1-on-1 with Mr. B

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MARCH 24, 2009 7:30 AM

Some week, huh?

Well, yeah, I know — many of you spent the last week in blissed-out wonderment (Performance-enhanced? Hmmm.) in some exotic location, Texas, maybe, or Florida. Perhaps Mexico.
In any case, somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line is what passes for exotic these days. (As I recall from my elementary-school days, Maryland is directly south of the Mason-Dixon, and Maryland doesn’t seem all that exotic. Of course, when I was in elementary school, the invention of the printing press was all the rage.)

No offense to Maryland, of course. It’s just that I lived there once, and if you want to take the exotic out of exotic places, live there. As an old pal of mine once wrote in a song, There’s no place to go that’s not here.

So I took a gander at the economy, which more and more seems to resemble a pigsty without the pigs (well, OK, there’s AIG — with the pigs), and decided I’d leave my money under my mattress and travel only to Hoopsland.

(Actually, I don’t own a mattress, so good luck breaking into my place and finding the money. I was speaking metaphorically about the mattress. And the money.)

Hoopsland, which also goes by the moniker men’s basketball NCAA Tournament, is indeed an exotic place, a country you can visit for very little or no money and discover how ignorant and silly you are.

Luckily, it only comes around once a year — discovering how ignorant and silly you are all the time would begin to seem like a comp-lit class.

This year, just to make things more exotic, I decided to challenge President Barack Obama in the tourney. I mean, he’s famous for his jump shot (I am not, but I was moderately famous for my behind-the-back passes with either hand, back shortly after the invention of the printing press), and his NCAA picks are posted online at ESPN.com, so I said, Game on, Mr. B.


I have to admit, I didn’t quite get off to the jackrabbit start I’d been dreaming of — that gorgeous 32-of-32 that leaves your opponent with eyes the size of a Harvest Moon, because you’re doing the harvesting and he’s going, Were those AIG bonuses that just plowed me under?

No, I rather stumbled out to a 23-of-32 start. In Hoopsland, that’s somewhere below pedestrian. Actually, it’s worse than that — it’s like trying to play ball with your shoes tied together. And if I’m being honest, I had some moments playing ball in which I couldn’t have played any worse had my shoes been tied together.

But Mr. B of the famous jump shot? In all honesty, he looked like a genius in dealing with the AIG brouhaha compared with his first round in the tournament: 19-of-32, which, in the way these things are calculated (according to Aristotle’s formula, 2 points for the first round, 4 points for the second, etc.) gave him 38 points to my 46.

Hah, I thought. Where’s that jump shot now? You’re going to wish you’d stuck to AIG. I chest-bumped my ceiling.

(Don’t try that at home. For one thing, you probably don’t live in an attic.)

Of course, the thing about the tournament (and, for that matter, life) is that it doesn’t stop after the first round. There’s this thing called the second round.


I admit, I got a little nervous on the first day of the second round when Mr. B went 8-for-8, and I went — ahem — 5-of-8. Some jump shot, huh?

The rest of the second round didn’t go much better; Mr. B wound up 14-of-16 in the Sweet Sixteen, and I ended up 11-of-16 in the Semi-Sour Sixteen, giving him 94 points to my 90.

I didn’t chest-bump my ceiling. My shoes seemed to be tied together.

Well, there’s always the third round, I said. Besides, isn’t Mr. B supposed to be worrying about those AIG bonuses?

(Actually, he already has — he took the money out of the latest AIG bailout. I wish I could get a bailout — then I’d have more than metaphorical money.)

That’s Hoopsland for you — exotically demonstrating how ignorant and silly you are.

I sure am glad I’m not taking a comp-lit class.

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