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  A Ride Without Cruise Control

By Tony Kornheiser
Washington Post Columnist
Tuesday, December 17, 1991; Page E01

Tony Kornheiser Ask not what your Bandwagon can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Bandwagon.

Having masterfully driven The Bandwagon through 15 games (okay, 14; I told him it was a mistake to lend the keys to Michael Irvin), Mark Rypien now finds himself temporarily indisposed due to a traumatic laceration to the protective covering on the third digit of his right hand; an injury technically referred to as a "boo-boo" on his fingernail. (Redskins doctors say the severity of the injury varies according to roster needs. Had it happened, for example, to Cary Conklin, the Redskins would have put him on IR for two years.)

To demonstrate how tough he is, Rypien is willing to observe The Bandwagon Code, and drive hurt. "I can steer with my left hand," he vows. "But I'm going to have some trouble with the clutch."

Obviously, such devastating conditions demand sacrifice on the part of all Redskins. So we traversed the locker room following the Giants game -- and let me be the first to welcome to The Bandwagon, fresh from their excellent adventure with Gary Clark, the masters of the "Air Tackle," Myron Guyton and Perry Williams -- wondering how concerned Redskins might come to the aid of The Wounded Ripster on the drive to Philadelphia.

"I'll shift," said Jim Lachey. "He can steer."

"I'll play quarterback," offered Mark Schlereth. (Schlereth, of course, was merely following in the vaunted Hog tradition of Russ "The Flea" Grimm, who was an exalted backup quarterback before he became a legendary wide receiver.)

"I'll help armor-plate The Bandwagon," said Eric Williams. "We'll outfit it like Clint Eastwood's bus in 'The Gauntlet,' and nobody will stop us."

Actually, I was going to ask Coach "Joe" Gibbs to step in and drive -- until I saw him, forlorn, at the side of his car after the game. It seems his keys were locked inside, and he was waiting for somebody with a coat hanger (anybody seen Art Modell?) to snake the door open. The Joe Man . . . needing assistance . . . Joe The Tow.

"This would never happen on The Bandwagon," I told "Joe."

"Why not?" he inquired.

"Because we don't have doors."

How 'bout beating them Giants twice in one year? Not to gloat or anything, but, hey, Phil, what happened, you bleach-blond hosehead? (Memo to dweeb Giants fan Alan Miller, who wrote a letter praising "Mr. Simms, the ole Skins killer himself," and predicting an apocalyptic Giants victory: I've read better stuff on a parking ticket.) He began like the old Phil Simms, all right -- nine completions for 120 yards, and a 10-7 lead barely into the second quarter. But by halftime, he was more like Sy Syms. He fumbled once, was intercepted twice, sacked twice, and completed three more passes for minus-one yard. Danny Copeland, who Simms embarrassingly faked out on his touchdown run, got revenge with the recovery and one interception. "I wanted to prove my worth," Copeland said. "I didn't want to just go along for the ride." In sincere appreciation of the metaphor, The Bandwagon warmly welcomes Copeland. And, Bandwagon historians please note: "Touchdown" Terry Orr gave credit where credit was due, admitting that his first thoughts upon diving for, and catching, that pretty 22-yard TD, were, "Is it gonna get me on The Bandwagon, or what?" For Danny and Terry, our weekly review:

Most points scored. Is Kelly doomed to be a day late and a dollar short?

Fewest points allowed. Look who's moved into second: Da Bears! Mike "That Toddlin' Town" Wilbon spotted on M Street wearing Ditka wanna-be letter sweater.

Most shutouts.

Largest point differential, 263. Only one team is close: Indianapolis, with 239. Unfortunately, it's a minus-239. Venturi Update: Crushed by Buffalo, 35-7, only Tampa Bay Bucs stand between Rick "Please, Mr. Custer, I Don't Want To Go" Venturi and 2-44-1. Sunday night, on ESPN's Pig-Out, Joe Theismann said, "Rick Venturi has done a terrific job." Joey, Joey, Joey, at what?

Excuse me, Tony, I was driving this weekend, and I hardly saw any cars with your moronic Bandwagon bumper sticker. Obviously you overrated its cachet.

I guess they haven't read the fine print, where we offer cash -- not cachet -- to people who proudly display the bumper sticker. Each sticker comes equipped with an invisible infrared sensitive number. Bandwagon Bumper Sticker Scanner Cars cruise the city 24 hours a day, noting these numbers for the big cash giveaway. That's why our motto is: On The Bumper, Or In The Dumper.

Are you telling the truth?

Would I lie to you?

Before we convene this week's meeting of the Coach "Joe" Gibbs Yea, Though I Fear Walking Into The Shadow Of The Vet Orchestra featuring Andre Waters And His "Swing Late, Sweet Chariot" Dancers, here are the results of last week's Bandwagon Poll: By a 3-1 margin, Wagoneers emphatically said that the Redskins ought to play hard against the Giants and Iggles, and not take a snooze. This dovetailed with Monte Coleman's position. "If we lay down, it's a disgrace," he said. "We don't have to win the last two games, but we have to play hard and play to win." Coleman expressed the same sentiment in a team meeting last week. In the locker room Mark Adickes recalled Coleman's words. "He said if we can win the last two games, and build momentum, people will come into RFK thinking we are the best team. But if we take it easy and lose, they'll come in thinking they can beat us. It sounded so smart, I wish I'd thought of it."

Okay, you know where we're going now. Riding merrily along, The Bandwagon (copyright Anthony I. Kornheiser, U.S. Copyright Office 229W4310036) is proud to welcome Andy Horne, John Love, Chad Levitt, Karin Whitt, whose boyfriend sent a hand-made jigging stick for ice fishing, Ken & Ray, Bob and Linda Casey, John Herr, who sent rock salt for the Minnesota expedition, Linda Shevitz, Stephen J. Bujno, who promises stock tips, Luis Matus, Eve Brockdorff, T.J. Souza, Andrew Morton, working man Matt Krasner, who vows to shovel all the snow from the Metrodome parking lot and keep The Bandwagon comfy, Greg Zajac, Dwight and Maxine Agnew, Mary Ellen Colandene, librarians Joan Grillo and Val Avancena and Brian T. Cook. Raise your hands and repeat after me, "I (state your name and express your heartfelt dismay the punk doofus won't play on Sunday) believe even though home field is a lock, there are no meaningless games, and certainly no meaningless Bandwagon columns."

In closing, courtesy of the Minnesota Office of Tourism, let me offer this listing of preferred ice fishing spots in the Twin Cities area, where you can rent sleep-in ice houses with "predrilled holes" for fishing: Roy's Live Bait, Excelsior, Minn.; In Towne Marina, Waconia; Wayzata Bait and Tackle, Wayzata. You gotta go with the floe.

© Copyright 1991 The Washington Post Company

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