How I Spent My Offseason, By Roger Goodell

I have the dreams every night.  The strange thing is, the things I remember the most vividly are the small details.  Like what we ate: Ramen Noodles.  Every time I see someone eating Ramen Noodles, it reminds me of my dreams in the weirdest ways.  I don't want to admit this, but I even went to a psychologist about my dreams.  They were that weird.  And once I saw the headshrinker, my dreams just got stranger and stranger.

The first time I remember having the dreams was almost thirty years ago, after that car wreck in the Adirondacks.  I was working for the Jets back then, as an intern.  One nice fall day, I decided to go upstate for some camping with some friends.  Unfortunately, I never made it to my destination.  I got in a car wreck when someone coming the other direction fell asleep at the wheel and drifted across the center line, crashing head-on into my car.  I always thought it was weird that someone would fall asleep at the wheel at ten o'clock in the morning, but you never know with country folk.  They do weird things.  Hell, Bud Adams called me from the crapper once just to yell at me and ending up falling asleep in mid-sentence with his pants around his ankles.

Anyway, my supposed camping trip ended up with me unconscious in a car on the side of the road.  Fortunately, some friendly loggers came across the accident site and took me to the hospital.  I don't really remember much about the accident.  I was just driving down the road and saw someone in a Ford Pinto come right at me.  The next thing I knew, I was coming to in the hospital.

It's after that incident that the dreams began.

At first, they started out pretty tame.  I would see visions of people eating Ramen Noodles.  I was in a room somewhere with several people.  They appeared to be businessmen.  I couldn't really make the faces out, although I could see that one of them was really short and looked kind of dorky.  I remember thinking he was the kind of nerd that I used to tease when I was in college.  He looked kind of like some kind of accountant.  He would talk to me in a whiny voice.  He left me wanting to kick his ass. 

At first, the dreams only came every once in a while.  But after time passed, they started to happen more and more often.  And the more dreams I had, the more details I could remember.  That nerdy guy?  I remembered that his name was David.  There were other people too, but I didn't really remember their names.  I remember them repeating things to me, things that they wanted me to remember.  

The years kept on going by.  I developed a strange taste for Ramen Noodles. (Except shrimp flavor.  Shrimp sucks.  I don't see how anyone can eat that shit.)  I left the Jets and started working for the NFL.  It seemed like my career was charmed.  People seemed to trust me and like me.  I got promoted fairly quickly and eventually, became commissioner.  The dreams went away for a while.  Life was good.

But being commissioner is tough.  It's a lot of responsibility.  I think it was the stress, but the dreams started coming back.  Here I was, trying to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement, and I kept having these weird dreams where I'm eating Ramen Noodles in this shack in the Adirondacks and all these guys, led by some short guy in a suit named David, were talking to me about lockouts.  It was bizarre.  And the most bizarre thing was that I was certain that I knew the short guy.  I'd met him somewhere before.

That's when I decided to get help.  I went to a shrink.  It didn't work.  Hell, I went to a dozen shrinks.  That guy that helped Ron Artest?  Couldn't do anything about the dreams.  Dr. Phil?  After one session, he never answered my phone calls.  Eventually I went to a hypnotherapist.  I was desperate - it was either that or one of those homeopathic doctors that makes you take a coffee enema.  And I will not take one of those again, I don't care how much Al Davis swears by them.

It was after I started seeing the hypnotherapist that things really started getting crazy.  The dreams got more vivid, not less.  And I started remembering more details about them.  At first, it was all just a haze of Ramen Noodles and babble, but then I began to remember very specific phrases.  Things like, "collective bargaining," "injunction," "longer season" and "extra billion dollars."  It was like these guys were predicting that the NFL was going to have a lockout, almost thirty years before it happened!

It just didn't make sense.  How could this be?  The more I went to the hypnotherapist, the more detail I got from the dreams, the weirder it got and the more I had a craving for noodles.  

And then, one day, it all hit me.

I was watching the NBA playoffs on television and the halftime show featured an interview with David Stern, the NBA commissioner.  I'll be honest with you, I've never really liked Stern.  He's kind of wimpy and he reminds me of the kind of nerdy accountant whose ass I always wanted to kick when I was in college.  And his voice is so obnoxious.  It's so annoying that I swear I could hear it in my dreams.

And that's when it all came together.

The David in my dreams was David Stern.  David Stern.  The NBA commissioner.  How was that possible?  Most people might have the occasional weird dream from time to time.  I mean, I had an old girlfriend who used to dream that she was being chased by a tutu-wearing Vince Lombardi who juggled chainsaws and chomped on dill pickles.  And I wouldn't be too ashamed if I'd had one dream about David Stern.  But for thirty years?  You can't imagine my shame.  Most guys have dreams about that tall redhead with the big breasts from that show about advertising guys.  I get dreams about a short lawyer with lumpy man-boobs from that second-rate sports league.

But how?  Was I really drugged up in a room in the Adirondacks with David Stern thirty years ago?  Was he really the mastermind behind the lockout?  Could he have brainwashed me?  I realized something.  I have gotten a lot of phone calls from David over the years.  At first I thought he was just trying to impress his friends by telling them he knew someone who hung out with Jerry Jones.  But after thinking about it, he would call me the most during labor negotiations.  And what's weird is that I don't really remember what he was saying a lot of the time.  In fact, until I saw the hypnotherapist, I didn't even remember that David called at all.

Now I'm completely stuck.  If anyone finds out I've been brainwashed by David Stern, I might get fired, or worse, traded to MLB for Bud Selig.  Screw that.  I am not going to spend my time changing Derek Jeter's diapers.  I do not want to leave the NFL.  It's way cooler than those other sports, and every few weeks Bret Favre gets drunk and sends me a text of his wang.  Why would I want to leave that?  I guess I will just have to play along for now.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm getting a call from David.  I have the strangest urge to eat Ramen Noodles all of a sudden...

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