a long forefinger. "Black pepper and garlic! Good for the gums. What are we watching?" He craned around to the television.

"Seattle at Arizona," I said glumly.

"What!" he screamed furiously. "Avian skags fighting for lunch money! This is not a football game!" His eyes popped angrily. "Vegas won't even take money on this game, and I know, because I bet on all of them! When I tried to bet on this wretched fuckaround, the guy laughed and told me there was more action in curling."

He lurched at his duffelbag and extracted a damp-looking rag, which he began gnawing on fitfully. He glanced at the screen and noticed Matt Hasselbeck throwing the football at some cheerleaders. "Hopeless," he grunted between bites of the rag, "Not even human. Just some shaved thing they found in Kuala Lampur. I have the documents. At night he sucks Holmgren's toes and eats spiders. You want some of this?" He suddenly held out the rag to me.

"What is it?" I stared at the sodden thing, which smelled of smoke and chemicals.

"Ovine Growth Hormone," he cackled. "Sandoz Labs gives me samples for the ranch."

"Isn't this for sheep?" I said.

"Never mind that. This is medicine! There's no other way we can watch this terrible game," he explained earnestly. "It'll jelly your spine. You'd better pour another Bloody Mary, too."

I shrugged. Who was I to say no? "As long as you think it's okay."

He smiled. "Fuck, son, don't worry about a thing. I'm a Doctor."

[Editor's note: It is, of course, the stupidest thing imaginable to try and emulate the voice of someone who is, it has been amply demonstrated before, totally singular. And I have, of course, failed as well. However, as this scenario has been an old fantasy of mine, I indulged it. Take it as you will. Oh, and to the Doctor, as always,res ipsa loquitur.]


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Comments

Ah, but I suspected from the words "boaters hat" who it was knocking at your door; and after that there was no room for doubt. In addition to being unwise to try to imitate, that singular voice seeps into a person's psyche; you read enough of it and it's hard NOT to ape it. Or maybe it's only those of us who strain to fight off the pressure to conform from all these ratfuckers hiding in our bushes, waiting for our guard to drop for just a second so they can pounce.

Comment number: 003602   Posted by: i on September 16, 2003 05:29 AM from IP: 64.8.202.186

Once he was gnawing on the rag, I thought maybe it was Tarkanian. Then I just crawled back into my corner of confustion. I need to watch more sports.
Although I did watch the UNLV football game last weekend and I actually cackled out loud. Good times.

Comment number: 003603   Posted by: dayment on September 16, 2003 10:14 AM from IP: 12.228.171.123

Henry Blake from M.A.S.H?
I read this site all the time, but I'm way off on this one. Who the heck are we talkin about?

JP

Comment number: 003604   Posted by: Jason on September 16, 2003 10:24 AM from IP: 206.16.5.38

Sorry. For the confused, it is supposedly the legendary Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalist. Johnny Depp played him in the film version of his most famous book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

Comment number: 003605   Posted by: Skot on September 16, 2003 11:09 AM from IP: 140.107.120.123

Ah, thank you. That crossed my mind, but then I thought perhaps it was Doctor Benway, or that crazy fucker from Barnes's "Nightwood". Damned idiosyncratic literary medical figures. Can't keep 'em straight.

Comment number: 003606   Posted by: Robin on September 16, 2003 11:45 AM from IP: 198.103.152.3

ha, I knew it! I'm so unfamiliar with it...I watched the movie once a few years ago, never read the book (there is a book, right?) and I absolutely knew it.

So you can't be that far off =)

Comment number: 003607   Posted by: lythea on September 16, 2003 04:57 PM from IP: 209.6.44.64

You swizzle-pated goon. Now I have to hunt you down. Do yo have any idea how much I hate to leave Colorado these days?

Comment number: 003608   Posted by: the Doctor on September 16, 2003 05:32 PM from IP: 216.173.212.237

Wait a minute. I was CERTAIN you were describing that adorable Michael J. Fox from Doc Hollywood. Y'know, that cute lil' trembly guy.

Comment number: 003609   Posted by: Joe on September 16, 2003 06:28 PM from IP: 165.247.47.62

The beauty of a smartypants like mr pfaff doing gonzospeak is this - we can't get enough of the damned hyenahowling enema-addled geniusistifical stuff out of the doctor himself, so this is one way of adding to our precious store of reptilespeak.


I am stunned that there be Americans - yer actual patriotic born there plundered that Americans - who don't know of Hunter S Thompson.


If there is an afterlife for nations - go right past the Third Reich and the Roman Triumvirate and put up the tent. Ignore the confederacy and piss on Babylon.. - then your entire nation can redeem itself from the digusting lying embarrassment of your current leader with but one word in ear of God - Hunter. It'll do. A place that spawns a man like this still fans the fire of true resistance.


God knows you need as much of him as you can get. And as for our own foaming hydraheaded horror shaming Australia at the bar of nations - clone Hunter now! chuck it in a cage with the tablets and the raw buffalo nuts and send it to us... we need him. we are bent supine face down over the sofa waiting for... for... give us Hunter now!!!


After all, coherence is not everything. there is a place for howling in the night.

Comment number: 003610   Posted by: david on September 17, 2003 03:42 AM from IP: 202.137.72.26

your wife probably needs lots and lots of yoga -
(wink)

Comment number: 003611   Posted by: heather on September 17, 2003 11:07 AM from IP: 63.227.131.182

it looks as if my particular antipodean take on hunter s. stopped the conversation stone dead, except for a botanist with an economical sense of humour which puts my rant right in its place.

go fellow pfaffites! (a little known tribe of ironists who fought the romans in the Jordan Valley around 400BC. known for their terrifying laughter which echoed for centuries of stadia down the wadis, they apparently migrated away in disgust and disappeared from history. however, more radical historians point to certain crude drawings at a little known site called Teleilat Cincinnatti. here they have found shoebox sized blue rectangles apparently drawn with an accurate sense of perspective. nearby is a squad of triangular creatures. from the top of each protrudes a stick with a disk mounted on the end. ...)

Comment number: 003612   Posted by: david on September 20, 2003 07:32 PM from IP: 202.137.86.62

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