Smells like a rose ... or an ol' bucket
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2It was Rivalry Saturday over the weekend. You know that means only one thing at the cooler Monday morning.
It's been renamed The Hangover Hut.
So, it's 9:05 a.m. and I'm mainlining Advil when my boy Johnny -- you remember him, the shoeshine guy from the old "Police Squad" episodes -- approaches. He's going old-school with the hangover treatment. He's got the plaid ice pack taped to his head at a jaunty angle.
And clutched in his hand, an old oaken bucket.
See, Johnny used to run it hard at Purdue back in the day, and that embarrassing Midwestern identity never left him when he came West to chill in Cali, thinking the "Yo! MTV Raps" videos were cool and that he'd be sipping gin and juice with Snoop Dogg.
Instead, he works under the fluorescents with me. And wears Dockers.
"The bucket, eh?" I said, casting a look that says I will refuse to answer any questions about the triumph of Evil over Good in Pasadena in my favorite little Pac-10 clash. "So, I guess that means the Boilermakers beat Northwestern Minnesota Tech or something, right?
"Oh wait," I corrected myself. "The game over Northwestern Minnesota Tech is for the Musty, Stanky Bucket. It's Bloomington JC you play for the Dirty Old Sock, right?"
"Yo, Bruin Breath," Johnny said, a baseball card of Pete Rose safety-pinned to his shirt. "It was Purdue over Indiana, pal. And Minnesota and Iowa play for the Bronze Pig. What do your baby-blue warriors play 'SC for, the right to defend Heisman Trophy winners in murder trials?"
"Oh, dude, I'm sorry," I said. "It is the Used Mop you guys play for when when you play Michigan, Old Oaken Bucket vs. Indiana and then the Month-Old Milk Carton when you play Ohio State, right?
"And don't look now, you Hoosier rube, but you've got Charlie Hustle pinned to your lapel."
"Couldn't find a rose in the Midwest in November so I got the next best thing," Johnny said, petting the crew cut on the Hit King's rookie card, then launching into song: "But ... things look good! Things look great! Gonna have the whole world on a plate! Starting here ..."
"Dude, how many times have I told you, your Ethel Merman imitation of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" will never get you the phone number of Raquel in Receiving," I said.
|Drew Brees and Purdue filled the Old Oaken Bucket with roses after their victory over Indiana.|
"She'll come around, when I offer her a deuce to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1," Johnny said, producing ducats. His scalper connections were awesome:
entry passes to the Boilermakers' first Pasadena trip in 34 years already in hand.
"You forget," I said. "Raquel in Receiving went to Florida State. She doesn't even know the Rose Bowl exists. Bro, she's got the 'Chris Weinke Through the Years' calendar in her cubicle."
"She's that into Weinke?" Johnny said, adjusting his hangover ice pack.
"Dude, she was bragging at the coffee machine how Weinke's effort against the Gators was even more awesome since he overcame the distraction of being so wrapped up in the Bush-Gore showdown in the home state," I said. "Something about how Bush's Social Security policy will affect his lifestyle."
"Yeah, can a guy win the Heisman if he's older than this bucket?" Johnny said, hoisting the oaken trophy.
"Or that Sock you play for vs. Bloomington JC?" I answered, engaging Johnny in his favorite sort of dialogue: Socratic.
"You confuse me when you answer questions with questions," Johnny said, looking pained.
"All right, bro, easy one then: What else did you do this weekend?"
"What else?" Johnny said, still looking pained. "Laid on the couch, watched TV, ate Hostess cupcakes. Watched the highlights of our soulmates in the Pac 10, Oregon State, play the role of U.S. Grant in the Civil War, only to be denied roses by cruel fate. Watched Vince Carter go off for the Raptors. Last time I saw a dude shoot like that was Lamar Mundane in those old Reebok spots.
"Then the Sunday usuals, man: A Raider win, a Chargers loss, more mess in the AFC East."
"And you got the OK on that Thailand DirecTV hookup from your landlord?" I asked.
"Yeah, dude, and I ain't taking it down," Johnny said. "Thai stations show lots of 'Benny Hill' re-runs. Say, did you see what that golfer Geoff Ogilvy said about Tiger after going 64, 67 over the weekend and still losing to The Big E? Said, 'He's the king.' "
"Made me think of that old Mel Brooks line from 'History of the World.' You know, 'It's good to be king.' "
"Being king is undeniably good," I said, then wondered aloud: "Say, what does Tiger get for that win? The Old Wicker Chair?"
"Funny man," Johnny said, leaning down, picking up his bucket and leaving the cooler for a week of work. He headed down the hallway and, despite my advice, the Merman was unmistakable: "... starting now,
"Hon-ey, Every-thing's Com-ing Up Roses!"
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Examiner will find refreshment at the Monday Morning Water Cooler every week on Page 2.
||Watched the highlights of our
soulmates in the Pac 10, Oregon State, play the
role of U.S. Grant in the Civil War, only to be
denied roses by cruel fate. Watched Vince Carter
go off for the Raptors. Last time I saw a dude
shoot like that was Lamar Mundane in those old