Last week was an absolute bust; we promise to do better. We're not accepting the blame, we're passing the buck. The Song of the Jackalope unsettled us.
Bad things will happen to you in this business if you take your eye off the clock for even a second to pay attention to something as silly as the incessant prewing of a Jackalope looking to mate in the dying weeds of your fine Kentucky Bluegrass backyard. They’ll curl up out there and caw all winter long, whining and wheezing for a missus to come along and help them eat all the bulbs off your wife’s tulips in the spring for absolutely no good reason at all.
Those weird little fuckers; they don’t even like tulips! They’re just screwy bastards with nothing better to do than scratch and claw at your screen door for hours and then disappear deftly into the night, only breaking the perfectly good silence of a cold December’s dawn with the high-pitched, piercing screams that imply they’ve hit sexual climax for the umpteenth time that evening, leaving absolutely no hope at all for the desperate sports writers still on the grind, still trying to make pressure gambling decisions under deadline and duress.
No, sir; the shank-shrill Song of the Jackalope is not something you want to hear coming in through the ether eight or nine times a night when you’re trying to make smart Sunday moves. It’s a debilitating, disorienting sound that cracks the air around you and then hangs dead in the gray December sky. It’s maddening and by no means meant to evoke feelings of calm and kindness, peace and tranquility. It’s not a good noise to work by and it’s driven better men than me to worse lines than 5-9.
But it did indeed drive us there, each howl throwing us further from the course, and now we’ve got no choice but to wait it out, holed up in a blind in the back forty with a fully loaded six shooter, for the silly little fucker to rear its head so we can put four bullets straight into its spine and get back to the business of betting heavily on sports.
When I arrived home last night, the TV was on and the Lakers were losing; Cincinnati had just forced the Philadelphia Fighting Children into four turnovers inside five minutes and Big Ed Muskie was babbling uncontrollably on CNN about becoming the nation’s next top diplomat.
Wait, no, that can’t be right. That’s not Big Ed; The Man from Maine shuffled off this mortal coil some time ago so, by God, that must be John Kerry jabbering all that stone gibberish straight into the camera. He’s saying he’s been vaulted to the top of the short list to become the next Secretary of State after Susan Rice felt she wanted no part of being poked and prodded for a second time by a rabble of stark raving mad Republicans. They say they’d never confirm the embattled U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. for the job, that they prefer Kerry, who once quipped that if George Bush Sr. were shot, the Secret Service had orders to “shoot Dan Quayle, too.” The truth is they know John Kerry and, having already stomped him publicly once in 2004, feel he’s a far safer choice, not a threat to run again in 2016, and would rather see him in a position of power than a rising Democrat star like, say, Rice, who among her many other qualifications is an amiable black woman and trouble for the divided party of Dead White Presidents.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to the Jackalope and the people who still hear its cacaphonic cries. We’re no longer numbered among them; that thing is sitting about six feet away from me now, deader than disco, shot to the heart, but you can bet Mitt Romney and the Republican Party would have liked to lay the blame for their many gaffes and misgivings at the feet of a fleeting jackalope just like we did right here. Ditto Mike D’Antoni and Andy Reid, whose teams are a combined 13-24 and unraveling fast. They’re reeling, with not much hope for the next three or four years; what they all wouldn’t give to say that it wasn’t their fault, that the culprit was a little jackrabbit-looking creature, with a fine pheasant’s tail and tiny antelope horns.
This Week’s Lines:
Detroit (-6.5) over Arizona, San Diego (-3) over Carolina, Indianapolis (+10.5) over Houston, Washington (-1.5) over Cleveland, New Orleans (-4) over Tampa Bay, San Francisco (+5.5) over New England, Dallas (+2) over Pittsburgh, Minnesota (+2.5) over St Louis, Atlanta (-1.5) over New York, Green Bay (-3) over Chicago, Buffalo (+5.5) over Seattle, Oakland (-3) over Kansas City, Denver (-2.5) over Baltimore, New York (+2.5) over Tennessee, Miami (-7) over Jacksonville.
Last Week: 5-9
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