IN HONOR OF the upcoming movie "Hot Tub Time Machine" - if you haven't seen a commercial for it yet, I'm sure you'll see it about 5 trillion times before the film comes out in March - let's skip ahead a good five or six or seven years in the future.
(If you haven't seen a "Hot Tub Time Machine" commercial yet, just know it involves a present-day John Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robertson getting flushed back to a ski resort in swingin' 1986. Personally, it smells like a plot from the wacky B-grade comedies Cusack used to headline in the '80s ... you know, classics like "Better Off Dead" and "One Crazy Summer." And my evil twin brother Orville put 5-to-1 odds that the online trailers will be a funnier experience than sitting through the entire movie ... but let's get back to the here and now.)
OK, it's a given that Kurt Warner will be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Don't give me any lip about how his stats do or don't stack up. His life story is the stuff gridiron dreams are made of. Are you kidding me? The QB nobody wanted brought two pathetic franchises to the Super Bowl? The guy who used to stock grocery shelves has bagged two league MVP awards?
Let me put it this way about how Warner can accomplish the unfathomable: I'll bet my Arizona Cardinals Snuggie that if he had been recruited to South Carolina for college instead of the University of Northern Iowa, the Gamecocks would have SEC title and Sugar Bowl trophies in the display case collecting dust from the early '90s.
Anyway, in order to bring The Legend of Kurt Warner full circle, I think his induction speech in Canton should be given by - his former supermarket manager.
So without further ado, I'm thinking Kurt Warner's Hall of Fame induction speech will go a little something like this:
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen; Commissioner Goodell; members of the press; cryogenically frozen head of Al Davis.
"We're here today to honor a man who needs no introduction - football hero Kurt Warner. I, however, do require an introduction. My name is Art Sandusky, and I was the assistant dayside manager of a Hy-Vee store in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Back in those days, I had just been promoted to management after six years behind the meat counter. So who knows? If Kurt had applied for a job two weeks earlier, some other dope might not have seen his potential and sent him packing.
"But, Kurt came aboard for $5.50 an hour, and he was a good kid. By the end of his second day, you didn't have to tell him what aisle the peanut butter was on. He knew instinctively where everything went in the store. It's like he could instantly grasp what items needed replenishing two or three caseloads ahead of time.
"His character? If a little old lady needed help getting something off the top shelf, you didn't have to tell him twice to lend a hand.
"And if there were buggies scattered in the parking lot, he would corral them up back inside for us, rain or shine. He was so quick, we used to call it 'Kurt's Two-Minute Drill.'
"I can't claim to say I had any notion that Kurt would go on to such glories. But I do know this:
"If a customer came in expecting Spam, he made sure they left with filet mignon."
On second thought, maybe we should just let Ken Whisenhunt say a few words.
ORVILLE'S LAST WORD
"Kurt Warner leaves the NFL at the top of his game; but half the league's remaining QBs can barely handle the audible 'Paper or plastic?'"
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