Way in the back corner of the Redskin locker room today, the levity of Lilliput was about.
There chatted wide receivers Virgil Seay and Alvin Garrett. Seay is 5 feet 8, Garrett is 5-7.
Consequently, in the locker room world of rib and jest, they are constantly cornered by the Redskins' gang of Gullivers.
Said the receivers coach, Charley Taylor, "I call them the fidgets."
Said quarterback Joe Theismann, "They aren't exactly towers of humanity. We call them a lot of things: fidgets, midgets, Smurfs."
It is the last name that sticks to Seay and Garrett more closely than most cornerbacks.
Said running back Terry Metcalf, "I started calling them Smurfs last year. I just happened to be watching the Looney Tunes one day and saw the Smurfs, those little people in the cartoons. And that's what Virgil and Alvin are, little people."
Seay, a starting wide receiver, clarified with a smile, "I'm Papa Smurf and Alvin's just Smurf."
From three lockers down, Garrett, No. 2 on the depth chart behind Seay, clarified further. "Actually, I'm called Regular Smurf. And no matter what they say, Virgil is not 5-8. He is only 5-7 1/3."
Seay and Garrett are roommates who playfully argue about inches in the locker room. Once they reach the field, however, they skedaddle and scram for yards.
In 1981, Seay caught 26 passes for 472 yards and three touchdowns. His 18.2-yards-per-catch average ranked eighth best in the NFC. He started the last seven games and remains in the starting cast this season.
"When the guys in the secondary realize you have speed, they move out. They learn to respect you," said Seay, 24.
Garrett, 26, was acquired in the 10th week of last season when the New York Giants placed him on waivers. It was the second time in three years that he had been waived. The Chargers shipped him out in 1979, his rookie year.
But Garrett was confident he could play. "I knew somebody would pick me up when the Giants released me," he said. The very next day, the Redskins became that somebody.
For the 1981 Redskins, Garrett played in four games, returning two kickoffs for 40 yards, then broke his arm and was placed on injured reserve.
In this camp, Garrett has been the player annually stamped "Pleasant Surprise." He has used his speed to good advantage in receiving passes and punt returning. He not only ranks No. 2 at wide receiver behind Seay, but also No. 2 behind Mike Nelms as the team's punt returner.
Wayne Sevier, special teams coach, said, "I was a coach at San Diego when Alvin was released there. It was a difficult decision made by management. Alvin is a tough son of a gun. He's a street fighter. He was fighting the image of being an underdog football player."
Garrett still is trying to run a down and out from that image.
"My size has hurt me more than anything," he said. "I know I can play with the big boys. I've never really gotten a chance. When I was with the Giants, they didn't have a receiver under 6 feet tall. I guess they just liked tall people."
Garrett, who weighs 178 pounds (three more than Seay), added, "I'm quick. I run routes well. I've got a good vertical jump. I have all of the qualifications."
According to Taylor, "Size has nothing to do with receivers. Look at Mel Gray, Harold Jackson or Cliff Branch, great receivers who weren't big."
With Seay and Garrett, things don't always come down to a matter of inches.
Said reserve quarterback Tom Flick, "They always seem to be wide open."
Added Theismann, "They both run crisp, adept routes. They know where to go and where the ball will be. I never lose track of them out there."
There is more than a closeness in size with Garrett and Seay. There is also a closeness of friendship. "We're like brothers," said Garrett, who lives with Seay in Fairfax.
"We always have something going, jokes or something," Seay said. "Once we get on the field, though, we both know what we have to do. We are in competition."
In the locker room, they are a team within a team. The joking, like these tiresome times of two-a-day practices, goes on and on and on.
"We've been called every short name in the book," said Seay.
Garrett described how he and Seay strike back at some of the ribbing-and-roaring offensive linemen. You envision Liechtenstein attacking North America.
Said Garrett: "The linemen, we call them the 'The Hogs.' Virgil and I double-team them as they walk toward the practice field. We go after people like Mark May and Joe Jacoby and try to tackle them together."
Not wanting to finish the story with false bravado, Garrett admitted, "Mostly, though, I guess we just hit and run. They are too big to knock down."