As Muhammad Ali can tell you, you're not much of a champ if you don't put your title on the line. So this afternoon at 4 p.m., your friendly neighborhood columnist, who won the title of Fastest Two-Finger Typist in Washington six weeks ago, will defend his crown against eight of the toughest two-digiters this tough town can produce.
The scene will be the Outrigger Room of Trader Vic's Restaurant in the Capital Hilton Hotel at 16th and K streets NW. The public is invited -- and so are bets on whichever of the nine contestants looks to you like a champion. All proceeds go to Children's Hospital.
The psychological warfare has already reached the level of Fast Eddie and Minnesota Fats at their stalking best.
Art Kosatka, a public relations operative for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, wanted to be sure I knew that he was rubbing down his typing fingers each night with a special powder.
Ken Labowitz, an Alexandria lawyer, trotted out the old I'm-More-Experienced-Than-You trick. Was I aware, he asked, that he'd been a two-finger typist since law school?
But the master stroke belonged to Toni Schettewi, a secretary for General Electric in Rockville and the runner-up to me in the August contest. When I called to ask if she'd like me to arrange for a typewriter to be brought to the Hilton, she smoothly informed me that she'd be bringing her own. Does Fast Eddie use someone else's cue?
In any case, if you think you'd like to watch nine adults from the modern era typing like retreads from the Victorian Age, you're cordially invited to attend today's type-off. Admission is free, the cause is a good one and a good time will be had by all, even if not all of us can win.
Speaking of that, I'd just like to say this to Art, Ken, Toni and the five other contestants -- Stan Allen, Jack Mulligan, Karen Woodfin, Eugene Mornell and Robert Bamberger.
Unlike Ali, I may not be the greatest. But my fingers float like butterflies and sting like bees. Besides, my poetry rhymes. And as the kids would say, I'm psyched to the max. Consider yourselves warned.