The Couch Slouch

Hey Mike Gundy: You're a man. You can find something else to do

Getty Images

Nobody wants a pandemic, certainly not one that kills hundreds of thousands and delays the college football season.

That was certainly the mindset last week of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who indicated that May 1 would be a good time to get back to football and who wants his players on campus even if it's deserted because "continuing the economy in this state" requires his team playing games.

"We've got to have a plan," Gundy said, "…so let's just stay on schedule."

Uh, let's update the scoreboard here:

Covid-19, OSU 0.

Go Cowboys!!!

Coach, I understand that we must get back to the business of living. But – follow me on this – we can't do that if we are all dead. So we must stay at home – pause life to preserve life – until the experts say otherwise in regard to this once-in-a-century sacrifice that we hopefully will never see the likes of again.

It stinks this way, it sure does.

Suddenly, we know why our dogs want to take so many walks.

So, yes, we need sports again. But we also need almost every other taken-for-granted detail of our routine, from schools to restaurants to shopping to libraries to concerts to Costco grand openings.

And, frankly, we need back things that have been missing most or all of our lives: compassion, decency, humanity, sense of community.

But we can start by accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative at home. We can start by appreciating what's around us and by revisiting the simple delights that surround us.

Play Rack-O with your kids.

Watch any season of "The Larry Sanders Show" on HBO on Demand.

Talk to long-distance friends. In the old days, these were known as "phone calls."

Send your aunt or uncle a long note. In the old days, this was known as "writing a letter."

Make your own pizza, and when that fails, order one for delivery.

Dig out your old baseball card box, and if you can't find a Nolan Ryan rookie card, give all of them to the 10-year-old next door.

Tell your spouse, "We've got to talk," to let 'em know what it feels like to be on the other end of that baby.

Sing the theme song from "Gilligan's Island" three times nightly.

Board-game doubleheader: Monopoly and Candy Land!

Try to write the Great American Novel, or, at a minimum, at least a limerick.

"Casablanca" and "The Princess Bride," back-to-back, to experience full black-and-white and Technicolor joy.

"His Girl Friday" and "Broadcast News," back-to-back, in black-and-white and Technicolor, to experience full print and electronic joy.

S'mores!

Re-enact scenes from the Old Testament; I adore Leviticus Chapter 19, Verse 33.

A foosball table ($104.99-ish) or air hockey (also $104.99-ish) is the best quarantined C-note investment in the land.

Good betting game: Sit on your front porch with a family member and wager on which direction – left or right – 10 people will walk by your house first.*

(* If you don't have a front porch, just look out the damn window.)

Remind your teenagers about safe sex, in case they ever have sex.

When's the last time you played Charades?

For 16 and under: Hit your brother for no reason. When he hits you back, roll onto the living-room carpet in full brawling mode.

For 75 and over: Hit your brother for no reason. If he falls to the ground in agony, call 911.

Wii bowling!!!

Tell everybody in your home how much you love 'em, twice. Do it now.

Ask The Slouch

Q. I assume you have the entire "Dogs Playing Poker" collection of paintings. And aren't dogs the best? (Eddie Vidmar; Cleveland)

A. Yes, I have the entire collection and, yes, dogs are the best. We just lost our beloved poker-playing pit mix: R.I.P. Daisy.

Q. Is it true that the first recorded reference of the six feet "social distancing" term was in a NCAA basketball referees manual on what constituted a foul when a Duke player drives to the basket? (Stewart Verdery; Washington, D.C.)

A. Boy, I miss rooting against Duke.

Q. Distraught over the pandemic, IOC and NCAA officials walk into a bar and order a bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992. How much should the athletes tip the server? (Bobby Weaver; Smyrna, Ga.)

A. You have an uncanny grasp of global sporting economics.

Q. Since you have been "working" from home for years, does it bother you that your employer deemed you non-essential well before the coronavirus showed up? (Dan Cantwell; Albany, N.Y.)

A. Listen, pal, my family also has deemed me non-essential and questions why I even need to be home.

Q. Since the NFL draft will not have a live audience, should a booing track be added every time Roger Goodell steps up to the microphone? (Arthur Polton; Fairfax, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

To enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway, just email asktheslouch@aol.com. The Couch Slouch podcast is available on your favorite podcasting app.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo via: Wiki Commons.

I met James Arthur Harris a pretty long time ago, it had to be before 2001, because I was at the gate waiting for his flight from New Orleans to land. I was supposed to pick him up, drive him to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on Loop 610, wait for him to change into his work clothes, and get him to the George R. Brown before 3 p.m.

