BOB: So you never liked sports?
WALTER: Not really.
BOB: How is that possible? Born without the sports gene? Like maybe a sociopath without empathy for your fellow man?
WALTER: Or like Galileo. Or Einstein. Or Gandhi. Or John Lennon. Or Bono. The Earth isn’t flat, Costus. Hercules isn’t holding it up.
BOB: Excuse me?
WALTER: How can I, if you won’t excuse me?
BOB: I’m sorry. I don’t understand. What are you saying?
WALTER: Could you understand, being born without the logic gene? I’m saying you won’t leave people alone, free from your tyranny. By you, of course, I mean other commentators too, like Dan Patrick. . .along with sporting news and billboards and being forced to listen to endless monotonous scores on buses and airports and in break rooms nationwide. Change the channel and one could get a Coke can bounced off his head. Or a Pepsi can. The rivalry between those two is fake, by the way. They both play games with our health while they sew the American flag into jerseys and jock straps.
BOB (laughing): You’re amusing. . . and quaint!
WALTER: Oh really? Show me your underwear.
BOB: Where’s the logic in dismissing what’s given so many people so much pleasure?
WALTER: Cocaine is pleasurable too. While it eliminates everything else that could give you pleasure in the same way. With so few off hours in the day, that is.
BOB: Ever heard the phrase “moderation in all things?”
WALTER: Ever heard the phrase “all sports all the time?” Sports Center jocks on ESPN don’t have time for Masterpiece Theatre. Or for smelling the roses. They’re too busy calculating the rushing yardage of rookie quarterbacks, or watching Ultimate Cage Fighters do their Attila the Hun imitations, or kicking wifee’s poodle after their team loses in the playoffs.
BOB: That’s unfair. Sports is about the human spirit. Excellence. Achieving more in life!
WALTER: Another diamond choker for your pit bull, maybe. More diabetes for most others, while racking up more billions in deficits watching games on company time. Try looking at the masses on the boob tube side of your lens. Or doesn’t the number of unemployed asses and assettes register on your scoreboard like your overpaid players do?
BOB: Who says players are overpaid? Top athletes are the best in their field, and a lot more healthy and fit than you, I might add!
WALTER: It’s amusing and quaint that you believe you can add, but you’re tabulating the wrong ledger. Your logic doesn’t compute, either. Because even I’m more productive than they are.
BOB (after a long interval of hysterical laughter): How do you figure that?
WALTER: Well, I don’t inspire people to believe we can win unwinnable wars by throwing thousands of patriots and trillions of dollars at them. There’s one item. Plus I’m not inspiring kids to become athletes, condemning the vast majority of them to jobs on the level of beer truck driver whenever they’re not watching sports on TV.
BOB: What’s wrong with driving a beer truck or drinking soda?
WALTER: I told you that you wouldn’t understand. Meanwhile, as a non-participant, I’m not adding to these losses.
BOB: What losses?
WALTER: While we compete on Astroturf the Chinese are making it. Along with thousands of other products. While we invest in stadiums and weapons systems to defend Korea, they build factories, and compete in school to produce more engineers at our expense.
BOB: Well, that’s. . .insane.
WALTER: I agree. As insane as painting one’s face to participate in a human wave at a ball game.
BOB: No, I mean your reasoning! Sports inspires people to be their best!
WALTER: In sports, you mean. Instead of science or math or–-
BOB: No! You don’t—
WALTER: Oh yes! And in the end, what chance do those kids have if they don’t win the sports gene lottery, and then never get up off the couch except to buy Powerball tickets, pork rinds, and copies of Sports Illustrated? Maybe you and Dan think they should try to win America’s Got Talent instead? Juggle some flaming bowling pins?
BOB: The American people disagree with you, big time.
WALTER: Don’t I know it. Sad, though, don’t you think?
BOB: You’re sad, in my humble opinion.
WALTER: There’s nothing humble about your opinion. It’s all a ruse, too. To fool the public. To keep the slavish dream going while you and your banking buddies manipulate the strings behind the curtains.
BOB: You’re insane, as well.
WALTER: Keep saying that. Repeat it. Maybe I’ll believe it myself, right? Then you’ll let me go.
BOB: Sadly, we can never let you go. Not like this.
WALTER: Won’t you at least loosen these ropes? I’m not going to recant in front of you, your high priests of hyperbole, or the NFL and NBA Dioceses. If you go through with that face tattoo, I’ll just have it removed.
BOB: If you do, we’ll find you again. You can’t hide. You’re a marked man now, out of the closet.
WALTER: What’s in your closet. . . a gold statue of Joe Paterno? You’re costing us all, Costus. More than we know.
BOB (laughing): We? You think there’s more like you out there? No. They’ve all been neutered. (Motioning:) Dan?
WALTER: Wait! Okay. I confess. Anything but a Nike swish on my forehead. Even if it is upside down. Listen. Here’s what I’ll do. Penance by writing a novel about a guy who plays the Powerball and wins. Lots of action too. No wimpy crap. Kinda like Survivor, but where if you don’t beat the opposing team you’re shark food. I’ll even throw in some sports jargon, and celebs like Clooney and Lady Gaga. Make the main guy an ego case real estate mogul, just like those sports gods who hire agents to buy homes on Millionaire Listings. So it’ll be about defending your island man-cave and secret stash from the tax man with automatic weapons, schmoozing with the right people, and coming out of it with squeaky clean hands and a big greasy smile. How about that?
BOB: Sounds good. Just do it. Here’s a pen. When you finish we might even feed you some hot dogs and beer. Then we’ll bring in Sarah Palin and let her read it. . .before deciding what to do with you. I hear she just bought a new Salman knife.
WALTER: Speaking of which, mind if I call Sockeye Rushdie for advice first? I’m not in a rush to die, here. . .