Sunday’s Sermon

Pace, pace, mio dio

I attended elementary school in a little Indiana country township. Every Monday morning one teacher had us recite a bible verse from memory. Mr. Lake had the uncanny ability to remember which ones you’d used before. You couldn’t double dip.

I took it seriously and came up with fresh punch lines each time. But once a year in a jam everyone could get away with a sure-fire, get-out-of-jail-free scripture: “Jesus wept.” The snickering would be out of control.

I’ve recently been accused of not knowing the meaning of the word eloquence. How can you fail to feel, however, the passion, the power, the sorrow of those two simple words? It’s taken a lifetime of bible study to try to uncover similar activities of the savior. Like “Jesus burped,’ or “Jesus shat,” or the bit longer “Jesus emptied the compost bin.” To no avail.

So it was with a conflicted conscience that I rose yesterday and mounted the pulpit (not to be confused with my next door neighbor, Pulpit.) Which passage should I choose to inspire my followers? I settled on a pithy ditty from Second Queens: “Don’t fuck with the NFL.” I made my case with a swirling fury.

Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

The Oakland Raiders won three Super Bowls then decided they wanted to move to LA in the mid-80s. The NFL said no. The Raiders said “fuck you NFL,” won their lawsuit and moved anyway. Proving the prophets in Ruth to be correct (“the last shall be first and the first shall be perpetual honorable mentions”) the Raiders have been to one Super Bowl in the last 40 years and were trounced by Tampa Bay.

In the first 30 years of the Super Bowl the Dallas Cowboys were the most successful franchise making eight appearances, winning five times. In the late 90’s they decided they could make more money marketing their own merchandise and opted out of the league contract. The NFL said no. The Cowboys said “fuck you NFL,” won their lawsuit and have been reaping the profits ever since. They also have not been to a Super Bowl since 1996.

The sins of the Forty Niners were a little more subtle. The owner plead guilty in 1998 to charges of gambling fraud and bribing the Louisiana Governor. The NFL has no problems with gambling, fraud or bribery. But what kind of lame-ass organization gets caught doing it? The venality of that transgression is beyond measure. The Niners appeared in and won five Super Bowls between 1981 and 1995. In the last 25 years they’ve played in two more, losing both times (see Ruth, above.)

Always the optimist but never the bride, the LIV defeat Sunday was not without its silver lining. I had lost interest in the game after the bribery scandal when Forty Niner ownership was transferred to the sister. She and her husband live in Canada where the football field is 10 yards longer and 12 yards wider. It’s as inflated and worthless as their currency.

The Yorks had no savvy for the American game and could have cared less about the Niner’s operations. Being an NFL owner is like having Ellis Act property in San Francisco. You don’t need to be successful at what you do, just hold on to your capital and watch it appreciate wildly. The York’s gutted the team and turned leadership over to their 20-something son after buying him a degree at Notre Dame.

Jed York, who’s always had problems matching subject with predicate, became the symbol of what was wrong with the franchise. But yesterday I learned the 49ers  recent success coincides with the disappearance of Little Jed. He has not been heard from or seen in ages. Although he retains the title of President, he is not allowed anywhere near team operations.

That tidbit reignited a spark of affection for the team that had been dormant for a couple of decades. Maybe it’s time to get back into the rigged game that I use to love so much. Or not.

The other delightful moment of the day came when Pab presented me with a hostess gift. A heavy gold chain with Garoppolo jersey pendant. So street, so cool, so Flava Flav without the kitchen clock.

I purposefully walked home through the Tenderloin to see if I could get a couple teeth knocked out to complete the look. No luck. But my Stayin’ Alive swagger was a big hit.

Like the Manhattan Indians, dangle a cheap bauble in my face and you had me at dangle.

Chain-chain-chain, Chain of Fools

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