I had never met him, but it would be easy to pick him out in the line of passengers filing off the plane. He'd be the big guy, 6 ft. 7 and weighing more than 400 pounds. Because our schedule was tight, I was hoping he wasn't already in his work clothes. You'll understand why.

When Harris worked, he wore a leopard loin cloth, bare feet, bright painted stars and moons on his huge pot belly, and white face paint under his scary witch doctor mask. He also carried a spear and shield.

James Harris, who died this week at age 70 from COVID-19 complications, performed in wrestling rings around the world as Kamala the Ugandan Giant. Or Kamala the Ugandan Head Hunter. This day, he came to Houston to sign autographs at TriStar Sports memorabilia shows.

"Kamala was a huge draw to our shows in the '90s. His character was mysterious and intriguing. Fans lined up to get his autograph and pose for photos with him. He was one of our biggest draws," said Tristar senior vice president Bobby Mintz.

I checked Harris into the Crowne Plaza and waited in the lobby while he went upstairs to take off his shoes and socks, paint stars and moons on his belly … and become Kamala the uncivilized cannibal from the jungles of deepest Africa.

You couldn't get away with this stereotyped character today. But this was then, and Kamala was one of the hottest performers in the wrestling world.

You should have seen the looks on people's faces when the elevator door opened, and out came Kamala, in full ring regalia. We got into my car and made it to the George R. Brown in time for his autograph session. The line already was 100 wrestling fans deep. I sat next to Kamala for three hours, muttering grunts and nonsense sounds because, of course, Kamala did not speak English.

James Harris was born and died in Mississippi. He broke into pro wrestling in 1978 under the name Sugar Bear Harris. He also wrestled as Ugly Bear Harris, The Mississippi Mauler and Bad News Harris.

It was Jerry Lawler, owner of Memphis independent wrestling scene in the early '80s, who gave Harris his new gimmick and name Kamala. He would be billed as Kamala the Ugandan Giant, former bodyguard to the brutal dictator Idi Amin. Lawler picked the name Kamala after the capital of Uganda. Actually, the capital of Uganda is Kampala. It doesn't matter.

Kamala was money, as they say, he put butts in seats. He used a devastating karate chop to opponents' heads and pinned them, 1-2-3. Soon he was hired by Mid-South Wrestling, where the circuit included the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. In 1986, he became a main event wrestler for the WWE and headlined shows against Hulk Hogan coast-to-coast.

As we sat at the autograph show, one of my jobs was to assure young fans that Kamala was really a nice person, so don't be scared.

That night, I threw my one and only dinner party. I invited about 20 people to meet Kamala. I prepared a casual buffet, the main course was lasagna. I had two large trays, one with vegetable lasagna, one with sausage and ground beef.

The guests showed up, and Kamala posed for photos and signed autographs. He let my friends wear his witch doctor mask. He hoisted some of the guests and pretended he was body slamming them for their photos. He was the most gracious and gentle giant you could imagine. Until …

I was taking the lasagna trays out of the oven. I brought Kamala into the kitchen so he could eat first, and return to mingle with the guests. I asked him, which would you like, vegetable or meat lasagna? He said meat, and picked up the entire tray, sat at the kitchen table and ate the whole thing. I told the other guests, eat lots of garlic bread.

Kamala retired from wrestling full-time around 2000. He bought a truck and hauled gravel, asphalt and dirt from Mississippi across the southern U.S. If he knew a town had an independent wrestling show, he'd re-route his route so he could pick up extra money dusting off his Kamala persona for one night. That's how he made an appearance at the Texas All-Star Wrestling show in Humble in 2003.

Kamala fell into bad health with diabetes and high blood pressure. He had both legs amputated. Despite headlining wrestling shows around the world, Kamala never earned much money. In his later years, he made wood chairs near his home in Oxford, Mississippi. He also recorded an album, Kamala's Greatest Hits: Vol. 1, and wrote his autobiography, Kamala Speaks.

After the dinner party, which did not make Maxine Mesinger's society column in the Chronicle, something I'm still bitter about, I drove Kamala back to the Crowne Plaza. I told him, be in the lobby at 9 a.m., we'll get breakfast on our way to the airport. I asked him, what would you like for breakfast. Pancakes? Bacon and eggs? Fruit?

He said, and I'll never forget this, "When it comes to food, I isn't choicy."

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome