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Tandra Page 1570, Dumb And Dumber

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

Mister Johnson came by for a visit yesterday afternoon. His garden is all taken care of. The peas have ripened and been picked. The other vegetables are coming alone nicely; the weeds have recently been plowed under. Mister Johnson was feeling lazy and decided to come and visit with me. I am always happy to have Mister Johnson come by.

I fixed for him a big glass of tea with ice and sugar and lemon and Mister Johnson positioned himself in the big easy chair I keep in my studio. I have it there primarily for Mister Johnson to sit in when he decides to visit with me.

Mister Johnson’s grandson, Taterbug, is in high school. The boy plays football on the school team and he is a favourite with the girls. When I asked if Taterbug has a steady girl, Mister Johnson said, “Of course not! Taterbug feels it would be unfair to all the other girls if he decided to concentrate on just one.” “Taterbug” is not the boy’s actual name. It’s a handle Mister Johnson attached to him when he was still in diapers. Now that Taterbug is in high school, Mister Johnson thought his grandson would choose to be called by his actual name, but it did not work out like that. Taterbug likes his unusual name. There are a number of “Johns” and “Franks” and “Sams” in school, but only one “Taterbug”. Taterbug says that if one of his classmates called him by the name on his birth certificate, he probably would not recognize he was being called to.

Mister Johnson keeps up with football mainly because of Taterbug. Mister Johnson goes to most of the school games only because Taterbug is playing. Mister Johnson does not actually much understand the game and goes only to give support to his grandson. Mister Johnson never attended a football game before Taterbug joined the team. Mister Johnson could never find much interest in watching a bunch of boys or men chase a football around a field. But then, Mister Johnson understands people have different interests. A goodly number of folks are not much interested in raising a garden.

Mister Johnson has come to appreciate football so long as Taterbug is on the field, but he still has never warmed to the professional leagues. If Taterbug happens to sign with a pro team, Mister Johnson might develop an interest but, to date, Mister Johnson’s interest is in pro football is in the negative numbers. On top of not having much interest in watching a bunch of big and ugly men chase a ball around a field, Mister Johnson is amazed at the out of the closet stupidity of the big league players and management. A few seasons back, Mister Johnson doesn’t remember precisely when because he pays not much attention to football unless Taterbug is involved, it was reported that team managers and owners indulged numerous players to refuse to stand when the National Anthem is played before games. Such refusal to stand was made much of as a political statement against national policy. Most football fans took the refusal by players to stand as a rejection of American Values. Something like ten to twenty percent of Fans decided to make a political statement themselves by finding other things to do with their free time rather than watching football. Stands at games were half empty. Advertising revenue took a hit. Profits were down.

Word is that, this season, team owners are requiring players to stand for the National Anthem. Mister Johnson is not over much impressed. A love of country that comes about for reasons of force and financial coercion is not worth much. Still, Mister Johnson reasons, it is a step toward regaining the offended fan base. We shall see.

But now team management has come forward with another bone head and revenue reducing idea. It is reported the National Football League has decided to add male cheerleaders to the games. Mister Johnson knows television football fans who only endure the games, watching big ugly men chase a football around a field, so that they can enjoy watching cute female cheerleaders do their routines. These fans are not going to be over much excited to see ugly male dancers replacing the cute female cheerleaders.

Mister Johnson wonders what other bright and innovative new ideas football management can come up with to alienate fans and reduce revenue. On the other hand, Mister Johnson is not over much concerned with who dances at football games.

He doesn’t watch in any case.

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