Now comes the hard part for the USFL: figuring out how to spend the one dollar. Even with a low inflation rate, one dollar's not a whole pile of money.
If one dollar burns a hole in your pocket, you're wearing cheap pants.
You know how they say: Don't spend it all in one place. How many different places can you go to with one dollar?
It's hard to see this as a big win for the USFL. Where did they find this jury, at Food Shoppers Warehouse? How much lower could they have gone? An envelope full of Carol Wright cents-off coupons? Not much momentum in one dollar.
What does one dollar get you these days?
Change for a dollar.
It can get Harry Usher on the subway going uptown from Foley Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where, if they don't confiscate his credit cards, he can hop on a bus and go back to his home in Los Angeles. (Usher's fortunate the trial was in New York. The verdict was announced yesterday afternoon at the start of rush hour. During rush hour here in Washington, one dollar doesn't even get you on the Metro.)
It can get you a gallon of gas -- a little more, even. A USFL limo can get all the way to the Jersey state line. Just think how immobile the USFL would have been if the trial had taken place during the Carter administration.
This is what a federal jury says the USFL deserves in damages:
A Good Humor, most of a Ha agen-Dazs cone, half a Dove Bar.
A bottle of beer, as long as it's domestic.
One Godiva chocolate. One designer cookie. Not both.
About three minutes' worth of a room rental in Trump Towers.
Enough ink for Kelvin Bryant to sign his Redskins contract.
Four local pay-telephone calls to The George Michael Sports Machine to find out the latest score from the Jacksonville Bulls game.
Two chicken nuggets. (And a trip to the Fixin's Bar.)
One hand of blackjack at a downtown Las Vegas casino.
A one-way ticket to Palookaville.
Harvey Myerson's autograph.
Enough tissues to dry the tears of all nine USFL fans.
Manny, but not Moe or Jack.
A McDonald's hamburger, but not the L & T.
One rental video at 7-Eleven through July 31. After then, like everything else at 7-Eleven, it will cost $29.95.
For one dollar, Earl Scheib might even paint part of your hood.
What do you think Jim Kelly and Herschel Walker will do for one dollar? Not play pro football, that's for sure. (If Tom Landry isn't smiling now, he's made of wax. Mr. Dorsett, meet Mr. Walker.)
How many gerbils do you suppose one dollar would get you? (You didn't think I'd forgotten our Washington Federals. This is a true story: Berl Bernhard, the former owner of that USFL juggernaut, phoned here yesterday afternoon and asked about the verdict. He was told the USFL had won, and the award was one dollar. "You're kidding," he said incredulously. "Nope. One buck," he was told. He then did what any sane man would -- he laughed. Composing himself, he turned philosophical and said, "A win is a win, right?" Let this be a lesson to you: Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you end up as the Orlando Renegades.)
There are, of course, still many questions to be answered. Such as: Which kind of dollar will the USFL get, the common paper kind, or the collector item Susan B. Anthony kind? Does the USFL want its dollar here, or would it rather take the dollar to Canada, where it would fetch about $1.20?
Let's also remember there are treble damages awarded in an antitrust suit. So the one dollar is really three dollars, pending appeal by the NFL, of course. (The NFL could petition that the award be kicked down to 35 cents, on the grounds that the value of the USFL is roughly equal to that of a Snickers bar.)
Three dollars is nothing to sneeze at. Three dollars gets you into Memorial Stadium on "Three Buck" night. Can you imagine Donald Trump cheek-to-jowl with Wild Bill Hagy? Three dollars at K mart is like $500 at Tiffany's. Three dollars gets you a mixed drink at a yuppie bar. Three dollars gets you enough cocktail franks to last a lifetime.
Speaking of lifetimes, say goodnight, USFL.