By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
So this old couple buys a house.
Not just any couple, mind you. They're not directly related, but you treat them like family. Check on them almost every day. Make every effort to buy what they're selling, injecting income and enthusiasm to make their ends meet happily ever after.
Not just any house, mind you. A pimped-out mansion. Bowling alley inside the linen closet. Diamond-encrusted bidets. The works.
One problem: The house is in the 'hood. Neighbor's a crack 'ho. Privacy fence littered with graffiti. And the vanishing-edge pool backs up to Monster Joe's Auto Salvage/Casino.
It's high-end--and high-risk.
Half of the elderly duo assures you it's as safe as it is spectacular. Comforting, but you'd like confirmation from his partner because, well, just because. Strangely, that approval never comes. In fact, the house looks lived-in, but you haven't seen or heard from the partner in what feels like forever.
Peculiar, if not problematic.
The loquacious half promises that his silent sidekick, despite a long love affair with their old house, is excited about the new digs. The partner would be glad to tell you this but seems he's always out of town or time. Reduced from belief to hope, you hesitantly continue to invest energy and allegiance into the couple, their home and their vision because you desperately want them to succeed.
But lookie here, just last weekend "they" added some upscale amenities to their house. Again their hands are out for support--emotional and financial.
Forced to know less yet devote more, you need questions answered, don't you? Is the partner really happy with the new home? If so, why isn't he talking? Are they still a happy couple? And how long can their relationship last?
We haven't heard from the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. While you ponder that absurdity, list the other people in your life who can make or break your happiness without having the manners to keep in touch until the seasons change. IRS agent, lawyer, mechanic and the girl from that party, maybe. But NFL head coach?
It's been eerily quiet since Parcells' press conference after his team's season-ending loss to the St. Louis Rams back on New Year's Eve. That was 120 days, a controversial signing and a draft ago.
Four months of silence leads to--duh--speculation.
We can't hear what Bill Parcells is saying. But, if lucky enough to be granted an audience with the majesty of mute, we can guess:
US: So, cat gotcha tongue?
US: Then what's up? I know you hate the media, but we represent your vast fandom. When you talk to us, you're talking to millions of Cowboys fans. And the fans, who in part pay your salary, want to know what's up. So, um, what's up?
US: You auditioning to be Penn's new Teller? Don't tell me--you're really into Charlie Chaplin this off-season? Helen Keller's your new screensaver? Next season your offense is going strictly on silent counts? Or are you just trying to make John Hart look like a blathering idiot, instead of just an idiot?
US: Well, then what? The last three Aprils you've at least talked to us about the draft. Last weekend you might have been the first coach in NFL history not to make public comments on your own friggin' picks. Do you realize how condescending and belittling you've become?
US: Really? And does that bother you?
US: Ya know, I liked you better when you spouted off Giants stories from the good ol' days or rambled on about Jap Plays. Remember them?
US: OK, so where ya been? We heard you were hanging out in Florida at St. Louis Cardinals' baseball spring training. Where else? You get lost in an immigration protest? Hiding in that bizarre bunker?
US: Speaking of, what's in that secret hiding place of yours, anyway? My money says you waste time playing online backgammon with Phil McConkey. Huh? Am I right?
US: The signing of Terrell Owens was probably the most controversial transaction in the history of America's Team. You, however, didn't deem it important enough to attend the press conference or even pick up a phone and give us peace of mind via your stamp of approval. For the record, are you or are you not on board with T.O.?
US: Yes? To which part?
US: Then what about the draft? First you didn't re-sign tight end Dan Campbell. Then you went out and got Ryan Hannan in free agency, drafted Anthony Fasano in the second round and allowed your owner to tell us fullbacks were extinct in a franchise that celebrated Dan Reeves, Robert Newhouse and Daryl Johnston. Isn't that retarded?
HIM: No. Wait, actually yes. You got me on that one.
US: And what about first-round pick Bobby Carpenter? We all know how you love familiar pedigrees and that you coached his dad, Rob, with the Giants. But there's something creepy when you connect more dots. Look, I think Oswald acted alone and Area 51 is legit, but Carpenter's agent is Jimmy Sexton. Who also happens to be your agent. Who also happens to be the agent for Marcus Spears, Marco Rivera, Jason Ferguson, Aaron Glenn, etc. Coincidence? At the very least, a little weird?
US: Aw, shut up!
US: No, wait. I mean, look, we understand your No. 1 job is to win football games and that media relationships don't move the chains. We also realize that, as a whole, the media can be a big, whiny pain in the ass. So let's make a trade. Quantity for quality. Those daily Tuna Talk circle jerks during the season are history. In exchange, we want--the fans want--you to show up and spout off when your team makes a major transaction. You owe us that. If you keep not talking, you'll convince us we're pouring money into the pockets of a cocky, crotchety man who just wants us to leave him and his cobwebbed reputation alone. If you stay silent it seems like you're a lame-duck coach shirking your responsibility. Seems like you're not being accountable. Seems like you don't care about us. You do care, right? We do have a deal, yes?
So this old couple runs out of friends and money and gets their house foreclosed...