CHICAGO — And now this week's newsletter from the Chicago Bears, team of big shoulders, stacker of tales, fool makers:
Where to begin, what with so much to choose from. There are team meetings, newly signed Doug Flutie, head Coach Mike Ditka. Hey, how about that crazy Jim McMahon? Some quarterback, eh? Brash, opinionated, injured again.
This time it's his right shoulder, which has nothing to do with his right mind. How else do you explain, "The World According to McMahon," a daily Chicago radio event that makes you wonder where the FCC is when you really need it.
This from the 5:20 afternoon show, which is the same as the 6:20 show:
Disc jockey No. 1: Jim McMahon, how you doing?
McMahon: Good. I've got a problem.
No. 1: What?
McMahon: What are you gonna be for Halloween?
No. 1: You know, I'm thinking about it. I'm really not sure. I'm kind of stuck over it. I was talking to my girlfriend today and I was thinking, Casper, which is a very popular item--you see, I'm trying to get back to my younger days because I'm reaching the big 3-0 soon. Casper, or something along those lines. What are you going to do?
McMahon: I'll probably go as a healthy person.
Later in the show . . .
McMahon: What do you think about my kid going as a clown? My little girl's gonna be a clown. And my little boy is going to be a pumpkin.
No. 3: (Giggles, incessant giggling)
No. 1: No, Jim, don't do that. Don't ever dress your kids like clowns. Clowns are the scariest human beings alive. They're one notch lower than deejays. Clowns are very scary. Well, I guess your daughter, it's OK. If you had your son dress up as a clown, he may grow up to be one.
McMahon: Yeah, but a pumpkin.
No. 1: A pumpkin's cool. Go for the pumpkin.
McMahon: I'll send you a picture.
And still later:
No. 1: Here's something I just thought of. Send your son as Ditka. Get him one of those bushy mustaches. That would be funny, Jim. Is Nancy (McMahon's wife) going to take them around?
McMahon: No, we both are.
No. 1: That would be hilarious. Put a bushy mustache on there. Get them like a $1,000 suit. Dress them as Mike.
No. 2: Pull his belt line up to about his chest.
No. 3: (Giggles.)
McMahon: And have him scratch his crotch.
No. 3: (Giggles)
No. 1: Have him ring the doorbell and say, "I want some candy," and hold his crotch. Can you do that?
McMahon: Sure I can.
No, but it's the Bears--stormy, husky, brawling. Everyone, it seems, is in the act here.
McMahon has his 10 minutes of airwaves nonsense. This isn't exactly met with good cheer by the local press, who must tune their transistors to McMahon's show in case he says something newsworthy. McMahon, you see, isn't much for media relations these days. A regular Larry Speakes, he isn't.
What else? There's Mrs. Ditka, who is kind enough to reveal her thoughts in a series of exclusive interviews with one of the city's newspapers.
There's Gary Fencik, who can be seen on local television, even mentioned as a future mayoral candidate.
There's Refrigerator Perry, who can be seen from 30,000 feet. And what about that rumor that the William Morris agency is going to set up shop at the Bears' Lake Forest practice facility? Easy access and all that.
"This last year, people just get so caught up with the Bears that I think we're getting a little over-saturated by hearing about ourselves," tight end Tim Wrightman said.
"We see things on TV, every commercial, every this, every that, every news thing you hear they have something on the Bears. It's just getting to the point that as players we'd like to be in our own little capsules and not have to hear about anything."
And that's the rub, isn't it? Fame without costs, notoriety without compromise. Sure, this city will bow low in thanks for last year's Super Bowl win, but don't cross it up with anything less than perfection this season.
Seven and one? What's wrong with the Bears, comes the cry.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with the Bears other than the fact that we need an attitude adjustment," General Manager Jerry Vainisi said. "Whatever the distractions they've had--and there have been thousands of them--I think it peaked last week."
Distraction No. 1 is the city's love affair with the Bears.
"Take Los Angeles," Wrightman said. "You've got the Rams, the Raiders, the Dodgers, the Angels, the Lakers, the Clippers, the Kings, USC, UCLA. You have the beach, you have the mountains, you have movie stars, you have TV stars.
"Here, the stars in this town are the sports celebrities and the TV news people. And the fans here are fans , from the Greek word fanatic . They're very educated, they know what's going on. They're not like Los Angeles where, at the Olympics and the 100-meter dash, people were leaving at 90 meters to beat the traffic."