"Well, I certainly appreciate it. I wonder, Mr. Rooney, could I stay a day to see what happens on the waiver list?"
"No, Booth, I'm sorry. It's a policy. You have to be out right away."
Later I stood on a hill watching the team work out. I had my bags in my hands and a jacket over my shoulder. From one hour to the next I had become an outsider. I could see Mingo down there, satisfied in the knowledge that he had beaten out the competition. I could not help but envy him.
I was revived by the time I got to Miami. I was back on the phone in no time. And it was worse than ever.
I called Norm Van Brocklin in Atlanta and was rattling on when I heard him say, "All right, come on up." I kept on arguing. I must have gone on another minute before I realized he'd said yes. Unfortunately, when I performed in the flesh he wasn't impressed.
I spent $180 in wires and phone calls to become a Green Bay Packer. When I finally signed, the Milwaukee papers asked Phil Bengtson if Lusteg had gotten in touch with him. Bengtson said, "Yes, about once a week."
Actually, it was a one-line letter that did the trick—a letter from Green Bay thanking me for contacting them and saying they would call in the future—maybe. I immediately called Pat Peppier, the director of player personnel, to thank him for the letter (hoping, of course, to get in a few words edgeways). I told Peppier I hadn't exaggerated in my telegram, though I had bragged a lot. He said, "Hang on a minute, Booth, Coach Phil's in the next room."
I hung on for five minutes, person-to-person, long distance. The family nest egg was flying out the window. Finally Peppier came back on.
"I just talked with Coach Phil. How long would it take you to get ready to come up here?"
"About three minutes."