Claire: So, what do you have against The Family Circus?
Todd: Okay. You sit down and read your paper, and you’re enjoying your entire two-page comics spread. Right? And then there’s the Family fucking Circus, bottom right-hand corner, just waiting to suck.
Claire: Then why don’t you just not read it?
Todd: I hate it, but I’m compelled to read it.
From Go… a.k.a. the most underrated film of the ’90s not named Kicking and Screaming
Every Monday morning, after I roll out of bed and grab a cup of coffee to brace myself for the coming work week, I crack open my laptop in the Millennial version of grabbing the paper from the stoop. And invariably, it isn’t the coffee that jars me awake. It’s a blinding flash of anger and disgust within the first page of Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback.
No, not that blowhard douchebag… this (relatively harmless) one:
Now, Peter King isn’t horrible like, say, Rick Reilly. Unlike the 11-time Sportswriter of the Year, King actually likes to do things like leave his house and utilize contacts to get information. Granted, most of his scoops have to do with the awesomeness of white quarterbacks, but at least he’s trying.
If all King did was give verbal blowjobs to the evil likes of Brett Favre and Peyton Manning, well, he’d be just like 90% of sports reporters. But that’s not all you get from MMQB. You get Coffeenerdness (where you can find out just how good the Starbucks in the town King passed through that week was) and Beernerdness (where a well-known microbrew is heralded like your father after he heard Pearl Jam recently and thought they were “pretty darn good”). You get regular updates from Sgt. Mike McGuire, a guy who once sat next to King at a game and happens to be an active duty Marine… he now serves as King’s badge of patriotism. You get to find out what his daughters Laura and Mary Beth are up to, although this feature isn’t as exciting now that they’re out of college and there’s no more intramural field hockey or soccer to update. You get to follow the empty-nester Kings as they adjust from life in Montclair, NJ (apparently a child-raising suburb straight out of Our Town) to the big, bad city of Boston.
And you get analysis like the following from this morning’s column, which is why Peter makes millions of dollars thanks to regularly drawing over two million readers:
Someone I trust in the league told me there’s something else you have to know about (Arkansas QB Ryan) Mallett before you can judge him with finality and decide whether to pick him in the draft. He wouldn’t say what it was. Without proof, I’m not going to speculate.
Thanks Peter. Now let me go clean the coffee I just spit out off my keyboard.
It isn’t that King seems like a bad guy. A little full of himself maybe. He reportedly offered to give back part of his ginormous salary to save some jobs at Sports Illustrated… good luck prying some of the Worldwide Leader’s ridiculous dough out of Reilly’s hand.
Reading King is like being stuck next to a blowhard uncle at a family reunion. You don’t truly hate him, but you wish that he’d go ahead and die just so that he’d shut up. He thinks he’s still cool, with no sense of irony about it. He expects you to react to references from the Carson era like he’s Jon Stewart. And he can’t help himself from getting up on his soapbox to tell you what’s wrong with the world.
He’s like an itch that you enjoy scratching even as you wish it would go away. And he provides us at P.C.H.A. hours of e-mail thread enjoyment on Monday afternoons. Some of my faves through the years. Let’s call it Five Things I Think I Think Are Completely Retarded:
Here came Cutler, the heroic diabetic, with a fourth quarter worthy of Elway.
Philadelphia. Brian Westbrook. Rocky Balboa. Both lifted a city when the odds were against it.
Next time you see me, ask me about my extraordinarily fun time in a 10-and-under girls softball game in Saddle Brook, N.J., on Friday night. Space limitations, and legal reasons, prevent me from spilling
here. But human beings under pressure can sure react in some strange ways.
I could watch the Frank Caliendo stuff about a hundred more times. He’s funnier today than Belushi was 30 years ago. He’s even got George Bush’s facial expressions down pat. I mean, they’re perfect.
Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay. On his bye Sunday, Favre did not chart any passes. My guess is he spent a long time cutting the grass, edging the front lawn where it meets the state highway in front of his house in Mississippi, then, for fun, watching the History Channel until he fell asleep.
There’s millions of things to read on the Internet and yet I regularly choose the thing I know is going to piss me off, because I hate it yet I’m compelled to read it. I need help.