God Save Me from “Pop” Warner

you know that part in Dead Poet's Society where that dude from House describes Whitman as a "hairy toothed madman"?

you know that part in Dead Poets Society where that dude who divorced Uma Thurman describes Whitman as a “sweaty toothed madman”?

by Chris Braiotta

Of all the things I was afraid of in elementary school only two stuck with me for the whole six year ride. One was total nuclear annihilation. I got over that one. Thanks, Sting! Your “Russians” song made a very cogent argument! The other was kids who played “Pop” Warner Football, and man that one was never cured.

Let me tell you what kind of kid I was, just to set this up. There was the time in third grade I went to a slumber party and told all the kids to shut up at bed time, because “slumber is from the Latin for sleep” (it isn’t, but I knew those Little Scholars* wouldn’t know nothing about Old Frisian, and I had had enough of their Smurfy jibber jabber). I guess I kind of had a thing for Ancient Rome because around the same time I also wrote the combination for my bike lock on the lock itself in Roman numerals. I figured that criminals became criminals because they didn’t pay attention in school, and so surely they couldn’t match my grasp of the numbers of good ol’ Gaius Julius. Pretty sure I bragged about that to one of the “Pop” Warner clowns that I suspected was headed in that direction. Guess what? Bike never got stolen. Either my bike was really shitty, or I was right about those dummies!

There’s a lot of talk about whether young children should be allowed to play full tackle football because of the risk of brain injury and my answer is by God YES because we need to get an early start on wearing down the faculties of these degenerates. Get ’em when they’re young and we’ll have them nicely housebound by 60.

Man, one of these kids still gives me the bowel shivers when I think of him. Rodney. His name was Rodney! Can you imagine? Rodney and all his brothers looked exactly the same just in different sizes, like those Russian nesting dolls but painted like the kind of people who set fire to disco records. And sometimes to disco people.

Rodney had an earring in the second grade. This was 1978!

Rodney and all his brothers got crewcuts on the first day of school every year, not because they had Major Dad but because their mother was not about to ruin her night dicking around with a lice comb. Dammit, Rockford‘s on tonight!

Every day Rodney’s lunch was a can of Chef Boyardee meat ravioli and a can opener. Eaten right there in the lunch room, no heat or nothing! He’d open the can and ditch the plastic fork his mom gave him and just suck the guts out of the can like it was the legless, stumpy cob of some otter he strangled before the bell rang.

I’m still not over it! Today’s kids are nothing but a bunch of overscheduled cave fish compared the feral mutants of the Carter years, but I tell you what — I see a “Pop” Warner tshirt, I walk the other way. It’s just not worth it!

* Did you know that “Pop” Warner Little Scholars is the official name of this monster camp? They’re little scholars in the same way that I’m the 7th Lord Karate of Hampshire.

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