As it turns out, even Squinky has a conscience….

I’ve decided Squinky must have an ethnic mother…either Italian or Jewish (could be some other ethnic background, but these two I have personal experience with).

How else could you explain the college football events of this past weekend.

I mean, seriously, if that wasn’t a case of guilt, I don’t know what was…the kind of guilt only a mother could put on her son.

I could just imagine the conversation (please insert the appropriate accent and motherly tone)…

Sound of phone ringing…

Squinky: “Hi Mom.”

Squinky’s Mom: “Eugene?” (Of course this is Squinky’s given name…Squinky is obviously a self applied nickname…I would do the same after years of “Eu-GE-ne”).

S: “Yea Ma, it’s Squinky.”

SM: “You know how I hate that name, Eugene. Sounds like something a girl puts in her hair.”

S: “That’s a scrunchy Ma.” 

SM: “Oh, ok. How was your weekend Eugene.”

S: “Pretty busy, I..”

SM: “…cuz I didn’t hear from you since last Thursday. Ya know, your sisters both called.”

S: “Ma, I was in the middle of…”

SM: “…and your oldest sister, Louise, she called three times. She knows I need updates on my babies.”

S: “Come on Ma! You know I have a full-time job, and it involves a lot of weekends and evenings.”

SM: “You own your own business, honey. You can’t figure out better hours? You know Martha that lives across the street? Her son, Cooper, has his own business, and he hardly works.”

S: “Mom! You know the demands of my job! I have one extremely high maintenance client, probably the most important one in the country. This client requires constant attention and care, and the only break I get is a brief period between April and August. Cooper ain’t got it so easy right now…his client rehired the only consultant to ever give him trouble. I have it on good authority that he’s looking to dump this one and has several potential suitors. I know for a fact he has interviewed with two.”

SM: “I don’t know names, but I love his current client’s colors. Did they hire that consultant back because his hair matches their outfits?”

S: “UNIFORMS, Ma, UNIFORMS. And NO, Kansas State didn’t hire Bill Snyder back for his silver locks. Besides, Cooper is soft. His dad handed him that job, so he never had to work ’til that guy showed up a few years back, then thought he was back in the saddle when Snyder retired. Wasn’t happy when they brought him back this year, but thought he would have at least a full season to look for other work. I heard Cooper’s being treated for ulcers.”

SM: “Why don’t you check out some of Cooper’s potential clients?”

S: “I’m not lazy like Coop, Ma. I like a challenge. The only potential interest I would have is Texas, but right now it’s an entry level position. Would take a few years to get that program back to where it needs to be before I could really do any good over there.”

SM: “That’s my Eugene. I’ve always said that you would make something of yourself, but really, you need a break, get your name in the paper or something.”

S: “MOM??!! Didn’t you read the article I emailed you?”

SM: “What article? The subject line said something about your client and somebody named Phillips, and the message had some blue characters that were underlined, but that was it. No article. And who’s this Phillips person, never heard of him.”

S: “THAT WAS A LINK MA! Oh never mind.”

SM: “So you said you were busy. Your client have a new project?”

S: “I swear Mom, have you been paying any attention this year? I don’t think I’ve ever had to put in more work with so little payback. You think it’s easy smashing their hopes and dreams every year? And not every client makes you work TWO sports…just look at Cooper.”

SM: “I really wish you wouldn’t describe it that way. You should say you are helping them build character. Much more appealing.”

S: “People don’t pay for character, Ma. The fans want drama, and the BCS has spread the wealth, so it’s that much harder to get the attention I use to get with one lousy bounce. Remember 1988 and ‘The Drop?’ People still remember that kid’s name. I get credited with the flag before that, but that was a lucky break on my part…that was all on the ref.”

“Now everybody’s got an unlucky moment. Hell, it’s even rumored that someone picked up OU as a client, although that hasn’t been confirmed. If I was guessing, I would say yes because nobody hits the upright AND has their best player go down untouched in the same year.”

SM: “I really wish you wouldn’t hurt the players.”

S: “Now Ma, you know me. Our association does have a set of ethics guidelines, but no real enforcement power. Probably a first timer trying to make a name for himself, going for a simple knee sprain, nothing major. You gotta know what you’re doing when you start messing with injuries. In the old days, it was always an unspoken rule…no injuries for the first 20 years, only ‘non-player’ incidents, like bad bounces, penalties, fumbles, dropped passes, missing wide open receivers, busted plays, that kinda stuff. Now everything is fair game…even off the field stuff. You’d be amazed at how many of us spend most of our time going after alumni and boosters. Not me, I’m old school.”

SM: “Yes Eugene, I know. I’m very proud of you for sticking to the principles your dad taught you, although I have to say something about this past weekend.”

S: “Don’t even go there Mom. I didn’t sleep Friday night thinking about what you were going to say to me.”

