Quote of the Day:
“Hmph. I never heard of anybody staying in Corinth before.” –TB
TB was saddened to hear this afternoon of the death of Todd Christensen, the former All-Pro Oakland Raider tight end and later an ESPN college football analyst.
TC, you see, was arch-nemesis to TB. For a short period of time. The amount of time it takes the Vaught-Hemingway press box elevator to descend to ground level to be more precise. Less than ten seconds if you want even greater exactitude. And if that’s not good enough for you, well, I’m in the market for a new arch-nemesis.
So it’s details you want, eh?
Well…….TB at the time was runnin’ with some big dog Ole Miss Rebel fans. It was in the last years of the previous century and though I am maroon to the marrow, I often found myself joining friends in Oxford. Sometimes I even got to sit up in the high dollar suites where the booze flows freely. Meaning, it didn’t cost me anything so I drank a lot. So it was on this particular Saturday night of an Ole Miss victory against Arkansas.
At Ole Miss games, especially when State has a good team and they ain’t playin’ we, I tend to be completely detached emotionally from the ebb and flow of the contest. I get observational. Nonplussed. Contemplative, even. And back then I should mention, I drank a lot of beer. A lot. Of beer.
Which, as anyone who knows me can attest, does emphatically NOT mean that I got belligerent. The opposite, in fact. I DID, however comma, tend to have trouble distinguishing between the thoughts that were better off imprisoned within my head and the words that escaped my mouth.
So Stone, and Edwards and RW and me, we board the elevator for the express ride to earth. Who should share the small space with us but the famous ESPN announcing crew, “some guy” and Todd Christensen, all-pro Raiders Tight End, who I was always a fan of. But dig this. I am not celebrity star struck. I keep my trap shut and let people get on with their business without dealing with the likes of me. I took note of TC’s presence, then assumed my usual elevator position–hands front, eyes down–same as everybody in the elevator except cocky-ass TC.
He was runnin’ his yap, having failed to get enough of it during the preceding three hours of color commentary. Not only was he blatherin’ on in the traditionally quiet sanctuary of the elevator environment, but he was doing it loudly. Something about a coed who was embarrassing herself trying to hit on him. The play by play guy kept responding to him, but I couldn’t hear him because his voice was low and eyes were down, appropriately. At some point Todd exclaimed, “that girl can go get drunk on the Square, I gotta get back to Corinth!”
At this, I broke character and looked up. Sort of blank-stared old Todd. We made eye contact. The play-by-play guy said, “Is that where you’re staying tonight?”
“Yeah” said TC, still looking at TB with an expression somewhere south of challenge, not quite disdain, definitely a touch of curiosity.
“Hmph.” said I, turning away. And I didn’t mean anything by it except that I thought it was really strange because I’d never heard of anybody staying the night in Corinth. Even people from Corinth probably didn’t stay the night there very much. And it’s not like Corinth is on the way to the airport. Any airport. It’s nowhere. And an unnecessarily long late night drive. I was bemused. Puzzled. Inquistitve, even. As we broke eye contact I muttered, just a little louder than I intended to, because of course my intent was to say nothing, and by all of this I mean I spoke aloud.
“I never heard of anybody staying in Corinth before.”
That was it. Completely benign.
No nothing. It was over as far as I was concerned, except that I couldn’t shake the idea that there must be something about Corinth worth knowing, because, you see, the doors were opening.
As I walked out I heard behind me, loud and clear**, with the intent that I would hear but directed to the side, toward his play by play guy because TC was a good Mormon, I reckon, and didn’t really want any trouble in Oxford, Mississippi, on a Saturday night, “These Ole Miss frat boys get all liquored up and think they can run their mouth and it would take me about two seconds to take him down.”
I laughed because, of course, I ain’t now, then or never was a frat boy and I damn sure wasn’t an Ole Miss frat boy, but I know all about ‘em, friends with many of ‘em and I knew exactly what he was talking about and it clearly was someone else. I kept walking without looking back, laughed and elbowed Stone, “heh heh, did you hear that?”
It was Stone’s turn to blank stare back at me. “Yeah, jackass, I just knew you were gonna smart off to him again and we were gonna have to whip Todd Christensen’s ass.” His 6 foot 4, 240 chiseled pound ass. To say nothing of one of the most magnificent specimens of facial hair this side of “Advice Stache.”****
I looked back for my new enemy, but he was long gone. Had to get back to Corinth for some damn reason. Lucky bastard.******
**The quote is inexact due to the vagaries of memory. The part about frat boys, running mouths and taking me down all were uttered in some fashion, and I really think there was cursing, but TC was, according to his obit, a devout Mormon and as I cannot swear to the accuracy of my memory of him cursing, I softened the blow. He was a worthy adversary and I’ve long enjoyed telling “our” story during ballgames.
****Advice Stache is the Facebook alter ego of Mac. I plan on giving “Advice Stache” some questions and letting him respond here in the MTGU, because “Advice Stache” is hilarious.
******Just in case anyone out there is missing TB’s humor vis a vis whipping TC’s ass, even with Stone’s plucky assistance, let me be clear. He would’ve “taken me down” in seconds. Stone would’ve gotten some licks in though.