Fantasy Who's-Get-Yer-Balls

The Varmint, his brother The Bunny, and a few friends - including one of my closest friends Dex - signed up to form a Fantasy Football league this season.

What's fantasy football? Why, a manly excuse for a techie kaffeeklatsch, of course, made socially acceptable by watching the throwing of spherical objects and the illicit exchange of ill-gotten gains.

You choose players, the program ranks the stats and spits out who gets to keep their manhood that week. The rest of the time is pretty much spent emasculating the loser in a public forum and taunting next week's intended victim.

Never having witnessed a Fantasy Football matchup before this, I was surprised to find out that there are just two rules:

1. Don't lose.

2. If you ignore rule #1, you have to hand your cajones over to the winner for the week.

It was a grueling season, and in the end, Dex and The Varmint are the only two guys I know with their manhood essentially intact.

Last weekend, they squared off for the quarter-finals: The Lemurs vs. The Pummelinguists. Here's where rule #2 started to get ugly. Dex's Pummelinguists were heavily favored to kick the furry backsides of The Varmint's beloved Lemurs.

Wednesday before the big game, I settle in with my morning coffee and read the following email:

-----Original Message-----

From: Dex [mailto: Dex]
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 9:20 AM
To: Tam
Cc: The Varmint
Subject: Mrs. Varmint: The esmaculation...

...of a certain Lemur is a mere four (4) days away. Please prepare accordingly. Thank you.



Huh? Did I accidentally brew decaffeinated coffee this morning, or did my good friend Dex just throw down the gauntlet and TAUNT my husband via an email to me? Did he? DID HE? As evidenced by the subject line in the following day's email, he did.

-----Original Message-----

From: Dex [mailto: Dex]
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2005 9:05 AM
To: Tam
Cc: The Varmint
Subject: Continued Taunting

Three days until The Varmint's beatdown. He will hate that he ever met me (let it go...too easy)!!! Tam, get the sheets and pillows ready for the couch. Shame will lead your beloved to sleep in the other room after the immensity and the enormontrousness (a Varmint-ish word) of this pummeling. I will throttle and thrash him until he is curled helplessly in the fetal position. Call a doctor! Call the men with the white jackets! Call noted motivational speaker Tony Robbins! This is imminent doom at its finest!!! (insert EVIL laugh here)



I discovered a darker side of Dex. And it isn't pretty. He went on like this for days, with The Varmint holding his tongue in good-natured silence. He never once replied. I, on the other hand, have no such self-restraint. My fingers typed off lame comebacks before I could stop them. Mess with my man and the cavegirl just comes out in me, y'know? Too bad she lacks a functioning frontal lobe.

Here's a secret about The Varmint: When it comes to games, he needs no protection. He could be playing Operation against a five-year-old. He’ll smile sweetly and look like it's all fun and games. All the while however, he’s silently studying, researching, strategizing and preparing to smite that toddler into blubbering submission. He'll take that kid down by the ankles. He’s ruthless.

He's also lucky. In a surprise upset, The Lemurs gnawed The Pummelinguists to bloody stumps. Sure, Dex attempted a pre-emptive strike, calling in his congratulations, aglow with the rosy hue of "good sportsmanship" - Guy Code for "pussing out."

So here it was, the moment of reckoning for The Varmint’s true character. It was Don Corleone Hour: Would he be a benevolent dictator? Or a ruthless tyrant?

Despite my bloodlust, The Varmint opted instead for a path of benevolence. The level of concern he showed for Dex’s loss taught me a thing or two about the good in people, about leadership - and compassion. Apparently, even a ruthless toddler-whomper can change.

He even asked if I would please send Dex a week’s worth of sympathy cards just like this one (this is Day Two's card, to the left). So thoughtful.

And such a helpful reminder... Note to self: Never, ever get on The Varmint's bad side.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >