Next time I see Matt Birk

I was standing at the back of a long line at our local Coldstone Creamery a few weeks ago when former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk walked in with two of his eight kids. When he left the Vikings after ten or eleven seasons he moved on to the Baltimore Ravens, with whom he won a Super Bowl ring.

As he took the spot in line immediately behind me, I introduced myself. I told him I’d lost a lot of friends supporting him and running mate Scott Jensen when he ran for lieutenant governor in the last election. I even told him what I’d done to lose the friends (a story for another day). Afraid he would feel trapped in a nightmare, I stopped myself from reciting the whole megillah, but he knew exactly what I was talking about and listened to a substantial portion of my story.

When I stopped, he asked me where I was from, then what neighborhood, then where in the neighborhood, then what high school I had attended. He had gone to Cretin-Derham Hall High School, as it turns out, while I had gone to St. Paul Academy down the street.

Lucky for me, the line wasn’t moving. The owners weren’t on hand that evening and the staff had no idea how to prepare the various orders. They turned to a notebook to look up the recipe for every item a customer ordered. Some orders seemed to require the consultation of all hands on deck.

We had time to talk about college. I knew he had gone to Harvard. I wondered what his major was. “Economics,” he told me. He is a smart guy.

Again, he didn’t leave it at that. He asked me, “Did you major in English?” He is also a perceptive guy.

The line still hadn’t moved, but I stopped there. Another 15 minutes passed while the Coldstone staff looked up the deep secrets of the chain’s specialty items. Matt’s boys remained well-behaved all the while.

Today I read about Matt — where else? — in the New York Post. I could see he looked great, but I learn from the Post that since his playing days he has lost 75 pounds and in the process shed ten inches from his waistline.

How did he do that? The Post doesn’t go there. C’mon guys, why do you think we read stories like this one? I am afraid that in order to learn the secret I will have to stake out Coldstone and tackle him next time he comes in.

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