Being a Dallas Cowboys fan in Germany, I lead a pretty solitary football existence. That means I have to make a conscious effort to connect with other football people, which I like to do by calling random folks after Cowboys wins. Which is what I did after the Eagles game, when I dialed 215-263-WMGK for Philadelphia’s classic rock radio station.
”Hey, Jason Kelce here.”
No response. The one-year dynasty that is the Philadelphia Eagles must not be a big thing in Philly. So I press on.
”I’d like to request a song for the Noontime Nuggets.”
”Sure Jason, which song would you like?”
“Fair Weather Friends by Don Williams.”
“Sure. You want a shout out for your place of work?”
”Yep. It’s called Fear The Star,” I continue.
I may never hear it announced, but I like to think that hearing “Next up is Fair Weather Friends, requested by Jason Kelce at Fear The Star,” is bound to have a few people in Philly sit up straighter.
As I entered the office on Monday, I knew it was going to be a very Cowboys day.
The first thing I did was walk down to the marketing department and pay a visit to each product team. But instead of talking to them, I simply stood there and clapped, occasionally nodding my head in rhythm to my clapping for the over-performing teams, and looking grim and determined while clapping the under-performing teams forward.
Folks soon joined me in clapping.
It think it is because I am The Mighty Clapper.
It has nothing to do with me being their boss, of course.
My office is on the eighth floor. On most days I nod my head in a silent tribute to Troy Aikman when I exit the elevator. But on Monday, I had to honor Jaylon Smith’s four-tackle game against the Eagles, which requires two tributes, because 2x4=8.
So I execute a perfect-form swipe as I exit the elevator. That’s the first four.
For the second four, I throw up the X.
Right in front of the HR Director’s office.
She looks at me funny.
But I do not care, for today I am The Godbacker.
On a whim I decide not to engage the puny human with a most muscular bodybuilding pose, and simply move on.
I enter my office and take a seat at my desk. You know how a lot of people have pictures of their family on their desk at work?
Instead, I have five bulldozers on my desk, neatly numbered 77, 52, 72, 70, 71.
People think I’m weird.
I switch on my computer. Turns out my system password has expired, so I have to enter a new password.
“fear the star”
Your password must contain at least one capital letter.
“Fear The Star”
No spaces allowed.
Your password must contain at least one number.
Your password has been accepted.
In 2012, Kevin Ogletree had his one and only great game for the Cowboys in the season opener against the Giants, when he hauled in eight passes for 114 yards and two TDs. The next day, I asked our building manager to bring me an ogletree for my office. The dude brought me a ficus which he tried to pass off as an ogletree. I played along.
After the 2012 season, when Ogletree left for Tampa Bay, I called my building manager again and told him to ship the Ogletree to our Florida office. He said it would be a huge hassle to get a living tree through customs.
I told him I didn’t care and to get it done pronto. I am the boss and do not like being questioned.
Before he came to pick up the tree, I tied a note to it.
“Fear The Star.”
I’m guessing there were a lot of puzzled faces in our Florida office in 2012.
Now I have a new plant in my office. It’s a bonsai. I affectionately call it the Beasley Tree.
Nobody understands this.
I have recently made it a point of watering the bonsai during team meetings every Monday, which people think is odd.
Especially because when I’m watering that Beasley Tree, I tell the gathered hoi polloi that I’m going to “put some sauce on it.”
You know how coaches like to talk about how football can give you valuable life lessons?
I have taken lots of life lessons from football.
For example, after watching opposing quarterbacks repeatedly lose the battle against the setting sun at AT&T stadium in afternoon games, I decided last fall to rearrange my office furniture. I am now sitting with my back to the setting sun.
On Monday, I checked what time the sun sets in Frankfurt, Germany, this week.
I immediately rearranged my calendar and move all the meetings I don’t like to 4:45 pm.
The sun is also a star.
Fear the star.
We used to have a French guy in charge of our logistics department. When he moved on, he was replaced by another French guy. Then that guy also moved on. And was replaced by yet another French guy. It’s like somebody whispered “Bloody Mary” into a mirror three times and now we’re cursed or something.
So I treat the guy with all the respect due the undead. Which is why, when I saw him exiting the elevator, I make my best Dean Winchester face and whistle “Carry On Wayward Son” in the hopes that it will scare him off.
He makes a beeline straight at me.
”Bonjour, ‘ow was le weekend?”
I have stopped whistling, but mentally I’m still on the bridge before the final chorus of Wayward Son, so I say nothing.
So he proceeds to tell me what a great weekend he had, but I’m not really listening because I’ve decided to do an extended version of Wayward Son. Once he’s done with his monologue about some weird wine-tasting thing, he asks me what I did over the weekend.
”I bathed in a sea of Eagles tears.”
”You bazed in ze what?”
”Carry on my wayward son.”
He looks confused. Which I take as my cue to go into my office and lock the door.
There’ll be peace when he is gone.
My extension at work is 336.
Which means I’m some kind of mixture between QB Mike White (3), DB Chidobe Awuzie (33), former RB Bo Scarbrough (who last wore 36 before he was released), and punter Chris Jones (6).
I call administration.
“I need a new number.”
“What do you mean you need a new number?”
“336 sucks. I want 214.”
“Well, we’d have to change that in all our directories.”
“I don’t care, do it.”
The privilege of bossdom.
Now I get a lot of calls from people wanting to know if their mail has arrived. Turns out, 214 used to be the number for the mail room - should have thought that through in a little more detail. But it’s a small price to pay for the pleasure I get whenever I see 214 light up.
Last year, my son started playing football for a local team, the Bad Homburg Sentinels. He plays safety, and every time he tackles an opponent, he leans down and whispers in that guy’s ear, “fear the star.”
The Sentinels don’t have a star in their logo, of course, but I’m okay with him spreading the message anyway.
My son’s birthday is coming up, so I was expecting a call from my ex-wife any day. Today is the day. I pick up the phone. It’s her.
“Listen, why did you change your number,” she asks in a voice meant to convey that I have made her life more miserable once again.
“It’s a football thing.”
Silence. But I know exactly what’s happening.
“You’re rolling your eyes,” I say.
“How did you know that?”
It’s the number one affliction of ex-wives. One day she will detach a retina if she continues to roll her eyes like that.
Gotta stay on her good side for when my son unwraps his Cowboys gear at his birthday party.