SM: “Eugene, you need to get your sleep. You get very cranky when you don’t sleep. I was actually hoping you didn’t sleep Thursday night. That would have explained a lot of things.”

S: “You know, Ma, I take pride in what I do, and I always try to stick to the plan, no matter what obstacles get in my way. This weekend I had a plan, a perfect plan, and couldn’t have anticipated what happened. Never had to deal with that kind of situation before. The last time that occurred the school took some time off to heal, so it was out of my hands. I fully expected the game to be postponed, but when those players stood up and said they would go ahead with the game, well, if they can stand up and be strong in the face of such adversity, then I felt it only right that I stand up with them.”

SM: “I wouldn’t say you stood up with them, Eugene.”

S: “You know what I mean, Ma! This it what I’m talking about…after executing one of the best laid plans EVER…probably go down as my greatest achievement…I was watching the players come off the field, listening to the interviews immediately following the game, and the next day, and realized my client didn’t give me 100%. They blew up every conceivable plan I put together this year. None of the old stuff worked. In the past, they were always good to go with one little mishap. That wide receiver Blackmon could be counted on to help, but I didn’t count on that Weeden fella being so tough to work with. Now, 2 or 3 errors per game doesn’t phase them. I decided it was time for a real top-notch disaster, mistakes and misses coming from every direction. Would go perfect with the road game on a Friday night, and Paul Rhoads is always good for a little help.”

“But they didn’t respond…they couldn’t respond. I presumed when they chose to play that I would get their best shot. I didn’t realize they chose to play more out of honor for those folks that died. It was like I sucker punched them, but I didn’t realize it until it was too late.”

“All I could hear was your voice…’EuGEne, that was not a very nice thing to do. Those kids have mommy’s and daddy’s who are really stressed out worrying about their boys. Would you want your mommy to be so stressed? No? Then why don’t you call more often? Your sisters call every day and let me know…’”

SM: “You know, you are right. You should call me more often.”

S: “That’s not the point Mom! The point is I realized that I did something out of line, and needed to try and fix it. So I did. There weren’t a lot of good opportunities, and I didn’t have time to prepare, so it wasn’t easy. But I found 2 teams that decided to cooperate just enough. I thought going after 2 big names would be a bit much without a full-fledged plan, so I went after 1 big name and 1 rival. The rival is always good for helping the other rival feel a bit better.”

“The big name team, Oregon, was the tougher nut to crack. Good team, but they were ripe after the big game last week. Their opponent had just enough talent to make it believable, and Oregon gave me the perfect opportunity…fairly easy FG with no time left. Could do that in my sleep. The rival was a bit tougher. You have any idea how hard it was to make their opponent’s defense look even mediocre? But I pulled it off, and in the process created the greatest improvisational moment ever, even better than the Franco Harris ricochet! That 20 yard deflection hitting another receiver in stride was magical, if I say so myself. Thought I was going to have to pull out another piece of impromptu excellence, but the rival’s coach called a timeout…go figure…and I really didn’t have to do anything. I felt like a I did pretty good, given the circumstances and lack of prep. At least I was able to sleep Saturday night knowing I had reestablished a little equilibrium. Still tough for them to get the big prize, but they still have enough to play for to keep the hope alive. That’s always the most important part of the job…don’t kill the hope completely, or they won’t keep coming back. Nobody’s better at that than me.”

SM: “I’m so proud of you , Son. Your Dad would have been proud too, although I doubt he would agree that you did better than the Franco play…that was pure genius from your father.”

S: “Let’s not argue about that Mom.”

SM: “Okay, fine. When are you coming for Thanksgiving?”

S: “Mom, don’t know if I can make it. Only have two weeks to prepare for Bedlam and I used up all the new stuff I had sitting in the wings. Gotta come up with something they haven’t seen before, or they’re gonna think I’m losing my touch. The good press from Grantland only turned up the pressure to perform. Was flying under the radar for so long, now everybody’s expecting something every week.”

SM: “Your sisters are flying in a day early and are staying until Monday.”

S: “All the more reason to be busy.”

SM: “Now EUgene, that was not necessary. They love you and miss seeing you. They just don’t understand why you haven’t married and settle down yet, and frankly, so do I. I wan’t more grandchildren.”

S: “Mom, it wouldn’t be fair to someone right now. I am totally committed to my work. I’ve  only had one client, and I doubt I’ll ever have another. They’re the best. Oklahoma State is undoubtedly the most valuable client anyone could have. No matter what I’ve done, they always come back, step right back into the ring, like Rocky sequels. But they are figuring out my game. I don’t think I’ll have them much longer. Thought I was going to lose them this year…kinda did, but can’t leave them after what happened. That wouldn’t be fair. One of us needs to go down swinging, taking the other’s best shot. Anything less wouldn’t do our relationship justice.”

SM: “Martha said Cooper is coming home for two weeks.”

S: “Ok, Ok Ma! I’ll see you Thursday morning.”

SM: “That’s my Eugene.”


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