Today’s Off Asides column begins with me and Hazel the Research Assistant drinking hot coffee in the tea room.
“I’ve been listing my problems this morning and they far exceed Jay Z’s,” I say. “Besides, anyone married to Beyonce should subtract about 20 of his problems immediately. That means Jay Z only has 79 problems.”
“Maybe your problems don’t compare to Jay Z’s,” Hazel says. “What’s on your list?”
“You want me to name them all?”
“No, I’ll just pick one randomly — No. 53,” Hazel says.
I glance down the list. “No. 53 – my right big toe hurts,” I say.
“What do you mean it hurts?” Hazel says, her eyes narrowing.
“It hurts when I stretch my toe,” I say, wincing as I stretch my toe.
“You’re in pain?” Hazel says.
“Well, it’s not pain pain, just a little bursitis,” I say. “OK, that problem might be trivial, but even if I kick it off the list, I still have Jay Z beat by more than 1,600 problems.”
The Dallas Cowboys game is about to begin. We move to the sun room. The shades are pulled down and the room is dark.
“I see what you are doing,” Hazel says.
“What do you mean?”
“You started this column with us supposedly drinking coffee in the ‘tea’ room,” Hazel says. “And then you change the setting to the sun room, except it’s dark. And we don’t even have a sun room or a tea room. So I can only assume you are using symbolism like Ernest Hemingway did in ‘The Killers,’ when he kept mentioning a clock that was 20 minutes fast as a method to instill a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the reader’s mind. I also assume you are doing this as a way to introduce a sense of uncertainty and confusion regarding the status of the Dallas Cowboys, who have a 2-1 record but haven’t proved they are for real.”
“That’s exactly what I was doing, and now you’ve ruined it,” I say. “Symbolism works best when the reader absorbs it subconsciously.”
“Your symbolism was just so obvious,” Hazel says.
“Well, you can redeem yourself by finding out who the Cowboys are playing today,” I say.
Hazel deploys her valuable Googling skills and quickly determines that today’s opponent is the San Francisco 49ers. Her mad research skills help me to write the best Dallas Cowboys column this side of Sulphur Springs and possibly the world.
I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco, with its rich history. The city was Ground Zero during the 1960s counterculture movement that culminated with the Summer of Drug-Addled and Smelly Hippies Enjoying Indiscriminate and Unprotected Sex in Public While Pretending to Have a Cause but Really Just Avoiding Jobs and Baths — later shortened to the Summer of Love.
Fort Worth and San Francisco are much alike. Each boasts about 800,000 residents. Both cities are known for world-class bridges – the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth.
Both cities suffer from earthquakes due to their proximity to the San Andreas Fault (San Fran) and the It’s Mike Moncrief’s Fault (Fort Worth).
San Francisco is Spanish for Saint Francis. Fort Worth is English for Kill Indians.
Politically speaking, San Fran is blue. Fort Worth gets blue when a damned liberal wins an election.
San Francisco was destroyed by fire in 1906. Fort Worth is on the verge of being destroyed by a Hooters in Sundance Square.
San Francisco’s most famous native son is actor Clint Eastwood, who starred in two of the greatest Western films of all time (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and Unforgiven). Fort Worth spawned the inimitable Ruta Lee, who once grabbed the ass of a young Eric Griffey before he grew up to become a Fort Worth Weekly writer. Eric still dreams of you, Ruta, you frisky old dame!
As you can see, the City by the Bay and the City by the Cattle Pens are practically identical. Despite these similarities, the rivalry between the Cowboys and 49ers is intense. Their battles in the 1970s were epic, growing red hot in the 1990s when the teams clashed in the NFC East Championship game three years in a row, with the winners going on to win the Super Bowl each time.
The Cowboys have a slight edge in the on-field rivalry. The 49ers, however, have killed us in the draft room. The 49ers traded two draft picks to the New England Patriots in exchange for the 16th pick in the 1985 draft. The Cowboys were picking 17th that year and were poised to take a talented young wide receiver. The 49ers ended up nabbing that receiver with the 16th pick. The Cowboys settled for a defensive tackle.
The wide receiver? Jerry Rice, a Hall of Famer who is considered the greatest receiver of all time.
The defensive tackle? Kevin Brooks. He averaged a dismal 2.5 sacks a season during a six-year career before ballooning to 400 pounds and becoming a spokesman for gastric bypass surgery. He is not in the Hall of Fame.
Hazel decides to sleep through the national anthem in support of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter.
I decide to end my column here in support of Lazy Sundays Matter.
Besides, Hazel already ruined everything by exposing my symbolism trick. This column could have been good.