You say you're down in the dumps because it's a crisp autumn Sunday, and your wife took the kids to her mother's, and you're well-stocked with chips, and there's plenty of beer in the fridge, and Larry and his brothers, Darryl and Darryl, are coming over, but there's no NFL football on the tube because of the strike. Is that what's troubling you, bunky?

Well, you can . . .

Mow your lawn. Mow your neighbor's lawn. Mow my lawn. (People living in condos, you're out of luck on this one. Brush your cats.)

Gather your copies of "Theismann" and begin reading responsively from the part where Joe looks in the mirror and falls in love.

Light a candle for the aptly named Gary Hogeboom, who most certainly will go boom when the strike ends and his union buddies express their heartfelt delight that he crossed the line.

Send a pick-me-up bouquet to Merlin Olsen.


Invite a Redskin over and have him recreate his favorite play. For example, Russ Grimm might block you right through your dining room wall, thereby giving you something to do next Sunday as well.

Pretend it's a normal football Sunday and tune in "60 Minutes" at 7:25.

Engage in real interpersonal violence instead of this sublimated violence. You don't need vicarious warriors. Play touch football. (Memo to orthopedists: Big payday coming up. Expect large volume in hospital emergency rooms: broken wrists, collarbones, dislocated shoulders, etc.)

Say hello to your children. You don't see them much on Sunday afternoons in the fall. That's Danny on your left. Yes, he certainly has grown; he's driving now, you know. Those girls on the couch, they're Lori and Diane, you remember telling them not to bother you until February, don't you?


Call up a downtown hotel, say you're Marion Barry, ask for a free room.

Play "Strike-Breaker!," a new parlor game in which up to six players roll the dice for order of play, then create innovative scenarios in which Mark Gastineau's legs get broken.

Satisfy your gambling habit by betting on Sunday public affairs programs. For example, you could establish an over-under on how many times Sam Donaldson will interrupt the guest. (In a shouting match take debating pit bull Robert Novak and give the points.)

Grab a shotgun and announce you're picketing in Kansas City.

Substitute a new male bonding experience: Rotate your tires. Buy motor oil. Run a chain saw through your mahogany dining room set.

Go somewhere. The library is closed. The bank is closed. The liquor store is closed. I guess you'll have to go to the 7-Eleven and pay $17.95 for razor blades.

Rent cassettes of old Redskins games, and at appropriate interludes stop the action and create a do-it-yourself telestrater: Write on your TV screen with a grease pencil and tell your dog what to look for on the replay. (Those of you pushing 40 will remember doing this many, many years ago as you watched "Winky Dink.")

Drive to Baltimore. Stand outside the outfield wall in Memorial Stadium and try to catch all the home runs hit off the Orioles pitchers.

Chant, "33-Gut, red right Z-curl, hut, hut."

Get in the spirit of the strike by having a "Bus Adventure." Invite the Scab Bus. Invite John Madden and his bus. Invite Al Neuharth and his bus. (We're Going To More, Smaller Cities. D4.) Invite Loretta Lynn and her bus. Then bring in Darryl -- "They Call Me The Bus Killer" -- Grant to punch out a few windows.

Plot ways to kill the bleached geek with the Australian accent in the Energizer commercial.

Watch the CBS broadcast of last year's Super Bowl. (Those of you who don't want the ending spoiled, stop reading now.) Impress your non-English speaking friends by picking the Giants to win big.

Give blood. All day.

Reminisce about great NFL telecasts of the past, like the Heidi Game, or NBC's blank Super Bowl minute.

Sign on for Phyllis Richman's "How Much Red Meat Can You Stand?" culinary tour of great Redskins restaurants in the area.

Make voodoo dolls of Jack Donlan and Gene Upshaw. Stick pins in them. (A Washington Post/ABC poll found that 86 percent of those who said they planned to stick pins in voodoo dolls on Sunday were disgusted with both the players and the owners, and the other 14 percent were hoping to move up on the Redskin season ticket waiting list.)

Smack somebody.

Play "The New Sunday You Make The Call" Game. Because of the strike we've had to dump the old format, so you're no longer asked to rule on interference or ineligible receiver downfield. In keeping with the public affairs spirit of football-less Sundays, you'll be shown a videotape of a Joe Biden speech, and asked whether they're his words or somebody else's. You make the call.

Have the same insightful, stimulating dialogue you normally do on football Sundays. Turn to your dog and say, "Can you believe that catch? I mean was that un-freaking-believable, or what?"

Gear up for Monday morning's deadly elevator ride to your office. Practice asking, "What's your feeling on the balance of trade deficit?" instead of the usual, "How 'bout those Hogs?"

Breathe a sigh of relief that you aren't obligated to watch the game and make idiotic talk-show host chit-chat about wideouts and safety blitzes. (Remember the time you confused the H-back with the H-bomb and wondered why Joe Gibbs was conducting nuclear tests?)

Wait 'til next week.