There was a much thicker envelope than previously when GC, the bossman of the sports department, flipped the annual job review over the cubicle wall on Monday morning.
"What gives?" the crusty columnist asked.
GC said the reason the review was more substantial was that he had been in consultation with Rick Spielman, a Vikings vice president, and had decided to go with a similar formula for evaluating the sports department's personnel.
"Yes, I read Kevin Seifert's story on the Spielman method in Sunday's sports section," the crusty columnist said. "And might I add, boss, that was a splendiferous section and I would like to offer my personal congratulations to you."
GC: "Cool it. The review is done. It's not going to change now."
CC: "I did notice in Mr. Seifert's article that Spielman breaks down the people he's evaluating in 21 classifications, starting with, 'A Rare Prospect, Immediate Impact Player, First-year Pro Bowler, Future Hall of Famer.'
"I'm wondering, boss, before I slice open this envelope, if you could give me some assurance by revealing the classification under which I fell."
GC: "You are the one person in this department under the 22nd classification, which is, 'Ink-stained wretch still longing for days of linotype machines; continues to display extremely slow first step in Cyberspace.' "
CC: "One more question then, boss: There was something about Spielman having 17 alerts that can be attached to an individual's evaluation. I know you wouldn't have needed that many alerts for a hard-working forward thinker such as myself?"
GC: "You'll discover with the Spielman method that not all alerts are negative. Just open the envelope."
The crusty columnist did that, and turned directly to the alerts.
1. Can tell a lot of Harmon Killebrew stories.
1. No evidence that he owns a suit.
2. Seems distracted since Twizzlers appeared in nearby office vending machine.
3. Has unhealthy obsession with 41-doughnut.
4. When he needs a laugh, looks at photo-shopped picture of highway sign that reads, "Welcome to North Dakota. Where Minnesota lost to Holy Cross in first round of 2006 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament."
5. Boasts that he hasn't seen soccer game in person since Brazil beat Italy in 1994 World Cup final at the Rose Bowl.
6. Recently bought drinks at Hubert's to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his last column on state hockey tournament: Columbia Heights goalie Reggie Miracle's shutout of Edina in 1983.
7. Can't spell Bob Naegele, original owner of the Wild.
8. Can't spell Vern Mikkelsen, former Minneapolis Lakers great and Basketball Hall of Famer.
9. Mere mention of Tim Brewster's name causes him to wince incredulously and mutter, "We have people right here in River City buying trombones from this guy."
10. Doesn't get properly upset when hockey playoffs end here in April.
11. Answer never changes when someone asks if he read a Bill Simmons column: "No. What newspaper is he with?"
12. Insists greatest moment in our state's professional sports history wasn't Kirby Puckett in Game 6 or Jack Morris in Game 7, but Carolina receiver Steve Smith rowing his boat in the end zone after beating Fred Smoot.
13. Screams without warning when he sees words "athleticism" and "arguably" in print.
14. Doesn't trust Zygi Wilf's vow to keep the Vikings in Minnesota as far as he could throw the entire Wilf family.
15. Doesn't miss Kevin Garnett -- and the increased self-centeredness of his final Wolves seasons -- even in the wake of home team's 22-60 record.
16. Growing indications that he's more focused on his dog than his job.
Admittedly, the top-heavy nature of the negative alerts was somewhat disconcerting, but then the crusty columnist was thrilled to discover he had a recorded a rating of 1.8827. That was a full six points above the mean for the rest of the department.
"Thanks, boss," the CC said. "I'm humbled by this remarkably high score."
GC gave a shake of his head and said: "Sorry, old-timer, but this is like golf. You're looking for a low score."
Quick, somebody help. What's the blogosphere and how do I get there?
Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. • firstname.lastname@example.org