Jim McMahon has this problem.
He is the starting quarterback for what is rumored to be a professional football team.
That's not his problem.
The quarterback, rightly or wrongly, is the most high-profile player on the field.
That's not his problem.
In good times or bad, fans are interested in what the quarterback has to say about what is making the offense go or not go.
That's his problem.
You see, there are (or were) thousands and thousands of fans interested in the Chargers. It is impossible, of course, for McMahon to have a personal conversation with each of them, to run through his thoughts on the week's game and events.
That's not a problem, because there is a solution.
There are these people known as reporters whose job it is to ask the questions the fans would like to have answered.
That's a problem.
Jim McMahon seems to perceive these people as garbage collectors. Should that be the case, he would be 100% right. When they stand in front of his locker, that seems to be what they are dealing with.
Consequently and sadly, this whole process has broken down in the case of Jim McMahon. It speaks very poorly of his upbringing, his education and his maturity, but he has actually abandoned the more widely accepted verbal form of dialogue for a nasal affectation all his own.
The real problem, thus, is that no reporter should be asked to deal with a person he or she cannot confront without wearing surgical gloves, gown and mask.
In search of a better way, I thought of Jose Canseco.
That's it. Jimbo could get his own 900 number. He could sit in an empty room with all his friends and spend a few minutes talking into a tape recorder and make some bucks off the deal.
What's more, I'll write the script for him. There'll be no charge if (a) I don't have to talk to him and (b) I can deliver it by either carrier pigeon or pit bull.
First of all, we need a number.
It could be something simple, such as 1-900-MCM-AHON. He might not like ideas such as 1-900-INC-PASS or 1-900-ARM SHOT, though he might go along with 1-900-HED-BAND or 1-900-EAR-RING. He might even come up with something endorsing a product, assuming anyone would want him to endorse anything they are trying to sell to the civilized world.
In keeping with my search for a solution to Jim McMahon's inability to communicate, I will therefore offer this introductory script for a hotline call to 1-900-BLO-NOSE:
Hi fans, this is Jim McMahon, No. 9 in your program and No. 1 in your face. Just kidding. That's an expression I used to use on the writers, before they stopped talking to me.
You've heard how that came about? I had these guys asking me about our two - minute offense, and they just wouldn't take nothing for an answer. I finally turned on this one guy and blew my nose at him . . . without a handkerchief. I told 'em: "There's an answer for you."
I've always been clever that way. Remember my Rozelle head band? That was a good one. We've got this new commissioner now. What's his name, Tagliabue? I'll have to learn to spell that one. I supposed some jerk sportswriter will say it'll take a head the size of mine to get that name on the band. That's the way those guys are.
Anyway, after I blow my nose at this guy, all these media idiots want a piece of my hide. Fat chance, not with a wimp of an organization like this. Someone told me Ted Williams was fined 5,000 bucks once for spitting at the press box . . . from the field. I get away with blowing my nose at this guy two feet away. I guess this just shows I'm a little bit bigger than Ted Williams.
Football? You want to talk football? I guess there's no doubt who the quarterback is around here, is there? They give that rookie a look-see for three quarters of going nowhere and I come in and darn near save the game. I would have if the coaches hadn't bungled the timeouts again, but that's nothing new.
Hopefully, we'll get 'em this week. We've got a team in town with this quarterback who's supposed to be Mr. Everything. I knew the coach back in my Super Bowl days in Chicago. The only thing that bothered me was that he was such a big-mouthed, obnoxious guy. I don't know how anyone could stand him.
Any way, give me a ring again next week for the straight scoop from the horse's . . .
There it is.
With my help, Jim McMahon would no longer have a problem coping with the peripheral pressures and responsibilities of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. He would have a forum that would allow him to be himself.
Oh yes, and the reporters would be freed.
No longer would they have to deal with a quarterback who has really done nothing to sneeze at anyway.