Monday, February 7


It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE SUPER BOWL.

Branch and Bruschi, stars so bright,
In the Super Bowl last night,
All team and no talk of "I"
Let’s bet thy fearful symmetry.

With apologies to William Blake. Jose called it. Symmetry baby, symmetry!!! Pats by 3!!! So Jose not only gets to bask in the gentle glow of the Patriots third world championship, he gets to recline in the comforting gleam of $100 US. Of course, he only has $40 of it right now and will spend the next year chasing down friends in New York, Chicago and Yokohama for his winnings, but at least he doesn’t have to front the money this year. (Note: Jose literally carries the sheet with bets in his wallet at all times so he can ensure that he gets his money.)

The heart stopping moment for Jose the bettor was, of course, Rodney Harrison’s interception at the end of the game. Jose had this moment of sheer terror as it looked like Harrison might decide to run the ball back for a meaningless, pick ruining touchdown. (Note: That would have delighted many other bettors by ensuring that the Patriots covered the spread.) Jose has been down this road before. He thinks Don Beebe’s famous strip of a showboating Leon Lett may have cost him a pot one year, though maybe it was something else. Regardless, thank you Patriots. Jose has never been so thankful that you are too classy to run up the score.

II. One of the disadvantages of writing almost 24 hours after the start of the game is that almost everything that can be written has been written. For instance, at about 6:30 last night, Jose thought that he could do some great original material on the kid who flipped, or more accurately, failed to flip the coin to start the game. But Jose returns home from work to learn that pretty much everyone has already written about it in the desperate hunt for anything new to say. So instead of writing about the coin flip itself, Jose will offer a humble suggestion as to who should flip the coin next year – Jose Melendez. As it turns out Jose, is really, really good with a coin.

Jose’s grandfather Fritz Melendez was a magician (Note: Jose’s father says he grew up in a house where IBM was understood to mean International Brotherhood of Magicians), but died when Jose was less than one year old, so Jose never learned much magic. Sadly, Jose’s muggleness continued until Jose’s sophomore year at BU when a friend taught him as simple trick that involved making a quarter pass magically from hand to hand. Jose’s friend promised him that this trick would be useful in impressing women, and so it has been, becoming a staple of Jose’s second date routine. (Note: Jose knows some women think magic is stupid, but if you hate magic, Jose wants nothing to do with you anyway, as you are probably a communist.) This tactic was especially effective on the Melendezette, as it turns out that her paternal grandfather was also a magician. The trick also served as a useful tool for entertaining Romanian orphans when Jose visited his friend Amy who was working with them. With the language barrier preventing Jose from relying on his normal witty repartee, magic proved the answer.

But wait, there’s more. Jose owes his job to the little trick with the quarter. (Note: Resulting in Jose’s declaration that "This trick is effective on both Romanian orphans and non-profit executives.) Jose works for a coalition that includes both business and organized labor, and as such needed to demonstrate comfort with both sides during the interview process. Jose had spent the previous four years doing corporate public relations, so he felt it was essential to demonstrate that he understood to the board member from labor that corporations could not be trusted.

"Look," Jose explained. "The new trend in PR is ‘Corporate Social Responsibility.’ All sorts of big companies are hiring VPs of Corporate Social Responsibility to oversee good works and what not. But let’s not kid ourselves. Corporate Social Responsibility is really about companies trying to create a suit of armor… a record of good works that will protect them from the lances of corporate scandal. This is what corporate social responsibility really is."

Jose fished a quarter from his pocket and placed it between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. With his left hand he made a great arcing motion and grasped the quarter. Yet when the motion was complete, he opened his left hand to show that the quarter had disappeared, then his right to show that the quarter remained. Magic.

"Jose’s left hand is corporate social responsibility," explained Jose. "The left hand is adopting good causes, and giving money to charity and so on. Yet at the end of the day, that is not where the quarter ends up is it? No, the quarter, the profit, stays in the right hand, because the right hand is business, and for corporations, doing business is always the goal. The left hand is merely a distraction to draw attention away from the fact that the right is doing the same things it always did, polluting the environment, using sweatshop labor and so on. It’s misdirection, plain and simple. But that doesn’t mean we, as a socially minded non-profit can’t turn this to our advantage. As long as we can remember that the interest of business is business and everything it does is with profit making in mind, we can exploit corporate social responsibility quite nicely."

What is amazing is that Jose actually go the job. C’mon. He did a frickin’ magic trick in his interview. That’s nuts.

Months later Jose asked his boss if the trick had helped or hurt. She gave the worst reply of all. "What trick?" Well, as Jose said, not everyone is impressed by magic.

So here is the point: If Jose is given the job of flipping the coin for Super Bowl XL, he can just make the coin disappear, thereby ensuring that the game must begin with an XFL style scramble for the ball, which is really more fun anyway.

III. In this, the final KEY of Jose’s Super Bowl running diary, he would like to simply lament the fact that when he needed it most, he could not remember the theme to the nighttime soap opera Dynasty. He wanted desperately to hum it in celebration of the new Patriots dynasty last night, but he could not. This is probably because Jose has never seen that show in his entire life, but still, knowing the theme song would be useful. Jose could hum the Dallas theme song all day, it’s catchy, but thankfully he’s not a Cowboys fan, so it’s of no use to him.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE SUPER BOWL.


Micky Marvin said...

If all else fails Jose, you could always hum the Happy Days theme song.

Anonymous said...

Jose, This is really pretty amzing stuff, Fritz, me, magic, Romania, labor,orphans, business, poetry, IBM and the superbowl. Daddy Melendez

Moosbrugger said...

I was skeptical about Jose until the bit about the magic trick during the job interview. Then I went and ordered the hat. Probably another mail-order swindle, but, what the hell.