David (looking around chat room): Hey, Gary, he’s late. Is this jive-turkey friend of yours ever going to show up?
Gary: Mike Gustafson? My friend? Uhhh, no. No, no, no, no, no.
David: Oh man. This was a bad idea, okay, well maybe it’s not too late to back out…
David: Okay, shut up Gary, he’s here.
Gary: Do we have to do this now? I was just settling in to watch some Tom Hanks movies. And sniff some glue.
Gus: Why do people always start watching Tom Hanks movies whenever I walk into a virtual room?
Gary (in a sing song like Phil Hartman voice): Gus! Hey buddy, how’s it going out there? Is everything alright? We were just talking about you!
Gus: Is this actually some Nigerian prince scam you guys have going? If so, my credit card number is 3352 2312 6344 8992. Please let me know when I will win my “41,320,000.000 U.S. DOLLARS” and I look forward to the “7 DAY 100% SAFE BANK TRANSACTION.”
Gary: Six. Three. Four. Four. Could you just repeat those last four digits for me one more time…
David: Gus, perhaps you could introduce yourself and explain your position in the swimming community. Why don’t you start with what you’ve been up to since Timed Prelims went belly up?
Gus: After Timed Finals went belly up, I co-produced the internet’s greatest (re: only) swimming-themed webshow called “Chlorination,” which went belly up, on a website called Swimnetwork.com, which also went belly up. I’m the Midas of swim media. Now I freelance with USA Swimming’s website and Splash Magazine, and, as such, both entities are scheduled to go belly up sometime in Spring 2013. Along with this Dave and Gary column. And Swim Swam.
Gary: Hold on one [expletive removed] second! Let me get this straight. So what you’re telling me is that you are not in fact this Gustafson?!
Gary: I’m turning on Tom Hanks!
Gus: Gary we are Facebook friends so DON’T EVEN PRETEND we never shared an intimate moment involving a cigar and a petrified mime. Also, you should instead watch “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” She’s the Tom Hanks of reality television. Or this gem featuring vintage Cromwell…
David (realizing he spaced out for five minutes): Hey! Don’t I get any credit for running FinalsthatareTimed.com into the ground?
Gus: It was a tag team effort. We were a couple o’ jokers back then, David!
Gary: We’ll run Swim Swam ashore, Dave. We’ll beach her like a whale on the shores of insolvency. You stick with me and we’ll do this thing together! In time we’ll be swimplicated as the ruinous firebrand of Swim Swam.
David: Nice pun Gary, that’s as cool as disco. By the way, how were the 1976 Olympics?
Gary: Awesome. One of the best Olympics ever.
Gus: David, can I just say I miss your smooth velvety…. inner arm skin? Voice? Swim cap? There are so many velvety options here.
(pause for effect)
Gary (shaking head miserably): Goose Gustafson high fives. A new low.
David: Gus, you’re fantastic and Gary (though he won’t say) loves you too. How hard is it to produce fun and exciting content in the swim industry?
Gary: About as hard as my Speedo!
Gus: There’s a stereotype that swimming isn’t hilarious, which is not true. There’s a lot of funny stuff in swimming, in the atmosphere around swimming. For years I’ve been wanting to write a TV comedy about a boys high school swim team. You guys wanna do it with me?
Gary: Ha ha. Do it…
David: Not really. Sounds awful. Not the idea, but writing with you.
Gary: The least qualified sports agents end up in the sport of swimming because if you’re any good you go where the money is. Actually, it’s the same if you’re a decent athlete. Or sports writer. You are actually a talented writer that has remained in the trenches of our sport instead of graduating up. What’s wrong with you?
Gus: Appearing on this column isn’t graduating up?
David (ignoring brute force wit): What do you miss most about swimming?
Gus: David, I miss your Top Five Tuesdays, and our long, early morning g-chats, and sharing Moose Drool with you while shaving your back.
But…. I miss that challenge in competitive swimming, the fusion of mind, body, and soul. I was never that “good” in swimming, but I loved the moment of putting it all on the line, every aspect of your being. You don’t get that when you walk into a meeting or a pitch. Your boss is not going to punch you in the gut and make you throw up, like the 400 IM will. Unless your boss does do that, in which case, you should probably find another job.
Gary: Oh, I love this part! Hanks is about to do the big piano dance scene!
David: Man, it’s a shame people will pause for our high five but not that insightful statement Gus. I’m mad, but mainly because I have to think of more material. Uhhhh…hm. Well, I guess, I wanted to ask “what has swimming taught you about success,” but I ask everyone that. So, instead, can you give me another question that I should ask you?
Gus: You want me to come up with questions to ask… myself? Is this really how you guys interview people? I’d ask myself why David Cromwell is no longer writing his Top Five Tuesdays, and I think the answer is because he wants to deprive the world of happiness and sunshine. I’d also ask why Gary never started his very own Gary Hall Jr. Swimvitational, or his Gary Hall Jr. line of American flag swimmer capes, or a line of imprinted Gary Hall Jr. snuggies? (60/40 split, eh? ehhh?)
Gary: Gus, why has Gary never started his very own Gary… ugh, you’re terrible at this!
What the donkey holster are you talking about anyway? What’s Top Five Tuesdays? It sounds like a drink special at The Bucking Speedo, the very friendly dance bar in Dave’s neighborhood.
David: Gary, you’re being mean. And not like “Oh, he’s making fun of David again: that’s classic Gary” mean. Like “hey, Gary’s kind of a jerk” mean.
Gary: You’re right. I’m sorry. I just get so confused. And impatient when the Elmer’s cap gets lodged in my septum.
David (looking at Gary condescendingly): Fascinating.
Anyway, Gus Gus, before we leave, tell us about this new plan of yours? Something about a bookstore in Michigan?
Gus: I figured the best way to make millions of dollars and buy huge mansions and fancy cars was to be a swimming writer who also co-owns a bookstore. My fiance and I are in the process of opening a bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor. She worked in publishing for five years, grew up in Ann Arbor, I have family here, and we both love books and writing. We’re hoping to open early 2013. David, we’ll do a reading of your upcoming memoir, “How Gary Hall Jr. Ruined My Life: The David Cromwell Story.”
Gary: A bookstore! That’s hilarious. Mike, you really are a funny guy. Oh! Oh! You should let me do the reading for David’s book! Books. Hilarious!
David: Um, you have stolen the climactic zings of this column away from me Gary: Seacrest really is out. Thanks for coming on though Gus, and please keep writing about our sport. Gary, anything to add?
Gary: If I cut off my hands I can’t mail them to you.