Not that I blame any of the Gonzaga University students who glared at me with contempt during my noon Monday invasion of their campus.
I was, after all, the very definition of pouring sodium chloride into an open sore.
Face painted bright orange – the color of Syracuse University – I stood next to the Bing Crosby statue in the middle of the GU grounds and ranted like an Old Testament prophet.
“Are you with meeee???”
Nobody was. In fact, no student would come close enough to be interviewed, even when I explained that I’d lost a bet.
What gives? I thought Catholics enjoyed rushing to minister to lepers like me.
Colleges, at their best, are places where young people go to be exposed to important object lessons that they can carry throughout life.
“Don’t gamble,” I yelled to fulfill the educational part of my mission. This is what can happen when you make a foolish bet.
Oh well. It ain’t easy being orange, but nobody can say I’m not a man of my word.
You may recall that last Thursday I made a wager with Jeff Kramer, my longtime friend and a columnist for the Syracuse New Times.
A lifetime ago, last Thursday. Everything was clean and new and the world was filled with unicorns and lofty expectations.
The Zags had made it again to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. All they had to do was to get past evil Syracuse on Friday night.
And of course GU would, because a win would put them into the Elite Eight again, and this is their year, and God is on our side, and …
Then everything went to roadkill.
Not one field goal in the last 6:28 of the game.
Are you kidding me?
Maybe the Zags just decided, “Yeah, we can beat this team, but wouldn’t it be a whole lot funnier to make Clark paint his face and come onto the Gonzaga campus holding a dumb ‘Syracuse Rules!’ sign?”
Speaking of facial makeovers, I learned that one doesn’t just go to Miller’s Hardware for a tub of cheek and nose latex.
As I discovered, however, the Party Palace at 2607 N. Division St. will happily supply all your disguise desires.
“Are you the guy who’s gonna paint his face orange?” asked one of the laughing counter workers when I entered the Party Palace on Saturday.
She took me to a “body paint” section. Soon I made my choices: Two “Color Cups,” an orange and a deep blue, for $8.67, tax included.
Should be enough.
On Monday, I stared into the mirror and summoned up the stupidity necessary to paint one’s mug.
It’s amazing how low your self-esteem can slip by going orange. I snapped a selfie and sent it to my lovely wife, Sherry.
She soon answered back. “You look like an Oompa Loompa. Or Donald Trump.”
What happened to that game, anyway?
63-60? Are you kidding me?
Funny thing about that Bing Crosby statue at GU. See, Bing used to be smoking his trademark pipe. Then I heard that someone stole the pipe. Or maybe someone took it away because of the bad message that tobacco sends.
Thing is, part of the pipe stem is still sticking out of Bing’s mouth. And, quite frankly, it looks to me like the old crooner might’ve fired up a joint.
Or maybe I’m imagining all of this. Who knows what the long-term exposure to orange face paint will do to you, anyway?
If I remained at this Crosby spot long enough, I’m pretty sure the Jesuits would send out an exorcism team to rid me of my chronic orange along with my many demons.
Good luck with that.
Thinking ahead, I asked my large and swell pal Scott Cooper to tag along as my bodyguard. Also thinking ahead, Cooper asked his 300-pound nephew Kellen Johnson to show up for his own safekeeping.
But luck was in our favor. The university was still on Easter break, which greatly reduced the number of potential assailants.
Still, there were plenty of students wandering about.
“Go Syracuse!” I yelled at a young woman who was wearing a blue Gonzaga jacket.
“You’re not nice,” she muttered, turning her head away in disdain.
Orange like me. Can’t you feel my pain?
Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.