‘FIB’ feels ‘Packer Pride’

Peter Gillette

Happy Holidays. Last Friday-or, as Governor Doyle’s office called it, “January 2, 2003”-the state of Wisconsin finally encouraged state employees and other businesses to participate in a day honoring the only reason there is to drive North on 41 at any time past August.On Dec. 30, 2003, Governor Jim Doyle declared Jan. 2, 2003 as “Packer Pride Day.” Apparently Doyle wanted to thank state employees, who, nearly 12 months ago, had dressed in Green and Gold in honor of the NFC North Division Champions.

Okay, so the governor’s office made a typo. Last Friday, Doyle meant to say, Wisconsin state employees were allowed to replace their work uniforms for a needed dose of Packer Spirit. (“Packer Spirit,” in case you haven’t experienced it for yourself, smells like a cross between regurgitated Beer Brats and the frostbitten flesh of the shirtless fat men spelling “Go Pack” with sharpies on cellulite stomachs.)

Now, now, I hate to pick on some poor publicity director who forgot to change the year too much . . . I mean, writing inane press releases during what ought to be your holiday vacation seems to be its own punishment.

But as an (gulp) Illinois native, who lives on a border town with this fine state, I must beg the question: do Wisconsin businesses or state employees really seem to lack Packer spirit? Is there a conspicuous absence of Packer paraphernalia and apparel from the offices and uniforms of Wisconsin’s employees?

Please, this weekend, help me out with an informal survey of mine: is it possible that, perhaps, Wisconsin businesses and employees forgot to limit this day off from their normally formal labor attire to January 2, 2003? Look all around. Look at the grocery store, look at the bars, look at public employees . . . They are still wearing the Green and Gold!

Finally, Doyle has solved the great problem of Wisconsin governance: “How do we excite our citizens about the Packers?” Apparently, taxing the poor packrats who lease out their Lambeau lawns as parking lots for Milwaukee’s leisure class early last fall didn’t quite endear Doyle to cheese heads, so, wisely, he backed down from this taxing initiative.

It’s a pity . . . and to think Wisconsin almost earned some tax revenues on account of the Packers . . .

Wisely, though, Doyle decided to ignite Packer spirit. Wisconsin businesses answered the call and they won’t look back. And why should they?!

I, a poor dumb FIB (ask the fellow next to you what that means), watched Favre trounce the Raiders, and Ahman Green move against the Broncos, and I must admit, I think I might be catching Packer spirit. In fact, I’m quite sure I am.

Just the other night I woke up unconscious and half naked in front of Lombardi’s steakhouse. When the cop peeled me off the frigid pavement with his hands warm in Gold and Green gloves, he told me not to worry: “Number 4’s still written on your back. Good choice of markers, son. Even with the skin you probably just lost, I think it’ll at least be visible ’til the NFC championships.”

Thanks, Governor Doyle.