Blind Mumbling

A compilation of writings that never got anyone excited.

Location: N. Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, United States

Former teacher, co-editor of Total Football and the author of more than 20 books and over 200 articles, most about sports history. His credits include Pro Football: When the Grass Was Real, The Hidden Game of Football (with John Thorn and Pete Palmer), Baseball Between the Lies, The Importance of Napoleon, and the Battle of Stalingrad. He is presently Executive Director of the Pro Football Researchers Association.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Johnny M. was a happy little boy with a loving family, a dog named Glurge, and an Elektromatik-Football Game. One day Glurge got run over by a semi. Smashed him flatter than Aunt Ethel sang hymns.

Johnny tried to keep Glurge under his bed, but that left no place to keep his Elektromatik-Football Game. Besides, his mother kept getting fleas in her dustmop when she cleaned under Johnnny’s bed. She decreed Glurge had to go.

Johnny’s father took the flattened pooch to a little-used field to bury him. He took along the box from the Elektromatik-Football Game to serve as a coffin. The reason the field was little-used is that it had served for many years as an army firing range and there were still many unexploded shells lying around. Sure enough, when Johnny’s father dug in his shovel, he found one and blew up.

For weeks afterward, Johnny’s mother went out to the range to sift through the dust, hoping to find some of her husband’s missing pieces. She found a few chunks of the box for Johnny’s Elektromatik-Football Game but no sign of Johnny’s father. Unfortunately, an old prospector spotted her one day and thought she was panning for gold where he had staked a claim. He jumped on his burro and raced to her. He spurred the poor animal so enthusiastically that the prodded burro made no effort to stop when it reached her. Johnny’s mother was trampled into what didn’t turn out to be paydirt.

Johnny went to live with his Grandma, a religious woman. Johnny’s Grandma worked as a handy-grandma for her church and lived in a little building attached. She installed Johnny and his Elektromatik-Football Game in a sideroom set aside for unused statues. Johnny often accompanied her when she took the ancient church van and ran errands for the minister. One day, just after she had gassed up the church van, she lit a candle in memory of Johnny’s parents. Woosh!

While the medics were treating Johnny for smoke inhalation, it was discovered that he was suffering from a rare disease that was causing his ears to grow. Within a month of the discovery, his ears had become so huge and heavy that he had to put a crutch under his chin to hold his head upright. The only other known victim of this disease was a Nebraska boy who, by coincidence, also owned an Elektromatik-Football Game. He and Johnny exchanged condolences and even played an Elektromatik football game by mail.

Johnny’s Nebraska friend was always upbeat. He hoped to one day get a job with a circus. Sadly, on his tenth birthday, he broke into a little clown dance, stepped on his left ear, lost his balance, and fell out of the hospital window. Tragically, the hospital was the only multi-floor building in Nebraska. Johnny was brokenhearted that his friend would never be able to finish their Elektromatik-Football Game. Johnny was ahead by a field goal at the time.

As the days passed, Johnny became more and more depressed. Many days he just sat in a corner wrapped in his ears. Only a very, very expensive operation could cure him.

A very, very rich man who wishes to remain anonymous (his name rhymes with “Fates”) heard about Johnny’s illness. He has offered to pay for the operation but only if Johnny receives ten thousand e-mails at . To prevent duplicates, all e-mailers should include their name, address, and social security number.

Won’t you help?


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