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Friday, January 12, 2001

So, Michael, how are you feeling?

I'm really glad you asked, because otherwise I wasn't going to complain about this knot that starts at the base of my neck and goes halfway down my back. Or the stiffness in my shoulder, or the way my arm feels like it does after I go bowling.

You went bowling?

Funny you should ask, because I'm trying to remember the last time I went bowling. I'm sure it was with David, and we must have both been bored, or just trying to get out of the house. For a while we went bowling every week or two, but it's been a few years now.

So you didn't hurt your back bowling?

Oh, is that what you meant? No, it was either all the digging I did to keep my garage from flooding, or I did it lifting the two five-gallon bottles of water that the delivery guy left on my front walk yesterday. In the rain, by the way.

You carried two of those big water bottles?

Not at once, you know me better than that.

Don't you know how —

You know perfectly well I always bend my knees and lift with my legs. But those things are awkward to get a grip on, and I get a twinge almost every time I lift one.

Do we have to talk about this?

Well, you asked.

So how's work?

I'm glad you asked, because I've been getting a lot done this week, thanks to the rain.

But you hate the rain. How does it help?

Think about it. I don't like being out in the rain, so I don't run any unnecessary errands. Just a quick zip to the post office between showers, and right back. Besides, why run over to Best Buy when I've sworn off buying CDs until next year?

So you stay home and spend the whole day working then?

How long have you known me? I stay home and fool around just as much as ever. I watch the birds pecking in the garden. There have been about twice as many birds as usual, since the rain started. I wonder where they all were before this. I've been putting out that wild bird seed, but not enough to attract this many new birds. The rain must be making the worms easier to get to. Yesterday I saw —

Whoa! Enough with the birds already. I thought you said you were getting a lot of work done.

I was getting to that. Even with all the time I spend diddling around with other things, I still have more time to get things done. You know, the Boss changed our chart of accounts halfway through the year, and in the last couple of days I've redone all the check records with the new account numbers.

He changed the account numbers?

He wanted to make it easier on the accountant.

What did the accountant say?

He didn't care one way or the other. And then last night I worked until almost eight getting the 1099 information together. I have to go through all the checks, one by one, and —

Boooorrrrrring! Can we talk about something else?

Well, you asked.

So who's going to the Super Bowl?

I think it's pretty obvious the Vikings are a team of destiny, because they're the only strictly offensive team that's been winning in the playoffs. And the Raiders are on a pretty good roll right now. I don't think the Ravens can score enough points to beat them.

You sound like you know what you're talking about. You must have done pretty well in the pool this year.

I came in fourth.

And the money goes to — ?

The top three.

So tell me, including all the weeks you came in first, how much money did you win this year?

Shut up. You know very well that I didn't win a single week.

Sounds like you were lucky to finish as high as third over all.

Story of my life. Consistently not-quite-good-enough.

I've heard that about you. But weren't you in third place going into the last week?

Oh, yeah.

What happened? Did you pick the 49ers again?

I picked the 49ers every week. How do you think I'd feel if I picked them to lose and they won?

Okay, but they were playing the Broncos in Denver. They weren't even going to keep it close, and whoever picked them and passed you in the pool —


Your brother-in law? He beat you out of the money because you couldn't put aside your sentimental attachment to the home team? That's pretty sad, man. How much money was it?

Do we have to talk about this?

Well, you asked.

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