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 ( Allie Sherman).
Dr. Jack, Medicine Woman. Dispensing curatives and coaching wisdom, a frontier medic ( Dr. Jack Ramsay, in drag) delights 19th-century Kansans.
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 pool-boy 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 r�sum� 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 past: 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 guilty one.
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: