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The television in John Canepa's modest living room sheds its silver-blue light on Canepa, who's ensconced on a sofa reading one of those magazine sweepstakes offers: URGENT: JOHN CANEPA, DON'T FORFEIT THIS TEN MILLION DOLLAR FORTUNE!.. SOMEONE JUST LIKE YOU THREW AWAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
"It wasn't me," insists Mike Aulby as he reads over his father-in-law's shoulder. Aulby doesn't throw away millions. In fact, his throwing ability has earned him thousands. Besides, Aulby says he moves around too much on the pro bowling tour to get mail from Ed McMahon.
As the 1986 PBA tour opened last week in Union City, Calif., Aulby was ready to improve on his performance in 1985, when he won six tournaments and $201,200, the biggest take-home pot in bowling history. And he got off to a respectable start with a ninth-place finish worth $3,200.
IN YOUR HANDS THIS VERY MINUTE MAY BE THE WINNING NUMBER THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER.
This very minute Aulby doesn't need any winning numbers. He puts all his on the overhead telescore. His average in '85 was 213.17, half a pin behind Mark Baker, who led the circuit. At 25, Aulby is the most lethal lefthander since Earl Anthony, who won more PBA events than anyone. "Mike's potential is unlimited," says the now retired Anthony. With praise like that, who needs Ed McMahon?
"Mike's got so much talent, it's sickening," says Dave Davis, an 18-time PBA champ. "And I don't mean that negatively. He's a very nice kid from a good family background."
Aulby's an unthreatening sort: shy, easygoing.... "Friendly," suggests Canepa, who runs the Saratoga ( Calif.) Lanes. "That's the word, friendly." Even Aulby's mother-in-law thinks so. "The first time I saw him," says Polly Canepa, "I thought, 'What a nice personality!' "
"What did you think of him when we stayed out on our first date until 4 a.m.?" asks her daughter, Tami, who has been married to Aulby for 2� years.
"Well," answers Polly. "I guess there's such a thing as being too friendly."
Peering out from behind rimless aviator glasses, Aulby offers a wry half-smile with a kind of frank diffidence. His hair is swept back and obedient, and there's a furry red clump over his upper lip that may be a mustache. He's got piecrust coloring and apple-pie virtues.