Gimme an A!

(Eric Shansby)

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By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, January 21, 2007

This is an open letter to my new personal hero. I don't know his name, but I do know this: Philosophically, he is Siddhartha, Confucius and Sartre rolled into one.

If the meaning of life is finding what you are most suited for and then working to be the best at it that you can be, my guy has it nailed. His accomplishment is all the more remarkable because nature did not give him much to work with: 1) He isn't good-looking, 2) He isn't smart, and 3) His choice of women is either atrocious or woefully limited because of 1) and 2). But what this guy does have is that mystical cocktail of qualities -- blended together in appropriate quantities, seasoned to perfection through tireless rehearsal -- that permits a man to be, unsurpassedly, The World's Biggest Jackass.

Here's to you, my friend. Drink up. I know for a fact you are good at that, too.

Alas, this man's remarkable life intersected with mine for only a few hours, which happened to coincide with the duration of the Giants-Redskins game on the night of December 30. He and his girlfriend were two rows in front of me and my daughter: upper deck, 50-yard line. He wore a Redskins jersey.

The stands at pro football games are filled with people wearing the jerseys of their favorite players, a quaint custom that creates an entertaining visual irony. This is because football fans seldom physically resemble their athletic heroes, due to an incongruent distribution of body lard. I, for example, arrived at the stadium in the jersey of the player I most admire, New York Giants tailback Tiki Barber. I resemble Tiki only in a sort of vague way -- the way a tube of toothpaste sort of vaguely resembles a gun.

My guy was not lardy, but his choice of jersey presented its own irony. He wore the name and number of the great Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, who is known for being a quiet, dignified gentleman. "Quiet, dignified gentleman" is a description one might give this guy only if one were actually drunker than this guy, which is impossible because, then, one would be dead.

How to describe him? An outstanding young man, perhaps, in that he was out there, standing, when everyone else was seated and importuning him, unsuccessfully, to do the same. A hip young man, in the sense that he appeared to be joined at the hip with his girlfriend, so as to maximize the amount of square footage of body through which no one behind them could see. His girlfriend spent the game looking at him with the sort of vapid, idolatrous ear-to-ear smile typical of political wives and lobotomized frogs.

But mostly, I'd describe this guy as an enthusiastic Redskins fan, in the sense that I might describe Himmler as an enthusiastic supporter of the German people. The guy spent the game snarling spit-flying insults and threats at anyone who seemed to be rooting for the Giants, a team that "sucks" and is composed entirely of players who "suck," including Mr. Barber, who happened to be, at that moment, shredding the Redskins defense like the lettuce at Quizno's.

This guy's rage was distributed with commendable parity, if not gallantry. Among his victims was a sweet-looking twenty-something woman who'd had the audacity to wear the jersey of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. "Manning sucks!" he bellowed into her face as she passed by with a plate of food she nearly dropped. An apprentice jackass threw a beer bottle at the guy, but it thudded off his back unnoticed; at certain dosages, apparently, ethyl alcohol acts like Novocain.

Eventually, even Redskins supporters began uneasily distancing themselves from him, much the way Republicans did from Mark Foley. An eerie solidarity seemed to briefly unite fans of both teams. Men debated whether they had ever seen a bigger [dis-respected part of the human anatomy]. Women commiserated in a womanly fashion, wondering what sort of wounded self-esteem might impel a female to enter into physical congress with such a man.

When the Giants put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, my guy and his girl just sort of slunk away to loud, appreciative bye-byes. This guy was threatening, and really offensive.

An actual offensive threat! Maybe the Skins could use him on the field next year.

Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is weingarten@washpost.com.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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