SOMETHING HAPPENS to a town when it has a losing football team. The people become embittered, irrational and, in some cases, downright spiteful. Now it isn't as serious if the team has a franchise in Green Bay, or New Orleans -- but when that team is located in Washington, D.C., and is called the Redskins, it could affect every man, woman and child in the country.
Monday morning is the most dangerous time of all, because that is when most of us still have the bitter taste of defeat in our mouths. People wander around the government offices snapping and snarling at each other, and purposely spilling cooler water on each other's shoes. Anyone who is waiting for a decision from Washington could become an innocent victim of what psychiatrists call "The Washington Redskins Blues."
Here is how anyone could be affected.
"Sir, there is a letter from a World War I veteran who says he hasn't received his check for four months."
"Isn't that just too bad? Let him wait like everybody else. If he had a job, he wouldn't be looking for his government handout every month."
Over at the EPA, they are about to make a multimillion-dollar decision on a project to be built in Philadelphia. The person who made the study reports, "Philadelphia has met all our standards and qualifications."
"Impossible. Everyone knows if theymet all our standards and regulations, it would be impossible to build the thing. I say we don't give them the go-ahead."
"What will we tell them?"
"To appeal our decision like everybody else."
"But they'll be so disappointed in Philadelphia."
"They should have thought of that when they cheered the Eagles while they were trouncing us yesterday afternoon."
Over at the Federal Home Loan Bank.
"Would you like a cup of coffee, Mr. Zack?"
"Yes, Miss Thatcher, and you also might tell Higgins to raise the home loan rate another point. I never saw so many holding penalties by an offensive line in my life."
"Pardon me, Mr. Zack."
"Never mind. I was just thinking out loud."
Over at the SEC, a Redskin fan picks up the phone.
"Merrill, I'm turning your company's file over to the Justice Department for criminal antitrust violations . . . No, I have no intentions of telling you why. If you saw the game yesterday on television, you wouldn't be asking me a stupid question like that."
The Department of Agriculture takes its football hard too.
"The cotton farmers in Texas are still waiting for our decision on how much support we will give them this year because of the drought. If they don't get an answer soon, they could go under."
"Tell them we'll give them $500 million, if the Dallas Cowboys will give us Tony Dorsett and the Houston Oilers trade us Earl Campbell."
"Is that legal?"
"Probably not. But we have to get some running backs if we ever hope to beat anybody this year."
The most dangerous place of all to be when the Redskins are losing is the Pentagon. They take their football very seriously over there.
"Sir, we've just recieved a report that a Danish fishing boat has been spotted in our territorial waters off Maine."
"Did you say sink it?"
"You heard me, commander, I said sink it."
"Because Mark Mosely can't kick a field goal. Do you need a better reason?"
"No sir, that's good enough for me."