This was written in a cave somewhere in Greater Bora Bora. The column was floated across the ocean in an RC Cola bottle to this newspaper. (I have no idea how the editors got it from bottle to print. I assumed that if editors can figure out where commas go, they ought to be able to figure out how to print a column in a bottle.)
Today, I am in mourning. My beloved Bulldogs are not state football champions this year.
When my raft and I arrived here shortly after the loss — I had an inkling this might happen, so why not build a raft and sail to Bora Bora, just to be on the safe side, I mused — immigration officials consisting of a couple of guys in grass skirts with hairy legs and a clip board visited the cave to learn the reason for my visit. I told them this might not be just a visit. I might stay until I ran out of RC Cola bottles. But why, they insisted?
I told them a group of scholar-athletes from the Georgia Institute of Technology had engaged scholar-athletes from my alma mater, the University of Georgia, in a football scrum and that for once, their side had prevailed.
But who cares, they wanted to know? Well, for one, I do, I said. So do a lot of my friends who are feeling pretty miserable right now. And then there are those that root for the other side who care greatly because they have the misguided and unsubstantiated view that I have tended to gloat when my scholar-athletes have prevailed.
I told them I found that very unfair. I don’t gloat. Never have. Never will. Look up “humility” in the dictionary, I said, and you will see my picture.
That’s interesting, replied one of the officials as he smoothed the wrinkles in his grass skirt. You don’t look humble, he said. You look miserable. You just can’t fool a Bora-Boran.
You need to know, the officials said, that there is no Internet access in our caves so if anybody wants to chide you, they are going to have to float their insults in their own bottles or build a raft and come over here.
That didn’t give me much reassurance. If engineers can build bridges and skyscrapers, they can probably figure out how to build a raft.
I could tell that the immigration officials were a bit leery about letting me stay on the island. They are not very happy about cluttering up their paradise with rafts and RC Cola bottles.
How many people in the United States outside the state of Georgia could we expect to hear from, they asked? Well, I said, probably not too many. Most other states except Vermont have their own in-state rivalries. What does Vermont have, they asked? Just a lot of syrup, I replied. They looked confused.
They wanted to know how many bottles or rafts I expected from China. They informed me that there are approximately 1,368,160,000 Chinese citizens and if even a third of them wanted to send me insulting messages, one would not be able to set foot on Bora-Bora for all the rafts and RC Cola bottles. I told them I don’t think the Chinese keep up with football all that much and I wasn’t sure they drank a lot of RC Colas.
And what about India? They have a population of 1,263,200,000. Any chance of them yanking your chain? Not likely, I said. In fact, I’m not as worried about India as the folks at Tech should be. India is churning out a lot of engineers who are more focused on dominating the global marketplace than obsessing over some dumb football game. Still they persisted. Bolivia? No. Swaziland? No. Burkina Faso? No. Iceland? No.
Then let us give you a suggestion, the immigration officials said. It is obvious that most folks in the world don’t care about the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, so why don’t you float yourself back to the United States? We’ll keep the RC Cola bottles. They make great earrings.
That was not what I wanted to hear, but what can you expect from two guys in grass skirts? Obviously, Bora-Bora doesn’t appreciate the cataclysmic events that have occurred this past week.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to go hide out in Vermont until this thing blows over. I hope the editors won’t mind fishing my columns out of a syrup bottle.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org