Single page view By Patrick Hruby
Page 2

    "I'll be there, but I won't be happy. I can tell you that much."
    -- Terrell Owens, on attending Philadelphia Eagles training camp

Heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking. But buck up, Philadelphia -- or, as Dan Rather used to put it, courage. The situation could be worse. A lot worse.

Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb
Can Terrell Owens make the best of his dreary life with Donovan McNabb and Co.

Just imagine the alternatives.

I'll be there … but I won't catch any passes.

I'll be there … but I won't be wearing pants.

I'll be there … with a full-blown case of Ebola.

See? Things aren't that bad. Owens isn't flubbing balls to make a point, naked from the waist down or dropping dead from a hemorrhagic fever. The mercurial wide receiver is simply unhappy at work. Feeling a tad unappreciated. Slightly miffed about his seven-year, $49 million salary.

In other words, he's exactly like the rest of us. Except for the $49 million part.

Everyone heading into the office tomorrow, raise your hands. OK, put 'em down. Everyone looking forward to it, stomp your feet. Oops. Awfully quiet in here. Fact is, job misery is as much a part of life as breathing. Which is why they call it work, as opposed to nap time or recess.

No apple juice. No graham crackers. Definitely no beanbag chairs. Oh, and you might have to come in on Saturday, too. Punching a time card isn't so hot? Most folks grasp this by age 25, tops.

Owens is 31. If it's taken him this long to figure out the obvious, he should consider himself blessed.

Still, it's a heck of a shock to realize that: a) work stinks today; b) work will stink tomorrow; c) a post-work retirement of arthritis and walking laps around shopping malls until death grants a sweet release isn't much better. So give Owens a little sympathy. But not too much.

After all, there are ways to make the soul-sucking weekly grind more tolerable.

For starters, take spacing out. In the film "Office Space," cubicle drone Peter Gibbons describes his daily routine -- or lack thereof -- to efficiency consultants Bob Slydell and Bob Porter:

GIBBONS: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door -- that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh -- after that I sorta space out for an hour.

PORTER: Da-ah? Space out?

GIBBONS: Yeah, I just stare at my desk. But it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual work.

Honestly, how hard would it be for Owens to follow suit? Training camp teems with idle moments -- waiting in line during passing drills, sitting around in film sessions, reciting empty clichés to the press.

Surely Owens could fix his gaze and appear occupied, all while letting his mind wander:

Hmm, that ball spike was a little tame. Maybe next time I'll just urinate on Dallas' midfield star …

… Gee, I wonder if an entire can of spray paint would fit in my sock. Does Dutch Boy sponsor athletes? …

… if Jeff Garcia is the one with questionable sexuality, then why is he dating a Playmate while I'm posing for GQ wearing baby oil and a toga? …



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