I sense it's going badly. Can you feel it, too? It's slipping away from us, isn't it? We've lost so many things here: the Senators twice, soccer so many times, the ABA, the USFL. We even lost the Cracker Jack game.
Now we get a chance of a lifetime, a really big time event like The Summit. And we're going to lose it, too, aren't we?
They'll move it. You'll see.
They'll take it somewhere else, someplace with skyboxes, and all we'll end up with is an Old Timer's Summit. Gromyko and Nixon. (It's always Gromyko. He's the Chris Schenkel of Soviet politics. Russia doesn't have many Old Timers. The others are either dead or slamming rocks in a gulag. There's a bad pension plan in The Politburo. Rather literal on severance. Ask Boris "Bad Dude" Yeltsin.)
Gorbachev probably didn't want to come here in the first place. Would you, if you had to stay in the Soviet Embassy? Such a forbidding place. If the next Summit is in Phoenix, Gorbachev can stay at Embassy Suites and have free breakfast.
You think Gorbachev's having a good time so far? That treaty signing didn't look like a lot of laughs. (Was Eric Dickerson there? He hasn't signed anything this week.) And the formal greeting? Borrrring. Continentals? Howitzers? That's entertainment? That's no numbers at all. Channel 5's "Bewitched" blew it out of the tub. David Wolper's out in Beverly Hills having breakfast at Nate N' Al's, totally hysterical, doubled over in the sturgeon.
So what's on the agenda now that it's party time? Raisa going shopping with Sallie Melendez? (As long as we're making fashion statements, Gorbachev's much better styled than the average Soviet pol who looks like he gets his clothes at a tractor swap. But somebody ought to take him up the Pike to Syms for a suit.)
I'm sensing Washington can't give him what he wants in a Summit. New York has The Russian Tea Room. Vodka, blini, caviar. What do we have? There's an awful lot of pressure on Mel and Duke to whip up some serious borscht.
Say Gorbachev wants two tickets to the Redskins game? No can do, Mik, it's Dallas week. Jerry Buss in L.A. would probably give him The Forum rent free for a night, like he does with Kareem. Will Abe Pollin cut him the same deal at Capital Centre? Does Gorbachev have enough time to drive all the way out there? Does that stretch Zil have a big enough gas tank? Does he have enough money for parking?
I worry about these things.
I worry that in the next Summit Gorbachev will demand a piece of the action on T-shirts, parking and concessions. What if he wants a domed Summit? Who does he think he is, Jack Kent Cooke?
I worry that the networks will ruin it for us. Gorbachev will go on "The NFL Today," and The Greek will make an over/under on refuseniks. Or Brent, with his typical foaming enthusiasm, will set the scene for "that big shootout in Afghanistan." I worry Rick (Doc) Walker will try to get Gorbachev on TV wearing a baseball cap advertising Walker's Scoreboard Lounge.
I worry about Don King. He could steal The Summit from us. Tempt Gorbachev with "a thronization, a bejeweled sceptre, a crown and other fabulous doo-dads." Bring the whole deal out to Las Vegas, hold it in the parking lot at Caesars Palace, have ring girls hold up the number of missiles both sides have agreed to reduce.
I worry about Cincinnati. It has the Reds.
I worry about Al Davis. Why couldn't they hold The Summit in Irwindale? How many gravel pits are going to be inconvenienced? Let me know if you hear Gorbachev say, "Tolko vigrai, devochka." That's Russian for "Just win, baby."
I worry about Dallas. What if Gorbachev wants to play in the NFL? He'd be the youngest man on the Cowboys defensive line. Bum Bright might make him player-coach, and tell Tom Landry to take his flex defense to Gorky.
I worry about Orlando. He can go there confident he won't be confronted by any human rights demonstrations. When was the last time you saw Goofy carry a sign?
There are cities I don't worry about: Like L.A. You think Gorbachev wants to spend a week being told, "You're beautiful, Gorby baby, don't ever change. Have your people call my people. We'll do lunch. I'll send you to my aerobics consultant. She'll tighten your quads, and validate your parking."
Atlanta. Enough already with Ted Turner.
Miami. The wrong Cubans.
Chicago. He wants cold, let him go to Siberia.
Philadelphia. They'll boo. Worse, if you cross the union line, they'll pop you in the mouth.
New Orleans. Sure it's got a dome, but how do you negotiate with people who say, "Who dat sey dey gon beat our Saints?"
San Francisco. Yeah, sure, Hummm Baby.
New York. He can't get across town. He'll have to take the subway. It's one thing to say you're a man of the people, but to actually ride with them? If he asks the wrong guy for a quarter, he can get shot.
But I sense we're fighting a losing battle here.
The Summit's going to leave, because everything leaves. It's the nature of the city. You're only one election away from the highway.
I have one request: Anywhere but Jacksonville.