Thursday, January 11, 2018

In which blood is spilled

I’m always saying that, you know, it wouldn’t kill people to read the invitation. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is killing them. Maybe we’re leaving a trail of corpses across the country, reckless debate coaches who, seeing that a tournament is open for registration, decide to read the invitation and find out what the tournament is all about and how it is going to run. I can see them looking at their iPhone 6’s as the batteries winkle out, and then the phone drops through their rigid fingers, and they fall face-first to the ground, stone cold dead before their noses hit the pavement. It could be happening.

CP used to say that he would bury Easter Eggs in his invitations, to encourage people to read them. I’m pretty sure that he gave Get Out of Smarm Free cards to anyone who could prove that they had made it to the end. He also had a form letter he would send as a reply to any question that was, indeed, answered in the invitation. Sort of a Get Into Smarm Free sort of automated response. Don’t go into a smarm fight with CP unless you’re fully armed, and even then, don’t expect to come out a winner. Not going to happen.

Most of the college invitations are cut-and-paste jobs from the previous years, and the hosts ask me to vet them, which is hard to do, because they look right by default because they’ve been honed by the winds of time. Sometimes stuff does get through, but mostly we catch it. We certainly home in on where it matters, like keeping out the riffraff and preventing shenanigans and, occasionally, the dreaded he-nanigans. Of course, in addition to all those coaches we’ve killed by asking them to read the invite, there are also those who can’t find it. Anywhere. It’s not on tabroom, it’s not under the cushions of the comfy chair, it’s not in the custodian’s closet, the dog didn’t eat it—where can it be? Well, I guess with those folks, it’s good that they can’t find it. Otherwise they’d wake up dead the next morning. After all, everyone knows that reading the invitation can kill you. 


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