In a world gone awry -- overrun by natural disasters, man-made disasters, disease, pestilence, "60 Seconds With Jimmy Kimmel," SUVs, American imperialism, laugh-less sitcoms, Starbucks, the inevitable collapse of Social Security, gingivitis and Paris Hilton -- I feel somewhat guilty that I am still constantly peeved and piqued by ridiculous NFL touchdown celebrations.
Most troubling are wide receivers, the nouveau divas of the turf, who treat end-zone pay dirt like Madonna treats king-size waterbeds.
(Note to Readers: It is possible I have written this exact same column every year for the past decade; if so, I apologize. But I'm sitting there every NFL Sunday -- eight TV screens flickering in front of me -- tortured as I take in these nickel-and-dime Siegfried & Roys contorting, convulsing and catapulting themselves with "Hey-Ma-look-no-hands!" jamborees.)
From distant Funky Chickens and Dirty Birds, we are now far beyond cell phones and Sharpies -- the other side of the goal line has become a Twilight Zone of creepy entertainment. And, yes, it is entertainment, we are told. Oh, really? Wideouts are to vaudeville as Season-All is to haute cuisine.
This problem extends beyond the holy trinity of offenders, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Chad Johnson -- we'll get back to them shortly; well, maybe -- to lesser lights.
There is the Giants' Plaxico Burress, who, after most touchdown passes, kneels in prayer, then pops up and begins to alternately strut and glare.
There is the Cowboys' Patrick Crayton, who has scored all of three times in his NFL career and likes to engage in a little duck dance. Oh, Patrick -- why, why, why? It doesn't make your family happy, it doesn't make most fans happy, it doesn't make the fundamentalists happy.
This past Sunday, there was the Steelers' Hines Ward, who decided to mock Johnson's "Riverdance" jig with one of his own, and there was the Chargers' Keenan McCardell, who mocked Owens's pull-a-white-towel-outof-your-pocket-and-put-it-overyour-wrist waiter routine that he debuted earlier in the game.
These guys are more irritating than irritable bowel syndrome.
(By the way, don't get me started on poker celebrations. It's one thing to do the Lambeau Leap after catching a 64-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre, it's a whole other thing to high-five a gaggle of your fellow Internet punks after catching a river straight against Howard Lederer. And I can't tell them to act like they've been there before because none of them has been there before.)
Frankly, wideouts are a bit like strippers -- next year, there's always a younger, bustier one coming along.
One of this season's sexiest models, the Bengals' Johnson, says he wants to do something different every time he scores. He's already done pushups with a biceps flex, plus various dance sequences. By season's end, he'll use a mini-trampoline to vault into a skybox and sing "I Feel Pretty" from "West Side Story." Yo, Chad: You're a wide receiver with a gold tooth; 10 years from now, you'll own a car dealership in suburban Cincinnati or you'll be wandering the set of the NFL Network.
They say this stuff is a generational thing. They're right -- I didn't like the cheap celebrations when I was 7 years old, either.
My friends, I'm paying to watch football, I'm not paying to watch "Footloose."
(Actually, I don't pay at all, because I stay at home and watch it all on TV, which, despite its myriad faults and many critics, remains a remarkably good invention.)
So the next time the Panthers' Steve Smith slides to the grass and strikes a pose, I'm going to reach right through my 27-inch Sony television screen, grab the miscreant by the neck and take a picture of him being tossed into my trash compacter. What, like I won't do it? Try me.
And, trust me, I practice what I preach when it comes to taking success in stride. Do you know what I do when I finish a kick-butt column? I'm like Marvin Harrison -- I just hand it to the editor.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Michael Bamberger of Sports Illustrated ratted out Michelle Wie for a rules violation last week and she was disqualified from an LPGA tournament. Don't sportswriters have more important things to do? (D.J. DuBose; Greendale, Wis.)
Q. Does Couch Slouch have a dress code? (Arthur Schwartz; Massillon, Ohio)
A. I wouldn't call it a "dress code," but I do put my pants on one leg at a time.
Q. One of Ozzie Guillen's hobbies is bullfighting. Could he possibly find a more dangerous weekend pursuit? (Hank Landers; Bethel Park, Pa.)
A. One of my hobbies is watching Chris Berman.
Q. Instead of a lawyer, my ex-wife brought a sports agent to work on our prenuptial agreement. Was this a warning sign I missed? (Rick Gauger; Lansing, Ill.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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