I Manage to Screw Things up

You’ll no doubt recall that last week, I left you hanging when I said that this week’s column would be “a bizarre tale involving me, four other guys, a volleyball and a fluorescent pink hat.” This has not changed; however, there’s some business I need to attend to first.

Mrs. Linda Westfall, who is the ASB advisor at good ol’ Elsinore High, has the dubious honor of reading the announcements each morning. Most of the time, no one pays attention because, quite frankly, no one cares. But on October 3, Mrs. Westfall caught everyone’s attention when she made a statement regarding one of the wrestling coaches. “Mr. Larson,” she said, “gets the award for TIGHTEST BUNS OF THE WEEK.”

I did not make that up. She really said it. Out loud. To 2,300 people.Desiring to know just why this Larson fellow won instead of me, I talked to Mrs. Westfall. She explained that as she was reading the announcements, Mr. Larson was sitting there, tickling her, trying to make her mess up, and she wanted to get him back. She apparently figured the best way to do this would be to utterly humiliate herself, hence her buttocks-related statement, and, boy, I’ll bet her being embarrassed really upset Mr. Larson.

Actually, I’m grateful to Mrs. Westfall, because as long as people go on making statements of that caliber, I don’t have to work — I can just print their quotes and I’ll earn my living as a humorist.

Now — our story.

Lately, a bunch of guys at Elsinore High have been pushing to get a boys’ volleyball team started. Because of the miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of red tape, however, they have been, so far, unsuccessful in their attempts. The school’s compromise was to hold a four-man-team tournament, hoping to pacify the volleyball enthusiasts. It didn’t, and yours truly became involved in the tournament.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “They let this goofball play on a team?” This person who is a real “guy” only because he sometimes flexes his biceps in front of a mirror and who works in a Greyhound bus station was actually permitted to play?!?” Well, of course not. Don’t be silly. I was the MANAGER of a team.

This travesty came about when four of my friends (named, in order of importance, Dave, Stephen, Chris and Jeff) decided they wanted to be a team. Unfortunately, the Official Tournament Rules state that each four-man team must have, logically, five members, in case one of them cannot play. My friends thought this rule was stupid, so, in protest, they asked the person who would be least likely to join a volleyball team or do anything more athletic than kicking a freshman to be their alternate. That person was me. They put my name on the form with the word,”MANAGER,” next to it after reassuring me that, come heck or high water, I would not actually have to play.

Remember that everyone involved was taking a risk here. They were at risk because they knew that if heck and high water BOTH came and I did have to play, they would almost certainly be humiliatingly defeated. I was at risk because I knew that if I did play and we were humiliating defeated, they would almost certainly gang up on me and remove my digestive organs with sticks. So we all just hoped and hoped that no one would get sick.

Being the responsible leader-type that I am, I spent literally minutes learning such important volleyball terminology as, “Hey!” and “Get up!” and “I don’t care if your knee is shattered! Get out there and play!” I felt certain as a manager, I would need to stand on the sidelines and scream this complex vocabulary at an ear-splitting volume.

Another thing I did in preparation for the tournament was to go and pay $8.52 (about a week’s pay for a writer) to have the word “MANAGER” painted on a fluorescent pink hat so there would be no doubt as to who exactly had the least amount of taste in the entire gym. I also found a clipboard and necktie so I would look official (that is, if by “official” we mean “really stupid”).

Now would be the time when I would tell about the actual games, but I can’t because I seem to have wasted several hundred words on the preliminary, irrelevant details. So I’ll have to continue November 7, next week being Halloween, which will, of course, require an especially amusing piece from yours truly.

Whew! If I’m aiming for “especially amusing,” I’d better start now!

Kind of boring, this column, as it was all set-up for the next volleyball episodes. Still, it was nice to mock Mrs. Westfall (who was richly deserving of mockery) and her ill-conceived buttocks-related statement.