[clari.feature.mike_royko] TAKE 1 OF 1

clarinews@clarinet.com (01/18/90)

RELEASE: 01/18/90
	(ATTENTION EDITORS: Mike Royko is on vacation until Jan. 29. While
he is away, we are resending some of his favorite columns from the
	By Mike Royko
	I've known the two of them for years, and it used to be a good
marriage. And sometimes it still is. But now there is stress, tension
and conflict that could send the marriage into the courts.
	``I love her,'' the husband told me, ``but I don't know if I can
take it. After all these years, we might be headed toward Splitsville.''
(For those who are not followers of gossip columns, Splitsville is where
estranged couples are always heading.)
	You used to be so happy, I pointed out. What went wrong?
	``You won't believe this. Or maybe you will. But the problem is pro
football. Sunday football.''
	I wasn't surprised. Sunday football is a common cause of marital
conflict. You want to watch the game. But your wife doesn't want to.
	``No, that's not it. That used to be a problem. We quarreled a
little over that. But it was nothing real serious.''
	Then what is the problem?
	``The problem is that last year, she decided that as long as I was
going to watch football every Sunday, she'd watch it with me. She said:
`If you can't beat `em, join `em.'
	``So now, when the game starts, she's right there in front of the
TV with me. If there's more than one game on, she'll watch both of them
with me. And she watches Monday night football with me, too.''
	But that's wonderful. It's togetherness. It shows a laudable
willingness on her part to learn to share your interests. She's a fine
	``It's awful. I can't stand it. I might move out.''
	But why? Does she eat too much of the pizza?
	``No. It's the things she says. You see she just doesn't understand
the game. Even worse, she thinks it's funny. Can you imagine -- thinking
that professional football is funny?''
	No, I can't imagine that. What does she think is so funny?
	``I'll give you some examples. Let's say a linebacker really goes
after the quarterback, but a back blocks him, so the announcer says: `He
picked up the blitz.'
	``And she says: `He picked up the blitz? Is that something like
getting herpes?'
	``Then there's a pass play, and the announcer says: `He ran a
down-and-out.' And she says: `Oh, the poor man is down and out. I feel
so sorry for the truly destitute.'''
	Oh, a few wry remarks can't be that bad.
	``A few? Every play. The announcer says: `They're going into their
nickel defense,' and she'll say: `What tightwads. You'd think they could
afford a fifty-cent defense or even one for a dollar. I mean, you get
what you pay for, right?'
	``And every time the announcer says that they're going into the
`pro set,' you know what she does? She holds up her beer and yells:
`Prosit to you!' That's German for `cheers.' Then she belts down the
beer and the next time he says they're in the pro set, she does it
again: `Prosit, prosit, cheerio, down the hatch!'''
	That could be a bit distracting.
	``Every time the announcer says that they threw to the tight end,
she says: `Is that fellow tight again? My goodness, he was tight last
week, and the week before. He's been tight all season. Why can't they
get him into an AA program. I mean, he's still young and could be
rehabilitated. Tsk, tsk, such a fine-looking boy, too.'
	``And if the tight end drops the ball, she'll say: `See? They
should throw it to one of their sober people.'
	``Then if they throw it to the wide receiver, she'll say: `You
know, that announcer must be blind or there's something wrong with our
picture, because he's not wide at all -- why, he's very slender. Don't
you think he's slender? I think he's slender. Why, if they think he's
wide, what would they think of Mrs. Johnson down the street, with her
hips. Now there's somebody who's really wide.'
	``If the strong safety is in on a play, or gets mentioned for
anything, she'll say: `Those announcers are so biased. I don't think
that he's any stronger than that safety, but they never mention that the
other fellow is strong. And even if he is stronger, why do they have to
keep talking about it? The other safety must get very discouraged.'
	``Then they'll say something about the nose guard. And she'll
always say something like: `That must be such a dull job. I could see
being a bank guard, or a prison guard, but who would want to be a nose
guard? Besides, why would anybody want to steal a nose in the first
place? I think they are just paranoid, if you ask me.'''
	I don't know how you stand it.
	``I don't think I can take another season of it. You know what she
said during the last exhibition game? The announcer identified one of
the linemen as a pulling guard, and she said: `I really think that is a
terrible invasion of his privacy. I mean, a man's sex habits are
nobody's business but his own.' No, I can't take it. I might just pack
up and move out.''
	Look, maybe for the sake of your marriage you should give some
thought to not watching football. I know it's a lot to ask, but why
don't you turn on some other sport.
	``I tried it. I watched tennis.''
	What happened?
	``The announcer said: `Love-three.'
	``She said: `How promiscuous. Disgusting.'''
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