News Item: A Nike promotion has Alex Rodriguez, Maria Sharapova and six other star athletes delivering recorded "wake-up" messages to anyone who gives the company a phone number and a time to call . . .
Great idea. Just superb. In fact, there's only one problem with the concept.
Eight athletes is hardly enough.
Look, Page 2 hates alarm clocks as much as anyone. (Why else do you think we update at around noon?) So we're all for Nike's latest bid to commercialize every last nook and cranny of waking life.
That said, we can't hit our snooze bar with an industrial mallet just yet. Not until Nike adds more variety.
Day one of Sharapova's voice? Wonderful. A fantasy fulfilled.
But Day 16? Tedious. And Day 32? Excruciatingly similar to "Groundhog Day."
Alex Rodriguez telling you that "mornings are the most valuable time of the day so get up, get out and do something " is nice. But as anyone who watched Rodriguez play for Texas can tell you, it's a team game. And Nike needs to fill out its wake-up call roster -- think dozens of additional athletes, if not other celebrities and the occasional head of state.
With that in mind, Page 2 has a few suggestions for proposed greetings:
"Good morning, this is Marcus Vick. That burning sensation? It's not my cleat pressing into your leg -- it's your overfilled bladder. Time to get up, hit the bathroom and take care of business!"
[In the voice and cadence of a drill instructor] "Good morning, maggot! Are you sleeping on me! Well, are you? There's not time to sleep, you lazy [expletive] walrus-looking piece of [expletive]! Get the [expletive] out of bed! Now! Move it! I'm going to rip your [expletive] off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you!"
[The sound of a long toke] "Hey, it's Ricky. Wassup?"
[Coughing] "Dude, they say the sun comes up every morning ..."
[More toking, a slow exhale] "But is the sun really coming up? Or are we just going down?"
"This is Lindsey. I am stoked! It's a new day! Time to shred! What are you waiting for? Get out of bed, already!" [Loud banging noise, followed by a long pause] "Oops. Dropped the phone. Sorry."
"Hey! Wake up! Albert Belle here. You say you're about to head out the door? Hah. I know the truth. I know exactly where you are. No, really -- my GPS tracker tells me you're still under the covers. You haven't even showered yet. Don't ever lie to me again.
"Albert only does this because he loves you, baby."
[The beeping of an alarm clock, followed by a bang and the sound of throat clearing]. "Ugh. What time is it?" [Pause]. "Oh, crap! I have a race to run."
[Pause, the sound of stumbling, the clanging and tinkling of empty bottles and cans being brushed aside]. "My eyes. My head. " [Dry-mouthed chewing noises] "Well, thanks for the call, buddy."Swear it's the last time I'll need one. Gotta go. Hey, have you seen my keys? How the hell did I get home?" [Groaning, the sound of dry heaving]
[Long pause. An automated message begins to play] "Good morning. It's a new day, and I've got some great news!" [Pause] "Do you need to unload a unproductive veteran with a bloated contract? A locker room cancer owed millions more than his production warrants?
"Looking to get a young, cheap player in return?"
[Pause] "Thought so. This is your lucky day! Call me, Isiah, at 1-800-NIK-SWAP. Let's make a deal!"
"Hey, this is Shani. You in bed? Brushing your teeth? Putting on a tie? Whatever. I could care less. I've been up for two hours, working out. You wanna sleep? Go ahead. I'm not worried about anyone else."
Chad Hendrick: "Hey you! Jerkface! What are you doing? You were supposed to give me a wake-up call, remember? Now I'm late for my relay race where I was going to win another medal for me, Chad Hendrick. God, you're selfish. Next time, try being a team player, OK?
Shani Davis: "Chad? Is that you? Go [bleeped-out expletive] yourself!" [Click]Chad Hendrick: "You first!" [Click]
"Hi, this is Barry. You must be feeling tired. Me too. I'm tired of all the media scrutiny, tired of fans calling me a cheat, tired of feeling like my tank is empty, as if someone took away all my Flintstone vitamins." [Pause] "But you know what? Against all odds, I'm going to collect my $18 million and play for another year. Or five. Or maybe I'll quit next week.
"Who knows?" [Pause] "Look, what I'm trying to say is that if I can get out of bed after all of the awful, awful things I've had to go through -- somehow summon the strength to keep playing a playground game for an astronomical salary -- then you can stop hitting the snooze bar, too."
"Good morning, I am Austrian ski coach Walter Mayer."
[Loud BANG, shouting, multiple voices, boots stomping on a hardwood floor.]
"[Distant muffled voice] This is a raid! Everybody get down! Now!"
"Hello. Bryant Gumbel here. This is not a wake-up call. Do I look like some sort of butler? It's hard for me not to laugh when someone says they want a wake-up call, despite a paucity of black-owned phone companies that make the telecom industry look like a GOP convention. Good day."
"Hey, Rick here. Gimme 500 on Cohen in the free skate, the Spurs and the points and the Norwegian bobsled-Austrian downhill parlay." [Pause] "Listen, do you hear a faint clicking noise?"
"Yo, this is Maurice." [Pause] "I need money."
[Pause] "Meet me in the alley by the bar." [Pause].
"Tonight." [Pause] "Come alone."
"Look, for the last time: I don't have any props, and I won't play your campus comedy show. You've got the wrong guy. Stop calling!"
[Sounds of Darth Vader's theme from "Star Wars"] "Good morning. This is Vice President Cheney. Get up and donate some money to the Republican Party." [The loud sound of a rifle shot]. "Or else."
Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2. Sound off to Page 2 here.