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Bracketitis Corpus Delecti

Mar. 26, 2014
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, if NPR’s puzzle master Will Shortz were to call me right this second and ask me what the most-asked three-word question has been over the last six-seven days, I’d get it wrong ’cause I’d tell Will that the answer is this: “How’s your focking bracket?” And that’s four words, so no coffee mug or tote bag for me.

So, how is your focking NCAA bracket doing? Yeah, tell me about it. Mine’s on life support, what the fock. My heart goes out to those of you’s who, like me, in the hopes of winning a buck two-eighty, have pissed away valuable company time whilst dicking around on the job with those basketball brackets for the winners of this year’s flabbergastingly topsy-turvy college tournament.

And as we head toward the second four-day weekend of the tournament, take a good long gander at your carefully considered bracket-chart. Duke? Kansas? North Carolina? Syracuse? Oops!

With the benefit of hindsight, you know you never should’ve picked to “go all the way” with institutions of higher learning like the University of Jack Shit, Long Gone State, UF(ocking)I(diot), and Up-The-Butt Tech. On the other hand, “upset” is the name of the game. Anything can happen, baby, so maybe, just maybe, if somehow the goddamn Nazis were to come back and take Leningrad or Al Qaeda suddenly substitutes Muhammad with Jesus, hey, that might give me hope that maybe I could still win my pool, what the fock.

And speaking of underachieving collegiate cage squads, just so you’s know, I’ve decided to toss my jock onto the court in regards to the suddenly, if not mercenarily, vacant position of head roundball coach over by the Marquette there. I hear a lot of people are perturbed that the school is presently coachless, but personally I thought it was time for a change anyways. They could use a coach who can actually win the tournament instead of just be in it, you betcha.

I have seen every NCAA tournament final on TV since the Bearcats out of Cincinnati beat out Jerry Lucas and his Ohio State Buckeyes back in ’61. You just can’t buy experience like that—but Marquette U. could, and they can have it for a couple hundred grand a year. Yeah, I never coached at the Division I level. I’m more a long-division guy, as in “Art Kumbalek goes into Marquette $230,000 times.” (Cripes-o yipes-o, I’d even coach for half that salary, plus work a weekend here and there to boot.)

And if the head job should open up across town over by UWM and I accept it, the first thing I’d do is change the school’s nickname. What the fock does a college kid on our town’s upper East Side know from a goddamn “Panther,” ain’a? Forget about it. They shall be known as the UWM “Citations,” named after something Joe College sees at least once a day, on the windshield of his crappy car, after class, as he heads to his crappy part-time job.)

Anyways, no, I have not forgotten that it’s the Lenten season. So here’s a little story you might like to share at your next fish fry or men’s smoker:

Imagine the shy young man’s surprise when Pope Francis sat down in the seat next to him for the flight destined for New York City. Shortly after takeoff, the pope began a crossword puzzle. “This is really swell,” thought the young man, “I’m really good at crosswords and if the pope gets stuck, perhaps he’ll ask me for assistance and I’ll get a gold pass to heaven.”

Shortly thereafter, the pope turned to the young man and said, “Excuse me son, but I suddenly seem to be blocked on this crossword puzzle. Do you happen to know a four-letter word that ends in 'unt,' u-n-t, and that refers to a woman?” Only one such word leapt to mind, a word the young man felt should not be uttered in the pope’s presence. He thought a moment, and from a bolt from the blue, turned to the pope and said, “I believe your holiness, that it is the word ‘aunt’ you seek—a-u-n-t.” And the pope said, “Of course, my son. ‘A-u-n-t.’ God bless you. I don't suppose you happen to have an eraser?” Ba-ding!

So, good luck with who’s left on your bracket. And speaking of long, long odds (and shorter voting hours, thanks for focking nothing) my essay next week will lucidly examine the possibility that state, local and national leaders of a certain political party will, in the foreseeable future, cease lewdly pandering to a rabid fanged band of right-wing radical lunatics and fruitcakes who claim the Lord to their side—Best Possible Answer: Slim and none—’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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