He kept you frombuying that fur-toaster business.
He tells peopleyou dunked off his alley-oop when you both know it was the other wayaround.
He was the onlyone who came to the wedding when you married the stripper.
So how can youshow your best buddy you care without looking vaguely Brokeback? The way mostguys do it, by giving him untold piles of crap.
Now there's a coolnew way to do just that. It's called One Ring, and it's going to be morepopular than breast implants.
Let's say yourfriend in Houston is a sick Texans fan. Any time the Texans do somethingstupid--like fumble or blow a 20-yard field goal or not draft Reggie Bush--yousimply call him, let the phone ring once and hang up. You One Ring him. It'llmake him nuttier than Courtney Love.
Guys are OneRinging their buddies all over the country. You're a Cowboys fan and Dallasjust signed Terrell (Typhoid Mary) Owens? Your phone will be One Ringing rightoff your belt. You're a Pistons fan and Detroit just let Ben Wallace skate?You'll get more rings than Tommy Lee's bathtub. You're a Knicks fan? Your cellwill ring like the bells of St. Mary.
Anytime your teamblows it, get ready. "I get One Rings at two in the morning," saysChris Carson, a rabid Dallas fan who helped come up with the idea. "I'mforced to get up, go downstairs, turn on ESPN Classic and see that the Steelersare beating my Cowboys in, like, Super Bowl X."
One Ring startedin 1991 among graduates of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. They were lookingfor a way to torment each other about their teams without piling uphernia-inducing phone bills. Lately, it's grown like kudzu. Now people areringing each other internationally--for free!
"With eachchirp of the phone," says Carson, who will get up to 50 rings when hisCowboys screw up, "there is the fundamental realization that someone,somewhere cared enough to utter the long-distance equivalent of Nelson's'HA-ha!' from The Simpsons. It's 21st-century trash talking."
Even cooler: Youcan be the ringer of bad news. Say your friend Tork is at his desk, minding hisown business, selling and buying widgets as usual. Suddenly his phone ringsonce. Then again. Then again. An icicle suddenly forms in Tork's heart. Heknows something horrible has happened to his beloved Red Wings. He goes to theInternet to find--hello!--they've moved to Tucson!
Reach out andtorment someone! It's creative grief-giving!
It's even catchingon beyond sports. Recently, a One Ringing architect in New York City was beingpublicly berated by his boss. When the boss left, the guy got 13 One Rings.Cruel.
There are allkinds of variations on the theme. Your Oklahoma buddy's Sooners just went on10-year probation? Why not simply text him a Ring! Send a buddy The Ring DVD.Hell, go to Walgreens, buy an actual ring for two bucks and send it in anenvelope, no note.
Carson didsomething like that to his best friend, Q, who lives in Pittsburgh. WhenSteelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke his face in a motorcycleaccident, there arrived at Q's door a motorcycle helmet--scuffed, dinged anddented--with Steelers stickers on it and a note attached:
If you're going tostart One Ringing your poor friends, adhere to the Ring's strict dos anddon'ts. Don't One Ring after deaths or serious injuries (unless it's JoeyPorter getting shot in the butt). Do use proper ringspeak. ("I'm notlooking forward to Sunday. My Colts are playing really ringy.") Don't OneRing for cheesy stuff like first downs or sacks. And if you do a Revenge Ringto brag on your own team, don't let it be for something trivial. (One of theBates crew, a big Patriots fan named Graham Ivory, once got so desperate thathe began One Ringing when nice things about New England appeared in print. Veryiffy.)
And be sure to trythis: Sit with some nonringers, watch your favorite team play, and when afirst-quarter fake punt backfires, say, "I have this weird feeling thephone's going to ring." Voilà! You're Miss Cleo!
But the thing Ilike best about One Ringing is that it's the rare way in this homophobic worldof sports for guys to show man-love. Women would never do it. There'd be tears,nasty letters and possibly embedded fingernails. But for guys, it's perfect.It's our way of saying, "I miss you." And, "I love you." And,most important, "Your team sucks."
Exclusively onVerizon Wireless V CAST and SI.com.
• if you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to email@example.com.
Any time your friend's team does something stupid, yousimply call him, let the phone ring once and hang up. It'll make him nuttierthan Courtney Love.
PETER READ MILLER