I'm totally obsessed with NCAA March Madness. What are your picks?
Dear Mr. Bateman,
Initially I was going to advise the treatment of March Madness—as well as April Despondency, May-Laise, and all other acute calendrical psychological distresses—with the application of scopolamine (330µg dermal patch), Ambien (12.5 mg extended-release tablet), a palatable down-market gin, and ample cuddling (please be aware that these constitute off-label uses).
Thankfully, before I had the opportunity to embarrass myself with a demonstrated dearth of pop-cultural acumen, I was interrupted by my occasional lab assistant, Rob.
"Whoa, Lord A.," Rob intoned as he read over my teenaged typist Jarwaun's shoulder. "See, you're lucky I came in. You've got this March Madness thing all wrong."
"I been sayin' that!" Jarwaun sighed, with exasperation. "But he don't listen, and he done something so there no Google up in here."
"I did that," Rob said. "I mean, I did that by googling a lot of . . . anatomical, um, diagrams . . . and pissing Molly off."
"Ain't no Bing, neither."
"Yeah, I got no clue what that is. Anyway, listen Lord A., March Madness is, like, March, right? Which gets all crazy, on account it's the last month in the fiscal year in Canada—or at least for the Canadian government—and so all those polite, efficient little penny-pinchers go nuts trying to spend down their budgets, on account it's all Use-It-or-Lose-It funding up there, right?"
"And the whole thing is, like, totally top-to-bottom, from the federal level, all down to each province and territory and even little cities and villages. It gets nuts. Last year PM Harper, like, had to blow out this Health and Well-Being line item, and bought something like 80,000 toothbrushes and then paid US basketball stars and hookers—Canadian hookers—to hand them out in Toronto, Windsor, and Montreal. For reals. And another time there was that fucking AdScam shit—not that I slight a fucker for trying, on account," and here Rob enumerated upon his fingers, "one: he pulled the funds from the fucking Public Service Announcement budget, which seems basically fair game to me; two: he made the ads bilingual, and not just with French subtitles, but with full on French and English voice version, which is really fucking fair, considering that, three, these Québécois Nationalist Separatists are a bunch of Jew-hating, racist, mush-mouthed, Cheez-Whiz-on-the-croissant Lizard-Men douchebags that make Hitler look like a hot chick with dope conversational skills."
Jarwaun sighed. "If anyone was listenin', I could maybe look up the teams on my cell—"
"Ok, not really—that thing about the Québécois Nationalists making Hitler seem like Danica McKellar was hyperbolism, but those guys are still whack as a sack of dicks. Honest."
At this point Rob's jacket's pocket trilled, and he pulled forth a scarred cell phone festooned with color dot file folder labels, presumably absconded with from our supplies closet (note to self: If we are ever to pay Rob again, such pay should be docked for the value of 3 to 7 color dot file folder labels). He glanced at the phone's screen, then at his wrist as though he owned a watch, and then at the wall clock set to Greenwich Mean Time. He stitched his brow, looked again at his wrist, then finally re-glanced at his phone's screen.
"Yeah, I gotta bounce, fellas. Anyway, I'm sure Jarwaun knows plenty about what's up in Ottawa, with the budget and shit, and you cats can work this out in my absence. Chelsea is all lathered about some fucking basketball game this afternoon, and I promised I'd be her shining knight with hot wings and shit. How the fuck she can give fuck-one about dudes squeaking around on a fancy wood floor and bouncing their balls is just so fucking beyond me that it's just like Environment Canada's fucking million-dollar Weatheradios all over again, you know?"
And with that, our dear Rob was off again to enjoy the presence of his wonderful, wonderful "girl friend."
I shined a spotlight (newly installed by Devo after that unpleasant event with the grade-schoolers) upon Jarwaun. "I BELIEVE THAT ROB WAS EITHER INCORRECT OR FIBBLING. HIS FACTS AND THE QUESTION OF THIS PETITIONEER BATEMAN DO NOT, AS THEY SAY, JIVE."
Jarwaun nodded enthusiastically. "Rob all kind of wrong on this. Again. Not fibbing, just dumb." He frowned. "Why you even pay him? He don't do nothin' but lie and deceive and nap in his cubicle."
"I HAVE NOT PAID HIM FOR AN ENTIRE FISCAL QUARTER."
"Why's he keep comin' in?" At this I could nought but shrug; Rob is a riddle within a mystery, ensconced in an enigma, wrapped in a corn tortilla, deep-fried, smothered in ancho chile mayo sauce, and served upon a bed of rice with refried beans.
Jarwaun shook his head and fished a bag of the Gummied Worms out of his jacket pocket. "See, March Madness is a basketball thing. All these teams—"
I halted him with a blast from my newly-installed air horn: "I CHOOSE DUKE!"
"What?" Jarwaun asked, gingerly pulling his hands away from his ears.
"A CURSORY EXAMINATION OF PAST WINS VIA ALTA VISTA—GOOGLE IS FAR FROM NATURE'S SOLE SEARCH ENGINES, DESPITE WHAT ROB BELIEVES—REVEALS THAT THE DUKE'S BLUE DEVILS ARE FAVORED TO WIN BY AT LEAST EIGHT POINTS. I CHOOSE THESE DUKES."
Jarwaun stuffed the worms into his mouth and glared fiercely. "I hate Duke."
Dear Mr. Bateman, your question is answered. Please send fifty-five percent of any gambling revenues to my office in the Renaissance Center. Failure to do so will be met with strong-limbed vengeance.
Editor of this Well-Regarded Almanac(k),
The Giant Squid
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